Yes, it’s true, it finally happened. The new blog and website is very much live and good to go at www.jacintamathews.com so please update your RSS bookmarks or whatever it is that makes RSS work. I’m very tech-savvy.
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One day I will actually post and say my website is ready. But today is not that day. It is coming along very well though, Alex has done a fantastic job. It’s just me not being able to narrow down a portfolio of 30ish images that is holding the project back. Everything starts to look bad when you’re looking at it for ages.
But I digress!
Last weekend was my first Big Day Out in a shooting capacity. Generally speaking, I’m not a massive fan of shooting festivals. Smaller shows are obviously more intimate, and you can get closer to the action (and it’s considerably easier to get a beer too!), but the Big Day Out is very much seen as a ‘coming of age’ milestone by many Australian photographers, so I thought it was worth my while to get one under my belt. No one on the lineup really excited me, there were a lot of very good bands, but none I was totally dying to see. Which I guess made the day a lot easier. I was shooting bands that fit a schedule, not trying to fit in ‘fan time’ with ‘work time’. That said, you may have spotted a very happy little photog in a ‘I CAN HAS GYROSCOPE?‘ tshirt, standing side of stage for said band, singing til she thought she was going to lose her voice (or faint, it was pretty hot!). They really are something else. Phew.
I was really struggling to nail my shots on the day, especially towards the end of the day, cause I’m a self-admitted lightweight, and I was pretty tired! But I managed to scrounge up a few cool shots, like the one above of Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello. The energy for RATM was incredibly intense, and being that it was my first BDO, I wasn’t totally prepared for the chaos of the headliner’s pit. 15-odd photographers, trying to keep out of the way of 30 or so security guards, who are hauling a constant stream of large sweaty crowdsurfers over the barrier. I got shirtfronted by an over enthusiastic chap as he was exiting the pit, which did little to boost my confidence! But hey, it’s all about experiencing and learning, and I certainly did a whole lot of experiencing.
Though next year I’ll be sure to bring my own hockey armour.
Hopefully this will be my last post here! Getting the last little bits into place for the new site, so fingers crossed, next time you hear from me I’ll have a link saying ‘Go here instead!’ But until then….
Last weekend I spent a very hot and smelly couple of days in Busselton for the Southbound camping, music and arts festival. Was pretty good fun, I bought a new backpack to cart my gear around in, and took basically everything I could have POTENTIALLY needed. So needless to say, my back was pretty sore by the end of the weekend. The two bands I was really looking forward to shooting were Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Kings of Leon. Black Rebel were great, nice and energetic, and very much dressed to rockstar specifications. Kings of Leon were a little bit different. I’d REALLY been looking forward to shooting them, cause needless to say, as a girl, shooting four boys who couldn’t have an ‘ugly day’ if they tried, the whole thing was always going to be fun. Then we found out we only had 60 seconds to shoot them. Not one song. 60 seconds. I cracked under the pressure a bit, I don’t mind saying. I scrounged up four photos that I liked out of 60 seconds. I’d sort of pre-planned it in my head at the start of the day, going to spend a song on Jared, a song on Caleb, and then the last song on Matthew & Nathan. Ah well. Best laid plans, eh?
Normally I don’t have issues with photo restrictions, they’re usually there for pretty valid reasons, but this one baffled me. The crowd wasn’t especially rowdy, so we weren’t in any danger. They couldn’t possibly be worried about ‘protecting their image’ or having a bad photo taken of them, cause I mean, look at them. I quite genuinely hope they come back sometime soon, cause I’d love to shoot them for a little longer than 60 seconds. 3 min 50 maybe?
Yet another photo-spam to bring things up to speed. Been putting work into my brand spankin’ new blog/portfolio/gallery website, so this poor old blog has been getting a little neglected. Will be posting here once the site eventually goes live but won’t be for a little while yet.
Saturday the 17th was a pretty busy night. First port of call was the Hyde Park Hotel for the RTRFM 30th Anniversary gig, featuring some of Perth’s best ‘old-school’ bands. The Hydey is infamous for it’s revolting lighting, but I managed to get away with a f2.8, though I usually can’t cope without using my f1.8. I was a bit young to know most of the bands on the lineup, but had no intention of missing Autopilot, the very first local band I ever saw, when I was 17. Lots of singing and reminiscing.
