The Elle Report & an update

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Hi friends – it’s been a while since I’ve updated here, and mostly that’s because I’ve been making a few changes around here. I decided to officially close the doors on Elle Photography/Laura Monfredini Photography at the end of 2018. My reasons were many and varied – mostly, I got too busy with other things. I loved every minute of taking pictures for my wonderful clients and getting to share their lives at their happiest times. Thank you to everyone who let me into your life – I am humbled and grateful.

While I’m no longer taking photos for hire, so to speak, I am not putting my cameras away. I’m continuing to just experiment and take pictures of things that interest me. I’m shooting almost all film these days and having fun going back to the slowness and art of photography.

I’ve also been writing a weekly newsletter – The Elle Report – that’s become a fun hobby. I’m not monetizing it at all. It’s just a round up of articles and images I’ve liked during the week. The articles are focused on culture, art, design, fashion, things to watch and listen to, basically my version of the style section of a newspaper. It’s also a place where I can share some of my film photos & other images I find out there on the web that I think are cool or inspiring in some way. It’s subscription based via Mailchimp & if you’d like to sign up, you can click here to do that. If you’re undecided, that link will also let you look at past issues so you can “try before you buy” (even though it’s free :-).

I may still update here from time to time, too. Thanks for reading, y’all!



It has been quite some time since I’ve updated here!  With instagram, I just tend to forget about this little space.  I came on here today because I am just so excited – Mark and I are going to Paris in the fall.  Paris is just my favorite place, my happy place, and I am so very excited to share it properly with the man I married.  I mean is there any place better to stroll around in love?!  Here’s some photos from prior trips.  This go-around, I’m just going to bring film cameras and my iPhone (like I’ve been doing for all my trips lately – I love being in the moment more and really thinking about each shot).


New York, April 2017.

Mark & I went to New York for our second anniversary.  It’s where he’s from, and a city I always love and it was wonderful to share it together.  I hadn’t been there in spring before, and it was so lovely to see all the cherry blossoms.  Here’s my recommendations and favorite things from this go-round:

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To eat & drink:

Jack’s Wife Freda – this is a bustling little cafe that has style for miles and great food, too.  We ate in their SoHo location, and shared a bunch of things so we could sample the lot.  We loved the ease of walking in without a reservation, not waiting too long (we opted to sit at the counter, my favorite anyway), and that while it was brunch, we weren’t the oldest people in the room.

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Please Don’t Tell – this is a secret bar in the East Village.  You enter through a phone booth into this quirky space that serves high-low food and drinks – think amazing cocktails with tater tots.  It’s inside an unassuming hot dog restaurant.  I highly recommend, especially if you love secret rooms, mysteries, things like that like I do.

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Dear Irving – another amazing place for drinks. Mark surprised me with pre-dinner anniversary cocktails here – that man knows exactly what I’ll love, and I love that he finds it for me and makes plans to go.  I love a cocktail bar, and this one was perfection – it’s dripping in crystal curtains, art deco decor, tin ceilings and wood paneled rooms.  I also especially loved that you just flip a switch when you want service so your conversation isn’t awkwardly interrupted.  Highly recommend going here.

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Prune – this to me, is the perfect NYC restaurant.  It’s not hip or hot anymore, but it’s the classic neighborhood spot serving simple, yet delicious and healthy food.  You see a mix of people there too.  Again, there’s something wonderful about being in a city where no one ever stops going out to eat and drink, well into their 80s.

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To do:

My favorite thing, and luckily Mark’s favorite thing, is to just walk around the cities we visit with no particular agenda.  I like wandering and stumbling into something cool.  So we did a lot of that.  We started off with a day in Brooklyn – we went to Coney Island, which is where Mark remembered spending summer days.  Even in the rain it was easy to imagine it bustling.  We also spent a significant amount of time wandering in Manhattan and I checked off a few things I hadn’t done before, despite numerous visits to NYC.  Here’s my highlights:

Elizabeth Street Garden – while wandering around SoHo, we stumbled onto this extraordinary public garden filled with old, giant statutes.  They were arranged in such a a way that they created all these private seating areas, and it was a perfect place to just sit with a cup of coffee for a few minutes before continuing to wander.

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Steve Cohen’s Chamber Magic Show – Years ago, I read about this show on the blog Cup of Jo and bookmarked it as something to see someday.  On this trip, the timing was perfect – we were able to snag tickets for their Friday night show when we arrived.  It was the best way to kick off a trip – instead of feeling like we spent the day traveling, my Friday night memory is seeing this fun show.  It’s an old-school, almost vaudeville (but not as corny) magic show with card tricks that seem impossible, and other slight of hand tricks that I still cannot even begin to figure out (like linking wedding rings from the audience and “think a drink” where he pours random drinks out of a teapot).  I also loved that you must get dressed up to go – no exceptions.  It takes place in a suite in a fancy hotel, and dressing up makes everything go together and makes the experience feel like a happening.  With all the Broadway options, it would be easy to miss something like this, but if you’re thinking about it, bookmark this for your next trip.

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The New York Public Library – I have walked by the main branch of the New York Public library on probably 80% of the trips I’ve taken to Manhattan, and never walked inside.  This time I was determined to just walk in.  And I am so glad we did – it’s really something to see.  The grand reading room is the most amazing public space I think I’ve ever seen.  It made me want to have to study for something just to go there.  They also have exhibits throughout the library, and down in the children’s room, there’s the original stuffed animals that inspired the Winnie the Pooh series of books.  It’s grand, it’s free, it’s a lovely way to pass an hour wandering around.

