Lawrence’s mom bought him his first camera, a Pentax K-1000, when he was 15 years old. He majored in journalism and minored in art photography at James Madison University before starting a year-long photojournalism internship program with Landmark Communication. He spent four months each at The Roanoke Times, The Greensboro News and Record and The Virginian-Pilot.

It was at The Virginian-Pilot, Lawrence became full time and worked nearly 10 years as a staff photographer covering in-depth feature and news stories( such as a behind-the-scenes-coverage of a quadruple homicide in Va. Beach), local news and sports. In 2000 he moved to Boston to work as a staff photographer for the Associated Press covering state and local politics, professional sports teams and large events such as the Super Bowls and the World Cup in Korea.