We all want to be constantly inspired by the creative world around us. We want to be flooded with beautiful images, sounds and experiences, but we also seek to learn about how things are created and need to find ways to learn not only from our superiors but also our peers.
In this new monthly 4 part interview series, Kaleido gets an in depth and honest look into the skills and processes of young creatives giving it their all.
We’d like to start off our Resident Creative series with upcoming photographer Liam Cameron. Despite only recently finishing uni, and currently on a self described struggle to become a citizen of society and a man, Liam already has a killer portfolio and there’s no sign of slowing down.
What first captured our attention was his music photography, so for part 1 we had a chat about his journey to photography, the role of music and the key lessons he’s learnt so far.
What was your first encounter with photography?
For my year 12 HSC art project, I did photo manipulations with found images. I didn’t even know why, but it was fun and they were successful.
Then I took a gap year and did shit all. Then I enrolled into art school, which didn’t have a photo manipulation class. Outrage! However, I realized that perhaps I could take my own photos to use instead of endlessly searching for nice images.
I haven’t taken as many photos as I would have liked or should have. Throughout most of uni I restricted my photo taking almost exclusively to my assignments like a chump. And I could sit hear crying about wanting a time machine to go back and shoot more, but you can make a difference right now. Get the fuck outside, or stay inside – just take some photos. I’ve only really started hustling the past couple months.
For music photography specifically, I chatted to a girl at the uni bus stop who reviewed for a music website. I asked if they needed photo people (they did), so I sent them an email… And before I knew it, I have done heaps of shows and festivals for a range of publications and clients.
What role does music play in your creative work?
Music is more to pump my state and it helps me edit photos at times, but I’m more inspired creatively by visuals.
Your music photography captures so much energy, what have been the key things you’ve learned while shooting live music?
So much. I’ve learnt more from live music photography than anything else.
Ask questions. Ask and you shall receive. If you want to do something, put yourself out there and try and do it. What’s the worst that can happen? Probably no response. Asking the question is what got me into this in the first place. Also, a particular company kept advertising for design jobs and I kept applying time and time again. I never heard anything from them, but somehow I was on their mailing list. When they needed a photographer, I hit them up. Earlier this year I started shooting musician portraits and interviews for them. This is something I want to get more into.
There are so many variables in live music. You have to consider your camera settings, composition, lighting, lens, etc. And BAM, the lighting changes, the musicians move around, or some other photographer is blocking your way, etc. Tough work on the ol brain.
I’ve only got a 50mm lens since I can’t borrow gear from uni anymore. You learn to make use with what you’ve got. Some people whinge about their gear bringing them down and holding them back from taking good shots. Master what you’ve got! Sure, I’ve missed a lot of shots from not having a wide or telephoto lens, but there’s nothing stopping me from working and buying more gear. One day haha.
You’re the one up there shooting. Everything else is offered to you: the lighting, the ‘models’, the logistics, etc. You’re liable if you screw up. There’s no one else to blame, but you. Since there’s generally not a lot of money in music (especially when you’re shooting for an online publication), you have to do it for the love of it!
Furthermore, as much as some people don’t like to admit it, it’s becoming more and more difficult to earn living solely from music photography. That sucks, but it’s the reality. Most importantly, it has taught me that the process of doing the work is most significant. You turn up each night with a new set of obstacles to overcome. And that’s when you learn.
5 new things you’ve learned to love thanks to shooting live music?
Somehow hiphop is what I mostly listen to now. Perhaps I’ve transformed into a real G. Perhaps not. I never went out of my way to hear it before I started watching it live. Love it. A nice production just does it for me. Don’t tell my mum because she can’t stand it.
Why can’t more artists have engaging live show environments. Darkside kept it simple with a giant rotating circular mirror that looked like a fucking vortex. Incredible. I was in total awe. It also proved how you can totally transform a venue like Hi-Fi.
Screamo/hardcore, whatever you call it.
I could never stand listening to it. But seeing it live can be great! There’s so much emotion and the crowd really gets into it. You can also appreciate their instrumental talent. I love that watching music live can be a completely different experience to listening to it.
It’s satisfying rocking up and catching random bands. Some can be shit; others can be amazing! More people should go in blind and see what happens instead of doing what they ‘know’. And I normally hate surprises.
Recently I started documenting interviews and taking snaps of artists for the music blog Happy. They’re a great bunch of people. Anyway, most of the musicians I’ve been around are so down to earth and incredibly nice. They’re just like you or me. They’ve got doubts, fears and all those concerns that us mere mortals have. It’s refreshing and makes you respect their craft even more.
Stay tuned next Tuesday for Part 2.