Then it was a mad dash up the road to shoot Sons of Rico, the band I did the promo shoot for in the last post. They’d organised their own guy to take care of the lights, so it was practically heaven compared to the Hydey. Really energetic show, and I got lots of stuff I was really happy with.
Friday the 23rd was the launch of the ‘Hole in the Heart’ EP for Next Big Thing winners Harlequin League at Amplifier. This was one I’d been really looking forward to, and had to lobby my case a little to be able to cover it for Drum. These guys are very very slick and very very catchy. I’d shot them through all the heats, semis, and eventually the final of NBT, but it wasn’t until this night that I managed to get photos I was happy with. Fourth time lucky? A few more can be seen at my Flickr. The lights were pretty even, Amplifier often tends to err on the side of flashing, constantly changing lights. I seemed to be in a bit of an ‘underexpose’ kind of mood this particular night, I do often tend to overexpose everything and blow the hell out of the highlights usually (call me crazy, I kinda like it). Meant I had to do a little Photoshop work, but also meant I COULD do a little Photoshop work. I might like to overexpose a bit, but I also know it’s a very fine line between ‘overexposing’ and ‘fucking the whole photo up’ and once it’s gone, it’s gone. And no, I don’t shoot RAW. Shush. In the end, the reviewer was sick and didn’t go to the show, so they couldn’t run my photos. Such is life.
Thursday the 29th was funtimes a-plenty. The very first FasterLouder Live Perth gig rolled into town, featuring some of our finest indie acts: Sugar Army, Streetlight, Institut Polaire, and the Silents. The lineup was decided on the morning of the gig with a music quiz held live on RTRFM. Streetlight just got pipped at the headlining post, though Pat from Sugar Army must really be applauded for his use of ‘Skyhooks’ to get himself out of a tricky spot. To be quite frank, 80% of the night is a blur, and I only actually watched one band, but I’m pretty sure it was fantastic. Streetlight were on fire, as per usual. I took photos for about half the set, was relatively amused the next morning to find out that the quality of the photos after a few too many pints was pretty similar to my sober work. Bit worrying. The lights were nice and bright, so I took the opportunity to use my Holga camera for the very first time. I’d had some trouble getting the film to stay in the cartridge thingy when I loaded it, so I used a little bit of sticky tape to keep it in there. I’m not sure if the guy at the lab will get cranky when he develops it. Eep. Oh well. I only took about half a roll, so once I get them developed, I’ll put some up. I’m very keen to see how the double exposures worked out.
Local band Calerway won the competition that The Veronicas were running on their Myspace to find a support band for each of their shows. I’ve been shooting these guys practically since I started shooting bands (ie. a while), and I’d considered seeing if they could source a pass for me, but then I didn’t end up bothering. Fast forward to a couple of hours before they’re due to go onstage on Saturday night, I get an email asking if I can come down and take some photos. Course I can. Bit of a rush, but I get greeted with a beer backstage, so really, it’s ok in the end. Not only was it my first time shooting at Burswood Theatre, it was definitely my first time shooting from backstage at a show like this. I was given the option of shooting from the front if I wanted, but it was too much of a novelty to pass up. It was a definite struggle. Stage was big, zoom didn’t have quite enough reach, band were moving around a lot, lights were red and dull for most of the set. Oh, and the set was only four songs long. But I made do, was a good experience if nothing else.
After Calerway it was then off to the Rosemount for the weekend’s proper assignment, Faker. I’d say it was another tough shoot, but two ‘tough shoots’ in the space of a few hours probably means it’s actually ME, right? All red lights, one incredibly bright white static spotlight, and a singer who barely stood still for two seconds. Was a matter of waiting for him to pass through the spotlight, taking a few rapid-fire shots, hoping to hell I nailed some sort of decent pose, and repeating the process for three songs. Add to that the fact he SEEMED to be actively turning his back on the three photographers on my side. I was more than likely just imagining things and being paranoid, but that’s definitely how it seemed on the night. Photographers are your friend, Nathan. Really we are. The photo on the left is probably my favourite, though it really doesn’t represent the Faker vibe. It’s a very ‘me’ photo, but not a very ‘them’ photo. But action shots were nearly impossible. Luck was just not on my side on Saturday.
