Tag Archives: Australian music

The Highs and Lows of the Creative Mind

Once again I haven’t been posting many updates about the gigs I’ve been shooting. There have been few gigs this year but they’ve been very memorable to me. I’ll get into who those bands were soon but I think it’s time I talk about my actual mental state that keeps me at or takes me away from photographing bands.

And I do apologise in advance, I haven’t been writing in ages. I only recently got back to reading novels. Novellas. At least a few pages a night of them.

Maybe I’ll explain what happened after the last successful gig I shot. I was asked by Darren Middleton to be his photographer in Sydney when he played a show at Factory Theatre with Guy Pearce. That was a great experience, despite ripping the only shirt I had that night – by reaching down for a beer of all things – and having a member of the audience grab me violently because doing my job was annoying him. I wasn’t ok after that. I have PTSD and my mind went to a place that was far from the venue and into a very scary place. It was just the two of us in a type of blurry isolated environment and a second later I realised I was still in the venue. So, I sulked backstage and got drunk. I didn’t even go back out to take photos during the encore.

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Guy Pearce and Darren Middleton backstage
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Guy Pearce at Factory Theatre

After that I was anxious to return to The Factory Theatre, a venue I’ve been to countless times before. So I missed out on taking photos of The Gin Club playing there. I was also anxious about my safety for other reasons. My PTSD was just back full force and I could barely leave the house.

So, I’ve gone weeks, maybe months without going to a show. I almost went to see Funeral For a Friend last week but the lack of a photo pass, bus ticket, and access to an ATM was just too many barriers in my plans to want to go. Then I had uncontrollable itching. That’s another reason why I’ve not wanted to go out: for a few weeks now I’ve had a severe eczema flare up. I’m able to control it to a degree now but when I couldn’t it was rather depressing.

The Matches
The Matches at Oxford Art Factory
The Matches
The Matches at Oxford Art Factory

I’ve been missing taking photos at gigs. At the start of the year I got to take photos of Davey Lane and his band in dresses and see an old childhood friend perform in his band. You would know him by the name Steve Smyth.  I’ve probably seen more bands than photographed but it was still fun. I got to photograph/video The Matches one-off gig in Sydney. I tried to rescue Shaun Harris’s guitar falling to the ground and when he managed to get a hold of it he swung it up and hit me in the face with it. Later on I saw that I was bleeding. Bruises and cuts in wild mosh pits are more like medals and I got loads at the Gnarwolves and Luca Brasi gig when I kept being pushed onto the stage. I even had a laugh with the Gnarwolves boys when a stage diver landed on my shoulders and I just fell down.

I had some good times with Dallas Crane too. I was always so nervous about meeting those guys, even that night but they are just so nice. I even jumped on stage with them to take photos. It was one of those nights where everything just finally felt right and nothing could ruin the moment. Some guy even tried to pick me up. No, that wasn’t part of everything going right but I wasn’t going to let it ruin my night.

Steve from Dallas Crane
Steve from Dallas Crane at Newtown Social Club
Dallas Crane
Dallas Crane at Newtown Social Club

I was disappointed about not getting a photo pass to You Am I at Twilight at Taronga but I tried to enjoy myself with friends. It was probably the last time I got really drunk, amongst other things. I’m now a complete teetotaler and only take medicines and the medication prescribed to me. Oh, and tea. I’ve been off coffee for years.

Then I didn’t get a photo pass to Bayside and that was another blow to my confidence as a band photographer. Then I took it as a good excuse to get drunk and knowing a secret entrance backstage (where I was hanging out with Darren Middleton, Guy Pearce and the members of their band a week ago) I demanded to be let in. I won’t even tell you from where I was banging on the door from but it made me look pretty ridiculous. I was getting sick of just watching international bands play when I knew I could get some decent photos out of them. I got angry about my lack of a photo pass to Funeral For a Friend that I may have just ditched the whole show over it. It took me three days to work out I was suffering from depression too.

