Detraform Presents: Lori Andrews

ISSUE 01. Detraform Presents is a new series of feature interviews with creative professionals we're inspired by. In issue 01 we speak with Lori Andrews. Lori is an insanely happy creative generalist living in Calgary, Alberta. She practices interior design, photography and other creative pursuits.

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Joel Blair: I know you work from home. But it looks like you also go out for a lot of coffee breaks and enjoy frequent brunches. What does a regular work day look like for you?

Lori Andrews: My days usually start around 8:00 am with emails and tea. Since I work from home and miss the daily interaction of colleagues, I generally go out for a latte at least once per day. My latest coffee shop preference is Analog coffee (of which I just happen to have designed the interior). I shoot interiors for other designers, client work of all sorts including promotional images, book covers, portraits and stock photography. I schedule my stock shoots at least twice per week and all others when the clients are ready. As my workdays are flexible I generally fit in a work out during the day as well.  It's just as easy for me to process images and work on designs at 10:00 pm as it is at 10:00 am.

You’re a skilled self promoter. You have over 4300 twitter follows, a Klout score of 62 and Instagram followers over 16,000. How does social networking play into your business?

Social Networking has been instrumental in building my career. Being blogged and noticed by a larger audience helps to raise my profile so that when someone is looking for a designer in my city, chances are, someone they know might recommend me. It's also a nice addition to the coffee shops in order to keep me connected with people. I have met countless new friends and acquaintances around the world and within my city because I spend a couple of hours online everyday.

I feel like social networking, like most technology, ultimately isolates us from each other rather than bringing us together. This hasn’t been your experience though has it?

Absolutely not. It has enabled me to transmit my day to day activities to my mom much more effectively! haha. No seriously, I believe quite the opposite. In my circle of Calgary friends I would estimate that at least half of us met online first.

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You’re represented by Getty images. I was under the impression that stock photography was dead and could no longer be a significant source of income for professional photographers.

Stock photography is in transition and the profits are down for both the companies and the photographers. That in no way means it cannot be an excellent secondary source of income. I'm quite lucky as I simply shoot the sort of images I like to shoot anyhow and buyers it turns out, like them as well.

Are you bringing your camera along on day trips, or do you plan day trips to facilitate your photo shoots?

Both.  I lead a very active athletic life and take advantage of our Rocky Mountains and natural areas to shoot.  But sometimes I just want to go hike without a camera.  Most of the stock and art images that I make are carefully planned out though and the trip is taken especially for the image.

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You often leave the model’s head out of frame. How would your describe the effect you create by depersonalizing the subject?

It's simply more accessible. Without an identifiable face the image embodies "every-woman" (I shoot self portraits) and therefore the viewer can translate the moment into their own life easily.

Your depersonalized work is deeply attractive and story book romantic. How do you do that?

Intentionally. I have been recording my travels and daily history for nearly 9 years photographically. It has been intentional on my part to remove the extraneous and keep only the sweeping, the romantic and the beautiful.  Ever look back at photos from your past?  If everything in your photographs represents only the best parts it will in fact assist your memory to discard the bad. I want to grow very old very happily.

You have a distinct and relatable style. How do you keep evolving your work so you’re not repeating yourself?

I have been creating art daily since I studied art in University back in the early 90's.  My life has changed dramatically since that time and so of course my work has changed to reflect that. Time and place are constantly moving and therefore my work is continually evolving.


Here in Montreal we like to turn our noses up at Calgary, but you’re a great cheerleader for your city. Tell me why Calgary is a great place to live and work as a creative professional. 

Calgary is a young vibrant city with multiple colleges and a University. The population is highly educated and due to our natural resources in the province, they are also quite wealthy by comparison to other parts of the country. This wealth may not always be beneficial but it has most certainly in the last decade provided amazing opportunities for the arts and culture sector. We are a city that is in the wonderful position of being so young that we can invent NEW ways of being a city. We have an amazing number of writers, politicians and businesses that are forward thinking and open to change. That may be something and older and more established city might have difficulty with. Change. Calgary was named the arts capital of Canada recently. It wasn't some random title. We really do have an amazing arts scene. And we have the rocky mountains.

Your interiors are characterised by mid century classics, floor to ceiling curtians and a spirited use of colour. Is Calgary a good city to practice contempary interior design?

Contemporary interior design is thriving in Calgary. My practice is limited now though. I prefer to take on smaller inner city homes with like minded clients. I feel it's important to take a stand against waste and environmental laziness. I prefer a very clean mid-century modern look though I happily incorporate other elements. My clients understand that the home we design together should be sustainable and lasting.


Finally, what’s the deal between you and Wonder Woman?

I grew up and came of age in a time when Diana Prince and Wonder Woman were the smartest and most liberated women on television. I idealized her not only for her amazing feminine beauty but also because she could do anything and she did it fearlessly.