Lauren Crow is a fine art photographer currently in Portland, OR who is captivated by the “imperfect” body and questioning the idea of an ideal or accepted form. Crow is also inspired by radical softness, an idea coined by Lora Mathis that involves unapologetically sharing your emotions as a political move and combating the societal idea that feelings are a sign of weakness. All photos by Lauren Crow. When did you first get on the Internet and when did you first use the internet to share your work and ideas? I grew up with the internet and it’s humble dial-up beginnings and as it has grown, so has the way that I share my work. I first submitted images on DeviantArt, moved on to Flickr and now am using Tumblr and Instagram (as well as having an official website). I think around my DeviantArt phase I also had a pretty sweet online Xanga journal! I’d love to know more about your new series “Intimate.” it seems very special to you. This new series “Intimate” is certainly special to me. In short, I’m exploring all the different intimate relationships in my life, and the meaning of intimacy varies relationship to relationship. With one person it could be sexual intimacy and another could be platonic emotional intimacy. This project also is me taking a lot of new steps in the way I work and I think that makes it more exciting! Most of my work, I tend to use natural light and myself or other people as the model. In this series, I’m using more of my studio lighting techniques, as well as shooting myself with other people. Some people in the images are friends and/or sexual partners, and others are people who contacted me to be involved or I’ve found through various social media! Have online communities influenced your work? Oh, definitely! There’s inspiration everywhere! On one hand, I’ve been very influenced through the body positivity movement and how I photograph myself as well as other bodies. On another, through social media like Instagram, I get updates on my friends’ and peers’ work/process of making work, as well as getting to know the artist. It’s been so amazing seeing my peers’ work and watching it grow and change, as well as being able to find inspiration and support. I think being able to share online has probably made me a bit of an over-sharer, but a lot of people really seem to value that honesty and openness. I’m an open book and don’t feel ashamed of who I am. How does radical softness play into your work? I think softness and honesty has always been a part of my work, but Lora [Mathis] and I struck up a friendship when I moved to Portland in July. I think by their creation of this term, I found a way to describe the way I try and create work. I unapologetically show my body, emotions and those of my subjects. Self-care is something you frequently discuss. How do you practice it? Different days, different care. Sometimes it means I need to lay in bed and watch VHS movies all day, put on a face mask and take a bath; and other days, I need to push myself, get dressed and go outside (even if it’s just for a walk around the block) On a scale of 1–10, what activity (any activity) would you rate a perfect 10? Oh man, this is so hard cause there are so many great scenarios. It would be sweet to have a sort of dress up/prom party with all the cool internet people I want to meet/all the people I love, where we just dance like dorks, eat the best foods and take lots of cool pictures. Lots of glitter, neon lights and puffy dresses! Also, the after party would include a swimming pool cause I’m a water baby who will take any chance to go swimming. Then again, I’m also just down to win the lottery and pay off some student loans and buy some cool shit. This interview is featured in Austere URL/IRL, our 17th issue out now. Get it in print!