My depression is pretty on and off usually. I do take medication that helps ease symptoms of anxiety and depression, but I get the odd suicidal thoughts a few days a month. It used to be around 10 days of the month so there’s been improvement. I’m only bringing this up because I’ve noticed a pattern in my confidence levels as a band photographer. I can go from average confidence to overconfidence to right back down to despair. The busier I am with my band photography the more confidence I have with the odd-day of having manic overconfidence. If you know anything about bipolar disorder you would know that there are periods of feeling like you’re a god and nothing can stop you. That along with bursts of creative ideas and the energy to carry them out does help out me get out to many shows and photograph a whole lot of bands, up to three shows a week, but then there are periods of having no gigs to photograph so the creative ideas and energy needs something to focus on. Most days I’m fine to play a video game, obsessively or run around with a camera when I get some idea for a project. But when the photography opportunities still don’t come it’s easy to feel hopeless about it and fall back into depression.

Also, being a creative person I don’t want to be stuck doing the same thing all the time. I want to actually create art from scratch, not just snap a photo of what I think looks good. Lately, I’ve been thinking about writing a screenplay or practice my sketching skills. But when you have ADHD you really have to plan to do those things and set aside a time, but you’re also impulsive and kept quite happy by playing a video game for hours.
I know I need to combine playing video games with creating art or doing something productive like that. It’s probably because of my autism that I can’t really focus on more than one thing at a time but I think it’s worth practicing at least. For some reason I feel like I waste time when playing video games, even though I’m proud of what I achieve in the games. I just find writing, drawing and photography more rewarding.

My despair will soon be over because I do have some gigs coming up. An old friend‘s band Sloppy Kiss Soire is having an EP launch at the Lansdowne Hotel, and I’m just surprised by the fact that they are having actual bands there again. There’s The Getaway Plan and Fraser A. Gorman at Newtown Social Club, Against Me at Wollongong University which will at least be another photo pass. The rest I want to shoot do involve getting a photo pass so may or may not happen. I guess I’ve just got to be patient for other bands to announce shows while battling my low self-esteem and whether I’m going to stick with this band photography, and make it into a real money maker. People want to put my photos in an exhibition but I just don’t feel confident about my photography at the moment. I’ve just got to keep busy with it. I’ve made some business cards and I give them to people and wonder why I even had to do that. But you know, I’ve got a skill and I’ll keep practicing it and see if anything comes out of it. I bet you can guess my mental state right now…heh.

– LTTL

Me and The Crane
Me and The Crane at Newtown Social Club

Crowd funding and OCT-DEC gigs update

Hey guys, sorry I haven’t updated this blog for months. I’ve just been really busy with my band photography and the editing that always follows it. I’ve got a lot to cover in this blog so let’s get started on crowd funding.

The good news is The Getaway Plan reached their target and are now working on their new album. To anyone who donated any money to them by clicking on the links on this blog – thank you. You are helping to make an incredible album happen. It’s called Dark Horses and we’ll be released in May. I’ve already got the live shows written down in my iPad, which is just so helpful at helping me remember when and where all these gigs are happening.

Mike Noga also launched a crowd funding project and I meant to post a blog about it but he reached his target so all is good. I can’t wait to get that tea towel, and also lots of CDs and stuff.

A couple days ago I became aware of The Gin Club’s crowd funding project and for awhile seemed to struggle to meet their target, so I put in some money, shared some links and was again going to post a blog to help get them over the line, but this morning found out they met their target. There’s still a few days left to buy a few packages from them. The Black Cattle Dog pack – the option I chose – is sold out though.

If you’re unfamiliar with their music then I recommend going here.

You can listen to a new song here.

Or you can join me and stare at the album artwork for hours.

So pretty.
So pretty.

Next, is the part where I post a bunch of pretty pictures from the latest gigs I’ve shot.

The Vines at Vic On the Park, Oct 8 2014

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The Vines played a free comeback show at Vic On the Park to play some new tunes from their album Wicked Nature. Their performance was almost as good as they were when they started out. Craig Nicholls seemed to be hyper on energy drinks at least. I took a great video of him dancing around and knocking over the drums which Music Feeds picked up.

