Hallowing from the outskirts of Melbourne, Rochelle Flack has made her mark on the music photography scene. Now the founding editor of Casual Band Blogger, we sat down with Rochelle to chat about her Photo beginnings, photography bucket list and her top 5 favourite photos ahead of her first exhibition at Citizens of the Streets on Thursday September 24th at the Shadow Electric Bandroom:
What is it that you enjoy most about photographing a gig/festival?
The pace and variety – you just never know what to expect. At times, it can be unsettling, but most of the time it just makes for a lot of excitement. Looking down at your camera and seeing that you’ve nailed a shot is the best feeling. When you’re a gig photographer you’re kind of working against all odds and at the mercy of literally everything else – so whenever you get the shot, it’s a little victory.
Where did the name Flackseed come from?
Flackseed stemmed from a love of puns. I cop a bit of flack for it (haha). It’s a play on words with my last name. Rather than presenting work under my full name, I kind of wanted to take an ‘alias’ approach. Keeping it mysterious.
Who would you love to photograph as a portrait and why?
Courtney Barnett. I’ve seen quite a few portraits of her, and she just seems like the most authentic, enjoyable person to shoot. I’d love to take her photo one day.
What made you want to begin your photography career?
My career stems from fangirl roots – and I couldn’t be prouder of that fact. In 2011, I was a young punter on the barrier for The Wombats at Festival Hall. I watched all of the photographers enter the pit for three songs, do their thing and leave again. After the show, I searched up every gallery and decided that if they could be that close, I could too. I bought my first camera (Canon 600D) a few months later and started shooting every gig I could (however there weren’t too many in country Victoria).
Casual Band Blogger is a great website that’s really built up speed recently! What made you decide to start the blog?
Originally, CBB was a place I shared my own personal work – kind of like a portfolio blog. In 2013, I decided to take it that bit further and create a platform where many young people could come together and share their passion. I started the site with a particular idea in mind – to provide a space where young people could develop as writers and photographers, and the opportunities to do so.
Being able to cover shows for my own site make my heart swell with pride.
What are your top 5 favourite photos you’ve taken of musicians?
I took this in my first year of shooting major Melbourne shows. I felt like capturing that divide between the stage and the crowd – with all of us photographers in the middle, really showed who far I’d come.
Northeast Party House
I went to a lot of effort to get this shot (muscling through crowds, getting up to the second level of The HiFi) so I was pretty pleased when I nailed it. The band shared it a heap of times, then Zach – the lead singer came into my work a few weeks later and we had a chat about it.
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard
I swiped my friends’ spare ticket to this show and snuck my camera in. I remember it being so hard to shoot – packed crowd, low light and projections. I managed to snap this shot at some point. It was featured in the 2014 Air Awards Exhibition (I squealed a lil’ bit when I saw it on the walls).
Due to flight delays, FlyLo didn’t make it on stage until 2am. The show was 100% worth the wait, though – the visuals were next level.
Taken at the 2014 AIR awards in Melbourne, somehow Peking Duk made it on stage while Violent Soho were accepting an award. It was the start of a beautiful friendship.
What was your favourite artist/music event you’ve photographed?
It’s a tie between Laneway Festival in 2015 or my first BIGSOUND in 2013. Both of them were such unique experiences. I remember running around at BIGSOUND, trying to catch as many acts as possible and being completely overwhelmed, but intoxicated by the amount of activity and inspiration around me. Laneway this year was my first – and it was incredible. An amazing location coupled with brilliant acts and interesting people. Good vibes.
What would you say your photography style is?
I see my work as a hybrid style. I’ve always tended to favour clear, sharp and colourful images, but have an interest in crushed blacks and muted tones. I’ve never been able to make up my mind – so my work sits in that middle ground between the two. In terms of composition, I’ve realised over the years I’m a big fan of wide shots and lots of space.
What band/musician would you love to photograph?
Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino. Both of them have such a unique stage presence – I just want to capture them in their element.
Do you have a photography bucket list?
They’re two acts I’ve missed out on a few times now – so they’re at the top of the list. Muse and Foals – I’m counting down the days until I get the chance to shoot them. At the start of 2014 I managed to cross The Wombats off my list, then I recently shot them for a second time this year. That was pretty special.
Aside from the gigs you have to shoot, what is your own personal music taste?
Throughout my teenage years I was all about a subgenre I like to describe to people as ‘mid-noughties British alternative’ – bands like The Wombats, Arctic Monkeys, Muse etc I loved then and still do. These days, however, I find myself gravitating more towards hip hop, RnB, nu-soul and experimental electronic. That said, I will literally listen and appreciate anything and everything.
What would be your one piece of advice to a budding photographer?
Talk to others. Find out when they’re doing and how they do it. Learn from them. Back when I was starting out, I emailed countless photographers who worked in music, events and fashion. I asked for advice, I talked to them about what they did and what equipment they had. Then I put it all together and forged my own path. The support and advice from others is invaluable – and music photography is so much more fun when you’re surrounded by pals in the pit.
To see more of Rochelle’s work, visit her website here:
Speaker TV Present: Citizens of the Streets
Thursday 24th September
Shadow Electric Bandroom
Performing: Gena Rose Bruce, Edward R, Demi Louise & Sinead Beth
Exhibiting: Mikki Gomez, Rochelle Flack and Ali Edmonds
Doors 7PM / Pre-sale: $10
Tickets on sale now