No matter what art form you choose to create in, there’s always a rigid process, one that photographer Mikki Gomez knows all too well. Snapping artists and musicians all around the world, Sydney local Mikki Gomez sat down with us and spoke about her favourite 2014 gigs, photographing the USA and her experience photographing Lana Del Ray.
What is it that you enjoy most about photographing a gig/festival?
This can also be a downside, but it would have to be not knowing what I’m getting myself into. The standard rule for live music photography is 3 songs, no flash. Other times, musicians will have very specific rules. But it’s the process of it all. As a shooter, you walk into a venue, not knowing what the stage setup or lighting will be like and you have a very short amount of time to get it right. You have to think quickly when you’re in the photographers’ pit (if there is one). And that’s exciting to me. That; and meeting new people at every show and festival I shoot.
How long were you in the USA for last year? Do you feel it has changed/influenced the way you photograph now?
I was in the US for just over two weeks. I was mainly there to cover New York Fashion Week (MBFW/NYFW) before flying off to Japan. In a way, it has influenced the way I shoot now. I can’t speak for all of America, but New Yorkers definitely love to have their photos taken which gave me more confidence in covering the Australian fashion week when I came back. The things I learned from other photographers I met about shooting street style and runway shows are applicable to how I now approach shooting a gig and music events. Shooting in New York was a huge game changer for me. It opened my mind to how I view my subjects.
How was it photographing in such iconic cities as Brooklyn?
I didn’t get to spend as much time as I’d have liked to in Brooklyn, but the few days I was there was mind-blowing. Brooklyn is not what I imagined it to be, there’s definitely a lot of hidden gems that makes you appreciate what’s right in front of you. Things I would never photograph in Sydney, I photographed in NYC and Brooklyn.
What was it like shooting at field day over the New Year?
Field Day was a lot of fun until it hit the last two hours when all my energy was drained. But it was a great way to start 2015 – it was blistering hot, there was great energy from the acts and the crowd, and I walked away with some photos I’m quite proud of.
What was your first camera you ever purchased?
From memory, the first camera I purchased with my own money was the Canon 1000D. It was an entry lever DSLR and it did the job I needed it for.
How was it photographing Lana del Ray?
It was one of the most nerve-wracking shows I’ve ever had to cover. This was during her peak moment and it was just myself and one other photographer in the photo pit. I’m pretty sure I was trembling from the moment she stepped on stage up until the third song was over.
What would you say your photography style is?
I’m not sure if I have a style yet, though a lot of people have told me they’re able to distinguish my work purely just by looking at the image and not the credit line or social media username (which is super cool). I prefer not to direct my subjects and to just shoot freely, almost like a documentary style.
What band/musician would you love to photograph?
Bjork, Alanis Morissette, Sigur Ros, Kendrick Lamar and Simon & Garfunkel.
Do you have a photography bucket list?
Yes, but I’m very secretive about it.
What was your favourite artist/music event you’ve photographed?
This is a tough one.. But for the time being I’d probably have to say Big Day Out 2013. It was my first major festival coverage and the lineup included three of my favourite artists, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Childish Gambino (who I got to meet).
What made you want to become a photographer?
It wasn’t something I aspired to be growing up, but I’ve always been interested in the documentation of things. Not just photography per se, but literary too.
Aside from the gigs you have to shoot, what is your own personal music taste?
I listen to everything! Everything. From the Smashing Pumpkins to Sigur Ros to Kendrick.
What do you love most about photographing musicians?
You never know what they’re going to do on stage, the emotions they exert when performing.
What are your top 5 favourite photos you’ve taken of musicians?
Joel Birch of The Amity Affliction
Karen O of the YYYs at Big Day Out
Win Butler of Arcade Fire, BDO sideshow
Tyler the Creator of OFWGKTA
MO at Field Day
What would be your one piece of advice be to a budding photographer?
Shoot for yourself, and not what you think people want.
Follow Mikki on her photographic adventure through her Instagram.