Craig launched a very carefully aimed kick at me. In the video it seems that there’s a bit of space between us but the lens is a wide fish-eye. Objects are closer than they appear. It was a fun gig for me especially because I kept ending up with shots like this:

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Lots of eye contact from Craig. It meant a lot to me because as someone who also has Asperger’s syndrome I really look up to Craig as a sort of role model. Every little bit of advice he’s given to me or even the stuff things he shares about himself in interviews, I take it to heart. For example he helped me cope a bit better with strobe lights going off on the stage. And I really like his modern day Luddite-ness. He basically chooses making music and art (painting) over spending all day on technology. It’s something I wish I could do – even just getting back into drawing and painting – but most of my time is taken up by using a digital camera and being online. He’s almost 10 years older than me too so he’s like an older wiser person with the same condition as me. He knows who is now that he understands his diagnosis a bit more and has chosen his way to live to make it easier to deal with living with Asperger’s syndrome, and I really respect that.

My full gallery from this show is hosted on The Dwarf’s website.

The next lot of gigs I shot was Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk at Newtown Social Club, Courtney Barnett at Oxford Art Factory and The Whitlams at The Metro Theatre.

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Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk

The full gallery is here.

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Courtney Barnett

More photos of Courtney here.

Although the gig was amazing I almost didn’t get to see it as the thing most band photographer’s dread happening happened – my name wasn’t on the guest list. I was all approved to shoot the show but they just forgot to add my name to the list. Fortunately, they still let me in to take photos.

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Tim Freedman of The Whitlams

More photos of The Whitlams here

At first I thought I got into the gig pretty easily. No problems with the door list – but then it turned out I wasn’t the photographer The Dwarf had approved. A young man by the name of Stuart was. So, after a long and very frustrating phone call taken while Stuart was in the venue taking photos, it turned out our editor wanted two photographers and this was all explained in an e-mail Stu would read the next morning. Anyway, it all worked out fine. I got some nice photos and Stu and I are good friends now. It was his first shoot for The Dwarf too.

Unfortunately, I missed out on taking photos of my most favouritist band since I was a little 10 year old, The Living End. It’s just really damn hard to get a photo pass with that band. I kind of wish I had another favourite childhood band because now I’m always going to have to get over a lot of obstacles just for one simple 3 songs/ no flash shoot.

I took many videos though. You can check them out on Lost Through the Lens’s Facebook page.

I think I planned to go to many gigs in November but couldn’t for some reason or other. I almost got to go to Melbourne to photograph my currently probably favourite band ever, The Ape, in Coburg prison. But the ticket prices were just too damned expensive. So, I thought it was best to wait for them to return to Sydney.

Then finally Davey Lane returned to Sydney on November 8 and I yet again set out for Newtown Social Club. I had something special planned for Davey. For almost a year I’ve had this birthday present for him in my bedroom that I kept forgetting to give him. So, that night I brought it along with me to give to him. I also made a late-birthday early-Christmas card with a photo of my nephews and their cousins on the front and a picture of Davey and Tim on the back, and had his band mates write inside. I forgot to take a photo of the inside though.

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Happy Birthday, Davey. The Paul Mc Cartney bag was designed by my sister.
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Davey Lane

More photos of Davey and his band here.

November turned into one of those months where it felt like no one was paying any attention to my applications to cover a gig, but then Tex Perkins’ management got back to me and I was approved to shoot Rock the Gate. Oh ya!

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Tex Perkins and The Dark Horses, Enmore Theatre, Nov 23

Click here for my Rock The Gate gallery.

Click here for even more photos of Tex Perkins and The Dark Horses.

Immediately after shooting Rock the Gate I became ill and I had a River of Snakes gig to shoot at Captain Cook Hotel that weekend, so I got all the rest I could and bought all the drugs to help me feel better. It worked! It was a great night with great bands and very lovely people. Should add that due to my fear of change (Asperger’s thing) I was freaked out for weeks about even making it to the Captain Cook Hotel at all, and usually when my anxiety gets that great I just don’t go to the gig at all. But I did it this time and I’m a little bit proud of myself for facing my fears and overcoming them for a night. I did, however, almost pick a fight with an ATM machine which I told people on my Facebook friends list ‘defied all logic.’ And then it charged me $2.80.

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River of Snakes at Captain Cook Hotel, Nov 28 2014

So, those are the gigs I’ve been to in October and November.

Coming up in December, I have:

12/14 – Gyroscope at Oxford Art Factory

16/14 – The Basics at Newtown Social Club

21/14 – The Gin Club at Petersham Bowling Club

Note: experiencing some fear of change related anxiety about this gig currently. Here’s hoping I face that fear again, because last time The Gin Club played there I didn’t.

