Isaac Lamb Explores Intimacy And Relationships With New Photography Series

“Showcasing love authentically and seeing where it leads” was the impetus for Essex-born photographer Isaac Lamb’s latest project, Love Nest. An aptly-titled exploration of five London-based couples, Lamb’s practice has always been informed by a desire to scratch beneath society’s surface to find, and shoot, what lies there. With an increasingly photojournalistic focus, relationships and how intimacy manifests within them seemed like the natural next subject for the 27-year-old’s curious lens. “I noticed a lack of fun and meaningful short projects that weren’t necessarily associated with a brand or identity,” Lamb says. “In my profession, I prioritise creating for the sake of creation itself.”

Highlighting a diverse range of people without feeling tokenistic was at the top of Lamb’s list when making his first and perhaps most integral decision of which couples to feature. “I bought my friend Tally [Francis] on board, who is an amazing casting director and we explored various ideas”, he says. Initially aiming to showcase “a diverse range of ages, sexual orientations, and genders”, the creative quickly realised involving “every group in London” might come across as watered down or as a brash, misplaced incident of virtue signalling. To combat this, Lamb and his team narrowed their focus, deciding to only highlight five, young couples, “each with different socioeconomic backgrounds, sexualities and places of residence.” From this, they were able to represent a variation of stories without it feeling artificial and forced.

After honing down their selection to couples they could “genuinely tell were in love” and had “a good story to share”, Lamb then had to figure out how to capture the pairs in their most natural form without it feeling awkward and contrived. Shooting them in the privacy of their own bedrooms became his secret sauce. “Being in their own homes allowed the couples to relax and be themselves, dressed in their everyday, comfy clothes. This genuine comfort and authenticity shines through in the photographs, offering a glimpse into their intimate moments that wouldn’t be possible in any other setting.” 

Authentic? Yes. Still quite skin-crawlingly awkward? Potentially. But Lamb used every tool in his toolbox to ensure his subjects felt their most relaxed. Shooting from above, Lamb assumed a fly-on-the-wall type role, ensuring he stayed as far of the couple’s personal space as possible. In doing so, the couples could “relax into their most natural positions, as they would when cuddled up in bed”, without having a big, scary lens in their periphery. He also made a concerted effort to have a bit of chin wag before getting down to business. “I had to make sure that I was super approachable, found common ground and most importantly have a laugh…We would usually have a cup of tea, talk about our weeks, talk about their houses and how long the couples had been together… Then during shooting, we would have a laugh and try a few poses.”

Inserting himself into the couples’ most intimate spaces was a challenge for the photographer. “It was a lot harder than usual, as, on set, you have a team with you to take the pressure off and control the variables. You can also have a guaranteed outcome if you’ve prepped enough and know exactly what you want to get. In this setting, I wasn’t sure what their homes looked like, or if I would have enough room to set up and I didn’t bring anyone else into the room to make sure they felt comfortable.” 

Despite Lamb’s initial nerves, the final images are case in point of the value of forcing yourself out of your comfort zone. Photos that inspect people this closely, especially with a healthy helping of affection, could easily chuck up a response laced with grimace and cringe, but through Lamb’s lens, this isn’t the default. It feels genuine, both on his side and the side of the couples.

Speaking on what he learnt throughout the process, Lamb says, “I think what it has taught me is that, no matter the background, upbringing, gender or sexuality, people love to be in love. It was really sweet how much these couples opened up and spoke so candidly about why they love each other.” Down to earth and on the right side of soppy, Love Nest is enough to make any optimistic single like myself re-download Hinge for the fifth time this year. So if you see me sat in the pub this weekend asking someone how many siblings they have, now you know why. 

Creative Director and Photographer ISAAC LAMB
Photographer’s assistant

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