Laure Joliet

Laure Joliet at home in Los Angeles. Photographed by Austin Hargrave.

LA-based interiors photographer Laure Joliet is known for a serene, sun-drenched style that can transform even the humblest abode (we speak from personal experience). When not shooting for clients like The New York Times, The Ace Hotel and Dwell, you can find her working on a fledgling line of posters and cultivating her popular Instagram account. Below, she divulges her social media styling tips, real estate porn "type" and ambivalence toward our increasingly visual culture.

Hi Laure! Can we move into your Instagram feed? It's so cozy and beautiful. How do you determine what to post?

Instagram is the place I go to post what I like! I shoot so much for clients and have to sit on those images until they’re published so I love Instagram for being able to quickly post moments I’ve noticed through the day. Or, as often happens, when I'm taking a psychic privacy break I'll scroll through my phone and post overlooked images from my archives. I try to go with my gut and keep it intuitive.

What have been some of your most popular posts?

A perennial favorite is my dad’s house in Todos Santos. My dad is a wonderful photographer. He gave me my first camera and I think he built a house that is a photographer’s dream. Beautiful light that bounces softly around the space, neutral palette, high ceilings and windows that become paintings. It’s hard to take a bad picture there.

Who do you enjoy following?

The Moon Lists: A once a month interview series that touches on the profound, the ordinary and the beauty that surrounds us. Always super thoughtful responses by women to the world around them.

Street View Portraits:
My friend Genevieve turned me onto this account. An agoraphobe who finds the most beautiful compositions off of Google maps. It’s stunning.

My Dad’s Instagram: He doesn’t post often but when he does it is very poetic.

Do you look at real estate porn?

I photograph so many incredible spaces that are perfectly styled for the camera that I get tired of looking at "ideal" spaces. What is way more interesting to me are weird run down homes with character and potential. I have a fantasy of moving to Maine so I’m always looking at these little cabins for sale all lined in shiplap and peeling wallpaper and old carpet. It lets me dream about what I would do with them and the offline life I could live there.

That and I look at a lot of airbnb’s in Italy and Greece full of plaster walls and beautiful tiles. I’m particularly drawn to anything that feels like either a minimalist cave built in the 60’s with a mustard colored coverlet and a view of the sea or an overstuffed space full of pattern and heirlooms and contrasting eras in an olive orchard.

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“Social media has obliterated the whole idea that there is any truth in photography.”

When it comes to styling for social media, what are your top tips?

I think for everyone’s well-being, the less we think about how to present ourselves on the internet, the better. So with that said my tips are really about pulling from real life and trying to share what is beautiful and right in front of you. It means paying attention and stealing things right out of the day. If you’re looking to create a scene, look for those beautiful messes/moments/details that are already happening around you. If you’re photographing a person, find soft window light and tell them a story or ask them to tell you one. If you are connected, the photo will show it.

How has the digital age been good for photography? Not so good?

It’s been great in the way that it has leveled the playing field and allowed access to a large audience of photo editors and design directors. Photographers who, in the past, would have needed an agent and a meeting to get their work in front of an audience now have the attention of people who can hire them directly. I was hired to do a social media campaign for Jambox off of my Instagram long before I had an agent. Opportunities like that made it possible for me to get the attention of an agency, etc.

It’s been terrible because social media has obliterated the whole idea that there is any truth in photography. And also everyone thinks they are a photographer. There’s a wariness and an innate cynicism now that what you see in your feed is not real and that photography is being reduced to "content" to sell lifestyles and brands.

The internet is shifting from a language of text to one of images. How does this sit with you?

With everything so visually-driven, I feel like there is a backlash. I’m already feeling it. I get tired of looking and seeing and having so much of what I’m looking at, design-wise, look the same.

What I’m after is to bypass the presentation of my experience in favor of an actual experience. I think stories and poetry can play a huge part in enriching this moment in culture; to be reminded of feelings, to read and connect with the inner life of others and to connect with ourselves. I’m retreating to walks in nature, old art books and reading real, paper books and the paper newspaper and magazines.

Can you give us some examples?

The World of Interiors: This magazine is my favorite. It’s a far cry from perfectly curated interiors. It’s really about the worlds people can create in their built environment and about celebrating difference, high and low, minimal and maximal!

The Plant Magazine: A deep dive into plants from artists, botanists, architects, etc. It’s a beautiful survey with a wide point of view. Plus it’s got lovely photographs.

The Huntington Library and Botanical Garden:
Bought a membership to this beautiful place so that I could stop by when I have a spare hour or two. I just wander and around and find new and different beauty every time I visit. It’s not about buying anything or consuming anything. It invites me to slow down and notice.

Books! The Idiot, Daybook, Madness, Rack, and Honey, The Folded Clock, Every Day is for the Thief.

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Ok, time to drag you back to the soulless void of the internet. What are you streaming right now?

Every night we sit down and watch Vice News on HBO; it’s become a ritual. In 30 minutes they actually report the news without sensationalizing it. It’s so important to me to be plugged into the bigger picture of the strife and conflict in the world and to get that information outside of the 24 hour news networks.

Also in an ideal world I would be watching a movie off of MUBI every night. It has such a stellar collection of cult favorites, obscure masterpieces and overlooked gems that I’ve never been sorry to dive into a film I’ve never heard of.

Podcasts: Glowing Up, Hurry Slowly, Tara Brach, The Daily

And reading?

This piece in California Sunday Magazine about the biggest farmer in the country in California’s central valley. It's about immigration, food production, the growing class and income divide in the United States and California and drought and water rights (which are a major interest of mine).

And coveting for that matter?

I just bought myself a Mamiya 7 II so I’m feeling pretty satiated but I always have my eye on everyday items to invest in to make home homier: this lamp, this incense, these pots.

Where do you go online to find beauty?

I’ve been using the collections feature on Instagram to organize places I want to travel to, color palettes I love, compositions that are striking and, because I’m designing a print shop to launch later this year, I’m really paying attention to what people have up on their walls. My posters have been really popular and I’m excited to launch color prints in custom sizes (especially BIG ones).

Most crucially, what meme would you use to describe your life?

Literally any cat lady meme.

Keep up with Laure:

i: @laurejoliet
c: This Represents