23/14 – Phil Jamieson + Scott Russo at Waves, Wollongong

28/14 – Laura Imbruglia (You’re Looking At Country) at The Gasometer Hotel, Collingwood VIC

^That’s the night after my birthday.

So, that’s it for December. There’s lots of You Am Is, a bit of Davey Lanes, and a few international tours coming up in January so that should be good fun.

I’ll try to keep this blog more updated with photos from the shows.

LTTL

Help The Getaway Plan Release Their New Album

The Getaway Plan live at UNSW Rouhouse, September 7 2014
The Getaway Plan live at UNSW Roundhouse, Sydney 9/7/14

Thanks so much for the ‘likes’ and follows on my blog so far. It really means so much to get so much attention so early in this new blog venture of mine.

One thing I’d like to ask of you is to help one of my favourite Australian artists release their new album titled ‘Dark Horses.’ I really want to hear this album myself so I’m doing all I can to make sure the band reaches their target.

The Getaway Plan are sort of punk, rock, emo but they are full of so much energy in their live shows. As you can see from the photo at the top I got to photograph them and man it was hectic – I’m glad I got any good shots at all. Strange thing is after they made a recent comeback I was all prepared to see them at a local venue called Spectrum in the city, but people discouraged me from it, said they were now boring live. But they are far from it. In my 10 years as a band photographer I’ve seen hundreds of bands live and had to make it through some painfully boring sets, and I enjoyed every minute of The Getaway Plan. I wish they played for longer.

Anyway, enough out of me. If you want to pledge some money and get some cool extras click on the photo above. Anyone wanna go halvies on the boat party pack?

You may also want to check out some of their songs before you pledge.  I recommend no.13: The New Year. Oh, it still gives me chills. Nostalgia and all that.

Lost Through the Lens

Interview with Davey Lane

Davey Lane solo show at Annandale Hotel, Sydney 28/11/13
Davey Lane solo show at Annandale Hotel, Sydney 28/11/13

Hey guys, thanks for the ‘likes’ so far. Really, I started this blog last night and to already have so many ‘likes’ and at least one follower has been really overwhelming.
One artist I take/will be taking a lot of photos of is Davey Lane. You might know him as the guitarist from You Am I. He’s a good friend of mine and has an amazing array of talent. Just check out the videos at the link below and if interested give the interview a bit of a read through. He has a new album coming out soon and I can’t wait to get my hands on it and get back out to his shows and share the photos I take with you.
– LTTL

Interview with Davey Lane.

via Interview with Davey Lane.

A Few Thoughts On My Photography

Hey there! Welcome to the new home of LTTL’s thoughts and maybe I’ll put a few sample photographs up here as well. The only reason I’m moving my blog here is I just find WordPress so much easier to navigate and check my stats on.  This page is going to be a bit messy for a while but then I’ll put up a nice header and make my writing a bit more formal. I haven’t read a book in a long time.

I grew up in Nowra on the NSW South Coast and was most active as a band photographer in the Wollongong/Sydney hardcore scene a few years back. These days I take photos of musicians who played in bands when I was a kid, and some bands I started to get into in my late teen years. Really, I’m honored to be taking photos of those artists I grew up listening to on Triple J and getting a chance to take photos of international (emo) rock-punk bands is always a great accomplishment. Plus I know most of their songs.

I haven’t been getting a lot of feedback from taking photos of those bands as I expected, which confuses me because I think they’re huge. But I also think Facebook has made me addicted to collecting ‘likes’ from just anybody when really the type of feedback I should be getting is from the true fans of those bands, or just people who really know about photography. Since departing the rock-punk-hardcore (coughsemocough) scene those types of people have been hard to come by.

But I made peace recently with only getting access to a very small number of musicians and those were the ones I knew from Triple J who are older now and willing to give a young photographer a chance, after the website I shot for called The Dwarf stopped sending out e-mails of bands I could apply to shoot for them. I pretty much lost hope that they would ever come back so I applied for another website. Then The Dwarf was re-born and got me into an international show. It was Anberlin by the way; a band that I had lost all hope in photographing because over the years I just kept missing out on that photo pass. The website I applied for never got back to me by the way. Maybe they will one day but it hardly matters anymore because I’m a Dwarftographer now. Yeah. I do refer to myself as that.

