Model-Slash: Future Photographer Laura Kampman
They’ve got the face, the body, a portfolio full of ad campaigns and editorials shot by top photographers in the industry, and a runway roster to match. But in our new Model-Slash column, Style.com profiles girls whose ambitions and drive extend beyond the catwalk.
Over the past few months, Laura Kampman (pictured, left) has experienced a swift rise to the top of the modeling industry. It all started with select premium bookings—coveted exclusives on the Calvin Klein and Balenciaga runways back in September, followed by the Steven Meisel-shot Balenciaga Spring campaign and cover of Vogue Italia‘s surrealist February issue. Since then, the 17-year-old, mysterious Dutch beauty has racked up scores of editorials for the likes of W, Dazed & Confused, and Vogue Japan, and you’ll also see her in Neil Barrett’s new Fall ads as well as the latest Prabal Gurung Resort lookbook.
What’s the key to her sudden success? At an open call before the Fall shows, casting director Barbara Nicoli hinted that Kampman has quickly become a favorite of top lensmen like Craig McDean and Daniel Jackson because she knows what it’s like to be on the other side of the camera and diligently studies the craft on each shoot. In a recent phone interview, she revealed to Style.com that she found an old point-and-shoot around her house when she was 13 and started snapping everything around her. “I was trying to understand the world and how it works,” says Kampman. “It became a way of processing my surroundings.” Eventually she upgraded to a Canon Rebel DSLR and started posting her images, many of which were self-portraits, on the Web. Kampman explained that a local modeling agency in Amsterdam actually discovered and signed her after stumbling upon her profile on Hyves (a Dutch social networking site similar to Facebook). “It was fun shooting myself in the beginning because I could control everything about the final result, but now I’m doing more candids and taking advantage of what modeling has offered,” Kampman said. “I even brought my camera on the Sonia Rykiel [Fall] runway.” Aside from fashion photographer idols like Meisel (“I like when photographers like Steven don’t give you too much instruction and really let you act”), Kampman’s favorite artist is Ryan McGinley. “My favorite pictures are nudes because they are timeless, and I’d love to do fun, spontaneous ones like his [McGinley's], but I don’t think any of my friends would let me,” she said, laughing.
Kampman plans to continue focusing on her modeling career and “hopefully learn more from the experts” before pursuing photography on a larger scale. Until then, you can find Kampman’s photos on her site, plus follow her regular Instagram updates via Twitter @laurakampman (you’ll spot lots of fellow Dutch model friends here, including Marte Mei van Haaster, Romee Strijd, and Josefien Rodermans). “As much as using a big camera is cool with all its settings and possibilities, technology makes everything so easy. After all, the iPhone does have an amazing camera.”