You may already know Melbourne photographer Dan Söderström by his alias Söderstream. After initially pursuing photography as a hobby in his spare time and when traveling, the 27-year-old freelancer began to shoot for music blog The Ripe in early 2013 and hasn’t looked back since. Since then, he’s become a regular contributor for Spook Magazine, photographing some of the world’s biggest bands both on the stage and behind the scenes. Of course, he’s also a regular contributor here at Speaker TV; something we’re all pretty proud of!
His folio contains videography, weddings and local and international musicians. We spoke to Dan from across the globe as he currently follows his dream to capture the Northern Lights — a feat that’s landed him in Finland at the moment. With us he discusses the ups and downs of the profession, Mac DeMarco’s fan boys and what it’s like to be shooting Vance Joy in Europe, adding in some of his favourite shots from over the years, too.
Your photos capture the rawness of gigs: spit, awkward guitar faces and all. What has been the most interesting experience to witness at a gig?
I photographed Mac DeMarco’s show at the Corner Hotel late last year. He was in town for Meredith. I’d heard a bit of his album 2 and really liked a few of the tracks from it but had no idea how obsessed some of his fans were. He is like this cult figure. At the show, girls were lifting up the curtain saying to each other things like “oh my God I just saw Mac” and jostling one another to get as close to the stage as possible. There were these two dudes up the front smack bang in the middle who were fanboying hard over him the whole show. I’d heard that he likes to do crazy stuff on stage like getting very drunk and naked. He didn’t get naked but he just constantly kept ripping open beers with his teeth and slamming them down. Towards the end of the show he points to the two guys up the front, signals for them to open their mouths, takes a swig of his beer and one by one spits it down their throats.
What was the first ever camera you bought?
The first SLR I bought was a Canon 1000D from a mate. I was keen to buy an entry level SLR to take overseas with me and get the hang of using. For a cheap camera it did a good job outdoors and was definitely a good way to learn some basics.
What is the story behind Major Lazer’s ‘Zorb’ Ball?
I shot Major Lazer at Melbourne’s Palace Theatre early this year. I was a bit sceptical as I am anytime I photograph DJs. They’re often working away on the decks and don’t move around a whole lot or get too close to the crowd. Major Lazer’s show was like a huge party. They had dancers, confetti canons, massive flags and after about ten minutes Diplo climbed inside a zorb ball and walked on top of the crowd. It was a pretty funny show. I’ve never had so many people pouting at me and every second dude had a whistle around his neck.
Do you prefer shooting outside or inside and why?
Good question. I think they both have their pro’s and con’s. I like my photos sharp and fast. During the day you can get some fast exposure happening and get some nice shots. When light is scarce indoors it’s tough and it limits your ability to see everything and create a clear photo. That said, I love playing around with light and smoke and these have a much greater effect when indoors. I’d say indoors is my favourite.
Out of all artists in the world (dead or alive) which would you follow with a camera for one day?
The Beatles on tour at the peak of Beatlemania.
Who has been the most inspirational artist/photographer’s work for you?
I’m constantly looking at other photographer’s work and drawing inspiration from them. I love Jarrad Seng’s work and aspire to do what he does, covering a bunch of photo genres really well. He’s a pretty big name so I’m going to chuck another in there: Brisbane photographer Aimee Catt. She does live music, portraits, weddings, landscapes, travel and every other thing you could photograph. She can point her camera at anything and draw feeling from it.
How do you make your clients/artists get comfortable in front of the camera?
I remember being so bad at this early on. I was doing some portraits with a UK artist and I asked him some of the most cringe-worthy questions including asking him if he had “any good jokes”. So embarrassing looking back. I guess to make a subject comfortable I like to chat to them for a while, find some common ground so they think I’m okay. I’ll tell them that I’ll take a bunch of shots and that some things may feel strange or not exactly in line with what they’re after but could surprise them. Usually the best shots are always later in the shoot when both of you are far more settled.
So you’re in Europe right now Dan, What has been the biggest highlight so far and why? What projects will the trip bring,
What’s happening next…?
I’m currently living and studying in Northern Europe til the end of 2014. There are some great opportunities here to photograph the Northern Lights which has been a long time ambition for me. So far I’ve managed to see them a few times and get some cool shots. I just spent the past few days traveling around Germany with Vance Joy. I’m shooting Pitchfork Festival Paris later this month and will be shooting a couple of shows with Chet Faker in Poland in November. I’m planning on doing a lot more portrait work when I get back to Melbourne in Jan.
So the saying goes: ‘shoot what you love, not what you want people to see’. What was the first series of photos you shot?
The first ever series of photos I shot was at the AIR Awards for SYN Radio. I had no idea what I was doing but it was fun and it meant I had something to show websites when asking if I could become a contributor.
… And finally, what are some of your (own) personal favorite shots?
Phoenix at Festival Hall
Lorde at the Corner Hotel
Darkside at the Palace
Art Vs Science
To check out more of Dan’s work go to: