We caught up with Lauren Farris ahead of Extant: Hear Nebraska. Farris is the featured multimedia journalist for the first show of our summer Extant series. Hear Nebraska is a Nebraska-based nonprofit which seeks to support and promote the state’s music scene through programming and journalism. Hear Farris speak about her work at the opening reception for Extant: Hear Nebraska on Friday, July 7 at Outlook Project in Turbine Flats (2124 Y Street, Lincoln, Neb.).
Fly Over Media: How long have you worked for Hear Nebraska and how did you get involved?
Lauren Farris: I have been working with Hear Nebraska for just over a year. My good friend, Lindsey Yoneda, was working as a multimedia intern at the time and so I saw the work she was doing and was intrigued.
FOM: How has your time there shifted your approach to photography and multimedia? How have your ideas about the work changed?
LF: Before I started working for Hear Nebraska, I had only done portrait work, but then Hear Nebraska gave me an opportunity to shoot as a journalist. Instead of being completely in control of the subject and the shoot, I had to adapt to capturing and conveying my subject without inserting or interjecting myself. As I have become more comfortable with that, I feel like I have been able to really shift my focus to honing in even more and capturing the nuances of the people and places I’m shooting.
FOM: What about Hear Nebraska has kept you working for them for so long?
LF: I have remained with HN for this long for a few reasons. First of all, I genuinely love the music community in Nebraska and furthermore, I love using photo and video as a way to contribute to it. Also, the work never really gets old or monotonous. There are always new bands to explore, challenges to solve, and something new to be learning. I am still learning and building different skill sets after a year of being with HN which I feel really grateful for.
FOM: Can you tell us about a couple of your most memorable shooting experiences?
LF: I’ve had so many memorable experiences shooting for HN so it’s honestly hard to choose. I love my job. Most shows I shoot, I leave with a stupid grin on my face. Shooting Touché Amore at The Waiting Room was wild. I was shooting up front and getting smashed by the mass of people moshing behind me, so I was protecting my camera, but also having the time of my life. Touché is one of my favorite bands, so I was shooting and screaming along behind my camera and then all of a sudden Jeremy (Bolm, lead singer) had his face up in mine, so I took a break from shooting and sang along with him for a few lines. It was just a wild time. I thought that was going to be the end of my camera, but we both came out *nearly* unscathed.
I also shot a video featuring The Faint with (Fly Over Media executive director) Andrew Dickinson last year and that was an incredible experience. The Faint was one of the first Nebraska bands I was exposed to when I moved here and so getting to sit down and interview them was surreal. That video is still one of the pieces I am most proud of.
FOM: Do you see organizations like Hear Nebraska as valuable to creative communities? Why or why not? What part of their mission resonates with you?
LF: I think organizations like HN are incredibly valuable to creative communities. I guess ever since I was young, the importance and value of documentation through photography has been instilled in me. To me, the work that HN does serves as a sort of history book for our community. For example, I have only lived in Nebraska for a couple years, but I am able to look through HN’s old posts and get an idea of what the community was before I was here and how it has evolved and I think that is so important, especially to a community that is always changing and expanding. I think it’s a critical component to any community with longevity in mind.