I do apologise in advance if there’s not another post for a few weeks. Once the new site goes live, this blog will be essentially dead, so I’m not overly keen on putting heaps of posts and photos up that are pretty much going to be lost to the interweb.
Quick photo-spam to get things up to date
1. Red Jezebel at the Rosemount to launch their new CD ‘How I Learnt to Stop Worrying.’ 20th Oct
2. The Panics at the Bakery to launch THEIR new CD ‘Cruel Guards.’ 26 Oct
3. Gyroscope at Capitol to launch their new single ‘Snakeskin’. 27 Oct. Lots of launches this month. They’re in my top 2 of Perth bands, seriously doubt I’d ever get sick of seeing them. Wasn’t on assignment for this one, but wanted to take the camera along for a few shots from the balcony, for a bit of a different perspective.
4. Promos for Sons of Rico, North Fremantle, 8 Nov. I’d just got my ST-E2 a couple of days before, so I was very keen to give it a run. A lot of people seem to poo-poo it in favour of the Pocket Wizards, but it did the job perfectly as far as I’m concerned.
5. Anonymous British band, 10 Nov. Brilliant, brilliant show.
A few fun shows to look forward to over the next few weeks, but at this time of year, the focus is on the festivals. In my case, Southbound and Big Day Out. It’ll be my first Big Day Out in a ‘proper photographer’ capacity (as opposed to sneaking in a camera to shoot friends’ bands). Hopefully the next two lineup announcements will be more interesting than the first! Though I will enjoy photographing Tom Morello, knowing I beat his ass down in Guitar Hero 3.
While I get my stuff from the last couple of weekends sorted out (been busy, and sick, and busy again), take some time out to watch this video by 17 year old whizkid Joey Lawrence. His photos are way more epic and stylised than anything I can ever see myself wanting to do, but there’s still lots of points of interest. I plan on blatantly stealing one or two of his elements….if I ever find the time for it, that is.
If you’re in Perth, and interested in all things to do with digital media, be sure to check out PodCamp.
“PodCamp Perth is a newmedia community UnConference that helps connect people interested in blogging, podcasting, social media and networks, video on the net, and newmedia together to learn, share, and grow their newmedia skills. Whether you’re just interested in newmedia or an experienced veteran, PodCamp Perth is for you! Everyone is welcome, regardless of your involvement in social and newmedia, as long as you want to learn, share, and grow your knowledge!”
Mr Seng Mah will be representing the Photographers in Perth (PiP) Flickr group (which I am a part of) talking about PiP crossing over from being soley an online group, to becoming a thriving real-life social network for Perth’s photographers. Annnnd I may be having some photos featured in the presentation. Maybe.
“Flickr is an online photo-sharing application that is primarily used to show and share photographs, whether they be happy-snaps, family photos, or more artistic and professional photography pursuits. The Photographers in Perth (PIP) community was initially formed as a Flickr group for local photographers to show off their work, but has since evolved into one of the largest photography networks in Perth through the deliberate use of networking tools in Flickr and via the organization of real-world group events such as meets, photo shoots, workshops and group exhibitions. Come and find out how an online group becomes a successful offline community of practice and, if you are interested in photography, you may even be tempted to join PIP!”
The main day of activity is Saturday October the 27th, at Central TAFE, with smaller, less formal activities as part of Day 2 on the Sunday. Check out the website to register, and to find out what other presentations are on the agenda. Will be an interesting and informative weekend.
Last weekend was the Final of the National Campus Band Comp at the Rosemount. Will Stoker & The Embers were the overall winners, with Good Little Fox in second, and wildcard Black Market Babies in third. Will & co now head over to Melbourne for the National Final.
An over-saturation of shooting band comps has given me a few bad habits. Either only shooting the bands that I think are going to place, or making more effort for the bands who I think are going to place. I’m going to come unstuck one day.
This weekend started on Thursday at Amplifier for the Expatriate/Cops show. Missed most of the Cops, but what I saw was pretty awesome. Would totally go see them again. The guitarist was apparently rather ill, and threatening to vomit at any moment.
Expats were ok. The lights weren’t as good as they had been for the Cops (bordering on being a bit TOO bright in the Cops’ set), but the singer was happy enough to play up for the camera, so that was ok. He came over and shoved the head of his guitar into my lens as I happily snapped away. Unfortunately none of them really came out cause of the lack of light. You win some, you lose some.