I’ve been shooting a lot of gigs recently and I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the way I take photos. I take photos of musicians who I know or have seen a lot and picked up a lot about their personality. When I take photos of them what I’m really looking for is a photo that says to me ‘that’s a really Davey Lane shot.’ This may be very hard for me to explain because I have to convert the pictures in my head to words and that’s not my default programming.

I think since I knew The Hot Lies I’ve always wanted to take photos that showed a part of their personality in those photos. The first time I ever got the idea to do this was when I saw a photo of Pete Wood that his girlfriend took. When I looked at that photo it was just like I was looking at Pete. The personality was there, the posture, everything – it was the Pete I knew – oh, at that point it was the Pete I wanted to know. So, I started to take photos like this especially when I took photos of Davey Lane. I would look at other photographer’s photos of him and think ‘nah, that’s not Davey.’ I got a bit cocky about it. Then I started to capture his mannerisms, or sneakily shoot while he was talking in between songs as instead of just while he was singing. I wasn’t always quick enough. I tried the same thing with Darren Middleton. I was still too slow, but then when I got to go to an intimate Tim Rogers gig I nailed those photos. I got personality, mannerisms, emotional faces and action photos.

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Tim Rogers at Anita’s Theatre, Thirroul. For more photos check out http://www.thedwarf.com.au. I also think he looks like Matt Smith in this picture. Yes, I kind of miss him as Doctor Who. I actually told Tim he could be Doctor Who.

Then I got thinking, this is great, but I probably couldn’t get the same results during a 3 songs/no flash shoot, but when I photographed Anberlin I did get one emotional picture of singer Stephen Christian. In all that chaos of ten photographers’s pressing up to the front of stage in the photo pit and me frantically switching from different lenses to just get one good shot, I stood back with the longest and heaviest lens and I got a moment.

Stephen Christian of Anberlin gazes in amazement at the 1000 fans cheering his band on, on Anberlin's Final World Tour and final gig in Sydney.
Stephen Christian of Anberlin gazes in amazement at the thousands of fans cheering his band on, on Anberlin’s Final World Tour and final gig in Sydney.

So, it is possible. I would love to get another chance to practice my shooting skills at those 3 songs shows. My friends go to them all the time and their photos are just fantastic. I like the little photographer circle we were sitting in each time our three songs were up and we quickly scrolled through our photos to see if they were ok. Usually, I go solo at gigs at meet a few fans of the band or I might have a chat with the band, depending on who they are. It’s so good to talk about cameras and photography without someone giving me an odd look or saying ‘I hardly know anything about it’ – that’s pretty much all we talked about.

Currently I’m on a small break from taking photos but I may go out and photograph Megan Washington in Pitt St Mall on Sunday. I like having a break because for at least a week I was doing nothing but editing and uploading photos. Even when I still had loads of photos to edit I would go to more gigs thus adding more photos to my already overwhelming list of band photos to edit. On the other hand I’m a person that can adapt to a situation that was different and want to stay there forever, so I kind of want to get out there again.

Next year I’m going to stop giving freebies to bands and as long as I continue to shoot for The Dwarf on other sites my galleries will be cut back a bit. It’s just very time consuming to put up 60-80 photos on several different sites, and I’m really trying to earn some cash from my photography. I don’t work for money yet (a few live shoots here and there) and I want to turn my photography into more of a business than hobby, otherwise I will probably ever work. The type of person I am wants to work but I want to do something I’m passionate about. No one has ever given me a chance to work and I never wanted to work those jobs and they knew – well, the photography jobs I really did want – so I never got the jobs. I’m going to be making my own business cards to shower the streets with too. Or maybe just hand out to hopeful people at gigs who wanna have a looky at the photos I took of their favourite band.

So, I guess that’s it for the first post of my new blog. Hopefully I’ll get to some gigs soon and share some photos. And I promise you I will start reading books again so I can start writing like a physicist from the 1950s again. At least a magazine.

Here’s a link to my old blog in case you wanted to see a few more photos or read some more ramblings.

Oh and Lost Through the Lens on Facebook has stacks of photo galleries so make sure you check it out. You can ‘like’ the page or not – no big deal.

– Lost Through the Lens