Meet Evelyn Lauder


velyn Lauder's photographs were exhibited across the globe at many prestigious galleries from 1992 to 2012. Her last exhibition was held at the Gagosian Gallery in London in the Fall of 2011. In 2010, a 30 year retrospective entitled Beauté et Sérénité was presented at Galerie des Galeries, Galeries Lafayette in Paris, France.

In the United States, Lauder exhibited her work at Pace\MacGill Gallery and Holly Solomon Gallery in New York City, John Berggruen Gallery in San Francisco, Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles, Baldwin Gallery in Aspen, Winston/Wachter Gallery in NYC and Seattle, and Greenberg Van Doren Gallery in Saint Louis. Internationally, solo exhibitions were held at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden in London, the Jerusalem Centre for Performing Arts in Israel, Duran Exposiciones in Madrid, Tectona in Paris, MACBA in Barcelona and the Red Gate Gallery in Beijing.

Extensive collections of Evelyn Lauder's photographs can be viewed at the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, the Evelyn H. Lauder Patient Care Pavilion at Aspen Valley Hospital in Aspen, and the Lee Bell Center for Breast Imaging at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston.

Q: What motivates you to take photos?

A: Nature and open space inspire me to expand my visual horizons and at the same time my spiritual horizons. My motivation, always, is to reveal something that one might not otherwise see.
If I can capture, for example, a pattern of shadows falling through lace, and show it to people in a way that expands their perceptions and makes them more aware, then I've succeeded.
Q: What is your intent when you take a photograph?
A: Like all photographers, I am fascinated by light and the way it changes throughout the day; the way it forms patterns, creates rhythms and adds textures to the simplest objects. I'm interested in what isn't obvious, and I spend a lot of time looking for the special little details that one wouldn't always notice. One of the ways I enjoy exploring nature's intricacies is by photographing a detail and presenting it on a larger scale. In this way I hope to reveal the image to my viewer in the same way nature revealed it to me.
Q: What themes are you drawn to photograph?
A: I always look to twist the everyday into something with a different meaning. I've photographed cloudscapes from Anguilla to England to Myanmar to New Mexico; vistas like the Torre del Paine Mountains in Patagonia, Chile; Angel Falls in Venezuela; Lizard Island in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and sand dunes in Colorado. I love to capture reflections on water or tree bark or rock formations. To explore sunlight which illuminates the form and color of some of nature's most magnificent artwork. With my series on the antique lady head vases that I have collected I am looking to celebrate the eccentric beauty and drama of these tiny figurines, while also creating scenes bathed in dramatic sunlight and shadow.
Q: What do you look for when you are out with your camera?
A: I never know in advance what I'm going to find. I have the camera at the ready, I see, and I shoot. There is drama everywhere, in the fronds of a fern, in the shape of a bird's wing, in the way the color of sand changes with the angle of the sun. It's the awareness factor that is the key to discovery. My biggest challenge is not running out of film! And – yes – I am still happily using 35mm film.
Q: What other photographers do you admire?
A: The list is extremely long: Edward Weston, Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Irving Penn, Imogen Cunningham, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Lynn Geesaman and Andreas Gursky are a few of my favorites.
Q: Your photographs convey a deeply healing serenity and love of nature. How are they used to enhance the interiors of breast cancer clinics or corporate headquarters?
A: Nature nourishes us – it soothes the spirit and the soul. When we were beginning to design the Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, the space was entirely under ground. The last thing I wanted was for anyone who was going through treatment for breast cancer to experience any sense of claustrophobia or lack of air, space or light. I thought landscape photographs would be a fabulous solution. Whenever I saw a gorgeous landscape, I borrowed the transparency.
In 2009, The Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center moved into a newly built 9-story facility on 2nd Avenue. I am very proud of the magnificent art that we have collected for the new Center, which includes hundreds of stunning artworks from internationally celebrated artists such as Chuck Close, Michele Oka Doner, Beverly Pepper, Ellen Phelan, Lorna Simpson, Pat Steir, to talented amateurs on the hospital staff.
When I create an image that helps someone – even just myself – find peace, then I've attained my goal. I'm particularly proud that they are included in the art collection of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute In Boston, The Baylor Cancer Center In Houston, as well as at the Rena Rowan Breast Center at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center among others. They are also in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Estée Lauder Companies, The Chase Manhattan Bank, and the private collections of Richard Meier, Elton John and Donna Karan among others.
Q: You are donating 100% of the sale of your photographs to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Why is this important?
A: The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is the first and largest national organization dedicated solely to funding clinical and/or translational research in breast cancer at major medical centers around the globe. Since 1993, BCRF has raised $350 million to support research. I am so proud that we were able to award $36.5 million in grants to this year's group of researchers. They represent 13 countries across the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Australia, and Asia.
Supporting BCRF means you are supporting the very best science in breast cancer in the world. BCRF continues to remain one of the most fiscally responsible charities in the country and is designated an “A+” charity by CharityWatch, the only cancer organization to achieve this. When I held my first and second exhibits at the Holly Solomon Gallery in 1992 and 1994, I donated the sales from my photographs to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Since then 100% of the proceeds from the sale of my photographs have been donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Q: How has photography changed your view of the world?
A: It has taught me to look very hard and then look again, so that I truly see as many aspects of a particular subject as possible. This lesson goes far beyond learning how to see what is beautiful in nature. It also applies to relationships and current events and all kinds of topics. In capturing a singular moment, photography has also helped me learn to let go of things I want to hold on to so tightly. You can't hold back time, but you can look forward to what's coming next and do everything in your power to create the best possible future.