Saturday night was a trip to Burswood Theatre to see Darren Hayes. The first time in a while I’d actually paid to go to a show, and I wasn’t exactly jumping out of my skin about the prospect. I took my Canon Powershot S3IS along, cause I’d heard it was going to be an excellent visual show, and if I’d decided to leave my camera at home, I would have kicked myself. Support act was Freo local Simon Kelly, which amused me no end. I’d expected some sort of horrible electro act as the support, so Simon was definitely a pleasant surprise. I SMS’d him after his set, and was informed that there was no beer backstage anywhere, only water. I told him to trash the dressing room. Video of him doing a cover of Damien Rice’s ‘Cannonball’ (the S3 has awesome video function).
The Darren Hayes set was……ok. I was a fan of Savage Garden, I tolerated his earlier solo stuff, but thought the new CD was utter rubbish. You may be asking why I bothered to go at all. I told Mum I’d go to the concert with her, and pretty much regretted it from the moment I agreed. Very glad I took my camera, not cause the light show was THAT amazing, but cause it kept me occupied. I got some relatively nice stuff, considering I hadn’t used a point-and-shoot for concert photography for years.
Had planned on going out to catch Dead Letter Circus at Amplifier, but Darren’s show ran longer than I was expecting, so it wouldn’t have been worth it. So I went home and spent the rest of my Saturday night processing photos. It’s exciting times at my place!
I’m not sure what my next assignment will be, between now and next Sunday there’s Motorhead, Good Charlotte, Linkin Park, Taste of Chaos, Ben Kweller, Parkway Drive, Birds of Tokyo, Red Jezebel, Bank Holidays, and Sarah Blasko. So there will be SOMETHING up here from that list next week.
A couple of articles in the UK’s ‘Digital Photographer’ made me think long and hard about what I really classify ‘music photography’ to be.
The first article was in Issue 59, and was a bit of a How-To article featuring interviews with UK-based photographer Jenny Potter and Aussie Leigh Wilkins. The photos published as examples of top notch music photography aren’t really much chop. But to give the photographers credit, when visiting their online folios, there are much better examples of what they can do. Apparently you can’t even trust the editor of a photography magazine to publish your best stuff. Anyway, after reading the article, it left a slightly bad taste in my mouth. It was just so scientific, so media-pit oriented. Very ‘you need to do this to get to this point professionally.’
Enter Digital Photographer Issue 63, and it’s feature on London-based photog Jill Furmanovsky. There were less images than in the other article, but they all spoke to me so much more. A candid, smiling Amy Winehouse in her dressing room, Noel Gallagher walking onstage at Maine Road in 1996, arms spread, in front of tens of thousands of people. They weren’t just random snapshot photos, they were real moments. She went on tour with bands, she shot from the crowd when pit access was denied, she LIVED IT. Her journey was organic, spurred by luck and being at the right place at the right time.
When I look at my folio ten years down the track, I know who’s work I’d prefer it to resemble. Do I want to be the person who’s technically flawless, is driven and career-focused, but producing bland editorial tripe, or do I want to be the person who kind of fell into the whole thing by accident but can more accurately capture what’s going on around them because they’re genuinely living it, not just turning up for three songs?
As far as I’m concerned, it’s not a job, it’s not a hobby….it’s a lifestyle. Gotta have soul to be a soldier.
Jeff Buckley, London, 1994. Jill Furmanovsky.
There are few words that I need to use to describe Emerald City’s shows. For those who have seen them, I won’t need to say anything. But for those who haven’t: Fireworks, flames & glitter cannons.
They’re just one of those bands that makes your task very easy. And if you walk away from the show feeling like you haven’t been entertained, then there is seriously something wrong with you. I shot this show on Av, the very first time I’d shot a whole gig on Av. The result was very few TECHNICALLY good photos (or ones that met my tight quality control) but a lot of photos that adequately represented the vibe of the night. And that was pretty much the point.
After the show I had an irrepressible urge to go home and play Guitar Hero: Rocks the 80′s.
This coming Saturday is the National Campus Bands Grand Final. I may or may not be on photo duty, but it’ll be a great night nonetheless. If you don’t have any other plans, get down to the Rosemount to check it out. Past national winners have included Eskimo Joe and The Vasco Era, and I like to think WA have got a strong enough crop to take out nationals AGAIN this year.