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Grand Central Station – similar to the library, this is a spot I’ve walked by a zillion times and never had reason to go inside.  I’ve always loved photos taken inside and took the opportunity to play around a little with the slow shutter app on my phone.  (On this trip, I did my now-thing – I just walked around with my iPhone and a Holga – those shots to come later, once they’re developed and all that fun stuff.) It’s just something to see.  I was curious about the oyster bar there, but disappointed to find it in the basement and very fish-smelling when we walked inside (it was overpowering in a bad way).  In any event, popping inside a couple of classic institutions was one of my favorite parts of the trip.

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The Tenement Museum – while walking around, we stumbled on the Tenement Museum.  I’d heard great things about this museum over the years, and we happened to arrive a few minutes before a tour was starting.  It was a fascinating look into Jewish life in the garment district in the late 1800s/early 1900s.  Tours are about an hour long, and there are several to choose from.  We picked what was available, and learned about two families who lived in the building about 40 years apart.  The museum researched their lives through census records and by tracking down their descendants.

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London 2017

You all might remember I went to London a couple of years ago with my Mum (using the British term feels apropos here) for New Years, and that kicked off the luckiest year of my life – I met my darling husband Mark that year.  Turns out he’s a huge fan of English soccer so we went back together for New Years this year.  I left my SLRs behind, and just took a Holga and an iPhone this time.  These are my Holga shots – I’m clearly having fun with double and triple exposures.  London was lovely as ever, but cold and grey in winter.

Having been a few times now, I have a couple of standout recommendations should you go:

For staying:  rent a flat.  I’ve booked both times through One Fine Stay and had a lovely experience.  They leave you hotel linens and towels, toiletries and have a number of additional services like grocery shopping and child care.

For tea:  Make yourself a reservation at Sketch London.  It’s a modern/60s looking tea room with tons of David Shrigley illustrations and a bathroom not to miss (seriously).  The atmosphere is modern and hip, but the tea is traditional and perfect.  And comes with unlimited tea sandwiches.

For theater:  We loved Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  Tickets are hard to come by but can be found on the secondary market.  We also loved seeing the Royal Shakespeare Company perform.  They were doing Much Ado About Nothing this last time, and it was performed to perfection.  This former user of Cliff’s Notes to get through English was riveted.

For eating:  London is interesting in that it embraces “local chain” restaurants and chefs in a way that would never fly in San Francisco.  Here, even if a restaurant group owns a few restaurants, they will all have different names and concepts.  There, if it’s successful, they put it in a few neighborhoods.  We loved Ottolenghi’s places – we cook out of his books all the time and it was a treat to eat at the original spots, Dishoom for Indian was fantastic – note that they don’t take dinner reservations and lines can stretch for hours, but they do take lunch into “linner” – grab a 4:30 spot and enjoy a long pre-theater meal,  Polpo was a wonderful casual Italian spot.  We stayed in Hampstead Heath, and also loved The Wells, a charming gastropub in the neighborhood.  I have to say, food in London has gotten really good and a far cry from what it used to be.

For cocktails:  overall, we think London has a different palate than we do on the cocktail scene – their drinks are all a lot sweeter than I’m used to, so I don’t have a recommendation for a great drink, but for a wonderful atmosphere, The Connaght Hotel was the epitome of old London.


Newborns, cont’d.

As 2016 drew to a close, the rain would not stop, but that didn’t prevent me from doing a few newborn shoots.  For those, all I need is a window with some great light & then magic happens.  This shoot is of my dear friends The Podolls (if you haven’t checked out their eponymous clothing line, do – their clothes are slow-fashion perfection & they are the nicest people you could meet.  Here’s a few of my favorites from their newborn session with their little gal.


Best of 2016

A huge, warm, giant thank-you to all the people who let me into their lives this year to take their photos.  I hope I made some images that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.  2016 was my year of getting back into art and film photography & I think 2017 will be more of that too.  Here’s a few of my favorite images from the last year – mostly taken for clients or my art projects, a few personal mixed in, too.  xx -L



One of my very most favorite things is having clients come back to have me photograph the important events in their lives.  I especially love shooting a wedding and then doing an anniversary shoot, or a family shoot a few years later.  It’s so much fun to catch up with people I come to regard as friends after being intimately involved in their life stories.  I recently got to do this with one of my favorite couples (heck, they’re all favorites – so many wonderful people in this world).  I took their wedding photographs a few years ago – you might remember them from this feature on Snippet & Ink and they just had a lovely little girl.  At her wedding, Collen wore her mother’s dress & for her newborn baby girl’s shoot, we brainstormed and realized her Mom still had the family christening gown, so we took photos of her wearing that.  I love folding in heirlooms into photos that hopefully become heirlooms too.  I also shot part of this session on film – my love affair with old cameras & grain continues.


New York, New York (SoHo that is)

I recently went to New York for a very quick trip, and decided to just take a film camera and my iPhone as I only had a half day to myself.  My digital pics are all over on instagram (follow me there at @lauraphotographs – I know the “at at” is a tad redundant but what are you going to do) and I thought I’d share my favorite film photos.  These were all taken on a 35mm holga, which is a cheapo plastic camera that naturally makes those early instagram filter type images on film, right out of the camera but in a way you just can’t quite get with a digital camera, no matter how many filters you use.  There’s nothing like film kids.  There, I said it.  I love film and always will.  Digital is amazing for so many thing, not to mention it’s cheap and convenient, but a good film photo is perfection.