Lucy Laucht is a travel, fashion and lifestyle photographer currently based in Cornwall. We spoke to Lucy about her move to England’s rugged southwestern tip, her devotion to the practice of wild swimming and how the pandemic has affected her life and working style.
What were your introductions, respectively, to wild swimming and photography? And which came first?
Growing up in a creative home influenced my decision to study the arts. Looking back, I’ve always been interested in capturing a moment in time or expressing an idea—dad was a photographer, and definitely inspired my decision to pursue photography as a medium for that.
Cold swimming came later, shortly after moving to Cornwall. I was going through a few big life events and I suppose on a journey to figure out who I was again. I spent the better part of Lockdown Two living with amazing photographer Cat Vinton, and each morning we’d drag ourselves out of bed and swim at sunrise in the freezing cold sea. Madness, but beautiful and euphoria inducing.
How do these practices inform one another for you?
By the water is where my eye seems sharpest, and where I feel most inspired, so the two pursuits pair well for me.
How do you relate to wild swimming as a healing, therapeutic practice?
I see cold water swimming as a steady practice of running towards discomfort—surrendering when every cell in your body screams no. I find the process very mind clearing.
Where do you like to swim?
Depends on the wind and swell, but a favourite is Grebe, near Falmouth.
What preparations did you undertake to keep your swimming up through Winter?
A sheepskin rug to stand on (bliss for icy toes) and hot coffee as a warming reward.
How would you advise people who want to try wild swimming to get started?
Go with a partner until you’re confident enough to read the water and know how your body will react to the cold. Sometimes sudden exposure to cold water causes involuntary gasp and you can swallow water. Plus, swimming is more fun with others.
Water is ever-present throughout your work. Why do you think you’re so drawn to it as a photographic subject?
I’m endlessly fascinated with how light plays across water, and by how we interact with water, I think it’s something about the pleasure of being by the sea, at play.
Similarly, you seem drawn to summery, sunlit settings. Do you create differently in different seasons?
I’m definitely a summer gal and find myself drawn to sunlit beach scenes although I found a quiet beauty in winter this past season. With less pressure to shoot commercially, I definitely found myself slowing down and appreciating the small things.
Do you have a relationship with the clothes you work in? Is that important to you while you’re creating?
I love a comfortable uniform—white tee shirt, trainers, a well-tailored trouser, work jacket. I’d rather have a few cherished and well-worn pieces that I love than a stack of clothes I never wear.
How has covid impacted your life and working style?
Commercial photography work more or less ground to a halt with the first lockdown which I found terrifying at first, though the counterpoint to that has been the luxury of time to find pause, slow down a little and be more thoughtful. I used to see my work as the definition of success and abundance in my life, now I seem to get more joy from a walk, or a swim.
What attracted you to Cornwall?
My dad held a special reverence for this coastline, and we spent our childhood holidays here. Last year, after 15 years spent living overseas, I started coming down and walking stretches of the coast path. In doing so I met an amazing creative community and moved down in November, now I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve a book in the works, which I am VERY excited for!
What do you hope to do next?
I’m in a really beautiful place in life right now and I’m grateful for it. I think for the first time in a very long while, I’m living in the moment.
You Must Create… Happiness, peace, trust.