LAUREN POND is a documentary photographer who specializes in coverage of faith and religion. She recently received her Master of Arts degree in photojournalism from Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication. Lauren is currently a research assistant on the Ohio State University Religious Soundmap Project in Columbus, Ohio, and works on freelance projects across the country.
Lauren often takes an ethnographic approach in her work. In addition to documenting worship and ritual, she explores how people’s beliefs shape their daily lives and cultures — and vice versa. Lauren often immerses herself in communities over the course of several months or years, helping her understand different faiths more deeply and to portray them in a nuanced manner. Ultimately, Lauren hopes to use her work to generate greater understanding, empathy, and tolerance. To complement her documentary photography, Lauren spends much of her time outdoors, where she uses her camera to explore the uncanny, mysterious, and sometimes spiritual facets of the natural world.
Lauren’s photographs have appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, and have been recognized by the Magnum/Inge Morath Foundations, the Lucie Foundation, FotoVisura, PDN, College Photographer of the Year, and the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, among others. She has spoken about her work at universities and conferences across the United States.
Lauren also believes in the importance of empowering communities. She is the manager of the Fresh A.I.R. (Artists In Recovery) Gallery in downtown Columbus, which exhibits the work of artists who have been affected by mental illness and substance use disorders. By bringing focus to the artistic vision, Fresh A.I.R. Gallery educates the community and breaks down the stigma attached to these conditions. Lauren is also very involved in refugee resettlement, and tutors refugees in English and basic financial skills. She hopes to earn her TESOL certification in the near future.