Born in New York City in 1966, Colin Lane moved with his family to Stamford, Connecticut when he was three years old. Colin saw Apocalypse Now when he was 12 or 13 – an event which inspired him to “do something visual” and, after taking photography classes in high school, went to film school at the University of Texas in Austin.
Austin had a great music scene in the 60’s and 70’s with artists like Janis Joplin and Willie Nelson and Colin’s time there from 1984-1990 was also an amazing time for music. He immersed himself in the live music scene and spent many nights at a roadhouse blues club called Antones where he saw blues greats including Albert King, John Lee Hooker, Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins and Otis Rush. Colin recalls: “During my time in Texas I also saw Sun Ra, Fela Kuti, John Cale, Daniel Johnston, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Doug Sahm, the Grateful Dead and countless other amazing shows, including some outstanding local bands. At that time in Austin you were spoiled for choices on any day of the week.”
After making what he describes as “a bunch of cringe-worthy student films”, Colin decided film making wasn’t for him. Frustrated by the slow process and craving the relatively instant gratification of photography, he took four photography classes at the University of Texas, taught by “very esoteric, intellectual fine art photographers”. When he graduated, he returned to NYC where his older brother, who is also a photographer, connected him with an assisting job.
Colin assisted all kinds of photographers in New York, learning his craft on the job. He was lucky enough to work with fashion photographer Enrique Badulescu for three years in the mid to late 1990s. Badulescu thought outside the box and did a lot of non-conventional things with photography – which showed Colin other possibilities rather than the conventional and relatively straight-laced methods used by the photographers he had been working with up until then.
Around 1998 he started getting work of his own and obtained an agent in London. He lived in London for a short time shooting for i-D and The Observer magazine but when he ran out of money he went back to NYC and to his then girlfriend. Lucky thing too because not long after he returned he took a shot of her when she came out of the shower that ended up as the iconic cover of the first Strokes album Is This It, which launched his career.