15 Questions With… Lola & Pani

How are you at the moment?

This year has been a rollercoaster but we are doing well. We’ve just bought our first home which has been a journey in itself and especially through-out covid but it really is amazing. We are also super proud of our new book Studio Portraits 2015-2020.

What is your morning ritual? How does your day begin?

Pani – I cycle to the outdoor gym in our new local park and do a bit of exercise.

Lola – During lockdown the schedules are a bit slower for me haha but generally speaking it’s breakfast, coffee, admin catch up.

What, right now, can you see?

The view from our temporary office out onto our garden. It’s raining :)

What artist, project, book would you recommend we see/follow?

Kalpesh Lathigra‘s work is amazing. Check him out if you haven’t already. Mimi Plumb, especially her book Landfall by TBW books. Pat Martin, Olya Oleinic, Molly Matalon, Caroline Tompkins to name a few.

Tell us about your process when starting a new project?

Our projects normally start from real life. Going out, taking pictures and meeting people. We’ll take someone’s portrait or visit a location and then the ideas just generally come from there. More often than not it starts this way. We also reference our own upbringings. We like to bring elements from our own experiences into our practice.

What has been your favourite collaboration?

Working with Alastair McKimm on Studio Portraits 2015-2020 has been amazing. Having an external voice and vision from someone with a wealth of experience really helped us see our work from a different perspective. Also, right before the first lockdown in March we shot a fashion story with stylist Julian Ganio for Paris based magazine Hot Hot Hot!. The idea for this came from referencing Lola’s old pictures of cold water swimmers she’d made in Poland many years ago.

What is your greatest achievement?

We have made it so we are able to live from photography and itself is a pretty great achievement.

What is your greatest regret?

Honestly, we try not to have any. And none actually immediately spring to mind.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Believe in yourself more.

What is your latest project about?

Pani – Our latest project Studio Portraits 2015-2020 is a collection of portraits we’ve taken in our studio over the past 5 years. After I made the Mile End book about the local skate park, which Lola published back in 2015. It was one of the first projects we started working on as a duo. The project just kept growing as we’d photograph more friends, friends of friends. We always wanted it to represent the feeling of community and a certain time in London. It is also a tribute to our time spent in the studio between 2015-2020.

What are you researching at the moment?

Every kind of first home buyer DIY!

What can you not work without?

A camera and comfortable shoes haha

What challenges have you faced working in your industry?

Supporting yourself financially as an artist in general is challenging. Finding the right balance between art and commerce is key.

What are you hoping for in 2021?

Tax the billionaires!

Share a song with us, what are you listening to at the moment?

Hailu Mergia – Anchin Kfu Ayinkash

Studio Portraits 2015-2020, published by Palm Studios, is available to purchase here.