Bring your vision to life.
Make soulful, gorgeous images you adore.
Welcome to Light Atlas Creative!
I'm Laura Valenti. I created this digital space to help photographers express their unique artistic vision (yes, I believe everyone has one).
I want to live in a world where artists show up fully - creating and sharing their most vibrant, skillful, wholehearted work.
Light Atlas Creative, along with my 20+ year career as a photographer, curator, juror, arts director, and educator, is about helping photographers identify their creative voice so they can make meaningful photographs they love.
Do you remember those old cameras with flash cubes that popped when you took a picture?
At 5 years old, that camera was my first love.
I grew up watching my dad develop images in our basement darkroom, completely fascinated that a negative and a bunch of chemicals could create magical little pictures. As I got older, I spent every spare second in the darkroom.
And then, after my first year of college, I took a summer job teaching photography to at-risk youth (mostly gang members) in Seattle. Through that experience, I realized I was teaching them so much more than darkroom and camera skills.
I was helping those young people remember that they had a voice, and that what they had to say mattered. Working with light, interpreting their experiences through the lens, learning to see - that was actually a powerful process of self-discovery and healing.
And, that’s what I’ve spent the past 20 years exploring - photography as personal discovery. Photography as a tool for insight, transformation, and growth.
I absolutely love what I do.
I help photographers become visionary artists.
At its core, my work is about helping my students find their true voice as artists, so they can make their most personal, meaningful, and impactful work.
If you’re looking for my formal bio, keep scrolling. Otherwise, here are a few fun bits about me:
I live with my sweetheart and a nutty (and lovable) German Shepherd in rainy Portland, Oregon.
I might be mildly obsessed with Japanese bean cakes, hand-knitted socks, and impromptu ABBA dance parties in the living room.
For most of my life, I've looked a lot younger than I am. People thought I was 18 when I was 40. It's actually been a challenge - but it's helping me approach aging with gratitude. Here's to sexy eye wrinkles!
I spent the first fifteen years of my life living in Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong.
My first photo album featured kooky images of my stuffed animals, family, and backyard - check out the photographic evidence below!
Here are your next steps:
Start with Sight + Insight.
This is my free, four-day photography e-course (all cameras and photographers at any level are welcome). It includes thoughtful essays and audio-visual conversations about deepening your awareness of light and creating images with more emotional resonance.
But here are the two things I love most about this class:
You’ll get clarity on the difference between photographing beautiful things and making beautiful photographs. (This is so important!)
And, you’ll receive my personal feedback on your images throughout the class.
Enter your email below and I’ll send you the first lesson.
My professional background:
I've spent about 20 years in the art world as a photographer, curator, arts director, and educator. I worked for 15 years in the nonprofit art world, most recently as Outreach Director at Photolucida - an organization that works to build connections between photographers and the gallery and publishing worlds.
Before that, I was Program Director and co-Curator at Newspace Center for Photography, where I also taught black-and-white darkroom.
I often serve as a professional reviewer at various portfolio review events (such as Houston FotoFest, Review Santa Fe, Photolucida, and many international reviews), where I help photographers fine-tune their vision and promote their work with more confidence.
Recent curatorial projects include shows at PhotoPlace Gallery, LightBox Photographic, Center for Fine-Art Photography, Photographic Resource Center, RayKo Photo Center, the Oregon Historical Society, and the Lishui International Photography Festival (China).
I've also juried exhibitions for many different organizations over the years, including Center (Santa Fe), Photo District News, The Oregonian, Photo Center Northwest, Critical Mass, Rangefinder Magazine, and the KL Photography Awards (Malaysia), among many others.
Learn more about my photography and teaching philosophy on the Huffington Post.
Self discovery. Artistic growth. Soulful living.
Make art that brings you alive.
Wherever you are on your creative journey, and whatever step you decide to take next, I hope you’ll remember that:
Choosing to make art isn't selfish. It’s healing, deeply loving - and it's your absolute right.
Art school and fancy gear aren't the important things - it's your creative voice that really matters.
Anyone who defines your work by how it compares to someone else’s is missing an opportunity to help you express your unique vision.
The "right" work is whatever lights you up. If your heart is called towards it, move in that direction.
Art is a tender, intimate act of cherishing who you are. It’s about connecting to yourself and the world around you more deeply, more honestly.
You have a vision and voice that you can express right now.