Pin It
lauren whit2
Photography Lauren Withrow

Documenting American youth before I forget it forever

This photographer’s temporary memory loss spurred a mission to capture her most precious, free moments

Our memories are precious, delicate things. If we don’t take care of them, revisit them often, they fade away. Having suffered several concussions in her youth leading to temporary memory loss, photographer Lauren Withrow feels this more pertinently than anyone. “I am quite afraid of losing my memories, so I document as much as I can. I just don't want to forget anything,” she explains.

Her new series’ ‘Heartbeats’ and ‘Kids’ capture the passion, the carelessness and the sheer, unbridled fun of what may soon be a forgotten youth. Born in Texas, Withrow has been taking photographs since she was around 15, admitting that “my motivations are quite selfish. Most of my images are taken for myself, my way of keeping memories.”

Withrow found herself gravitating towards documentary photography as opposed to editorial due to personal circumstances that impacted her creative perspective. “I think what started my pursuit of focusing on more documentary style imagery was something that was said to me at my grandfather's funeral,” she observes. “There was an image I had taken of him at my cousin's wedding. He was dancing with us all surrounding him and everyone told me that it was the happiest they've ever seen him.”

Happiness seems to be a main theme in Withrow’s photos, whether they’re messing around on some monkey bars or simply admiring a beach view, all her subjects are living in the moment. But in an age where everything is shared on Facebook or Instagram just seconds after it’s captured, does Lauren think that documenting play by plays on social media prevents us from doing just this – living in the moment?  

She sighs: “100 per cent. I recently switched back to shooting almost exclusively 35mm and by doing this, I have intentionally tried to stop that addiction of posting everything so immediately and forgetting to just exist in the moment. I have to wait to see the photos now, I can't sit there and try to fuck with filters and figure out if I should post this image to Instagram or Facebook. I wait so that I can be present for the moment.”

See more of Lauren Withrow's work here