We’ve all taken that one photo at a gig that becomes the crowning glory of our phones backdrop, the image that showcases to our friends our talent and prowess of the one-click wonder.
However, some young Aussies have made this pastime their life, priding themselves on providing some of the best gig photography in the country. Teresa Pham, a budding photographer from Sydney has photographed some of the best names, from Kimbra, to Courtney Barnett, and sat down with us to talk about her inspirations, favourite gig photos, and her first ever camera.
What is it that you enjoy most about photographing a gig/festival?
When it comes to photographing gigs and festivals, it’s usually about challenging myself with what is in front of me. I can’t say that I’ve taken photos at a lot of festivals but for most of the gigs that I shoot, there’s usually a conditional ‘3 songs no flash’ rule that we have to abide by. This puts a bit of pressure on trying to get ‘The Shot’ which I absolutely thrive on.
How was it photographing at places such as the Oxford Art Factory?
The Oxford Art Factory is actually one of my favourite places to shoot. It’s quite smaller in comparison to the Metro Theatre and the Enmore Theatre, but I love the fact that you kind of have to work from the crowd instead of from the pit in front of a barrier. For those that know me, I’m quite small/short so this is just another challenge that I have to work with, which makes it all the more interesting.
What made you want to become a photographer?
I probably couldn’t narrow down a specific point in my life where it was clear to me that I wanted to become a photographer. There have been so many contributing factors that have arisen along the way that has led me to where I am now. As with many others I’m sure, my initial interest began with travel photography – as a person that is quite sentimental, I loved the idea of documenting all the places that I had visited and noting down things that I had learnt, uncovered and explored. Over time, as I became fairly involved in the media and music industries, I became drawn to the idea of combining the two – and viola! – that’s pretty much how I got to where I am today.
What was your favourite gig that you photographed in 2014?
2014 was quite a significant year for me. There was quite a change in the way that I approached shooting shows and I think my favourite one out of them all was Sky Ferreira’s Splendour sideshow in July. It was an all-ages gig at the Metro Theatre and I found it quite fascinating watching both Sky on stage as well as, what felt like, a mass wave of adoration from her predominantly teenage audience; it was overwhelming.
What was your first camera you ever purchased?
The first camera that I ever purchased myself was an entry level Sony Alpha 300 packed with the kit lens that usually comes with it. It was the first DSLR that I had ever used so I was keen to test the waters on something that wouldn’t cripple me financially.
What would you say your photography style is?
I honestly couldn’t tell you what my ‘style’ is. I still consider myself to be a rookie when it comes to photography so if I had to try and explain what it currently is, i’m leaning towards describing it as portraits with a heavy emphasis on finding the balance between shadows and light. My favourite shot to take during a live show usually involves a silhouette of one of the band members – there’s just something so captivating about it.
What band/musician would you love to photograph?
This actually changes every day – at the moment, it’s FKA Twigs, BANKS and Warpaint.
Do you have a photography bucket list?
I do – I have two lists; one for local bands/artists and one for international bands/artists.
I also have a list of venues I’d be keen to check out if I ever got the chance.
Aside from the gigs you have to shoot, what is your own personal music taste?
If I had to describe my own personal music taste in one word, it would probably be ‘eclectic’. I’ll listen to anything and everything – which can range from alternative rock to indie folk to atmospheric/ambient sounds. I enjoy them all.
What do you love most about photographing musicians?
There’s just something wonderful about watching a musician in their element. To be able to capture that in a photo and be able to see that expressed through an image to make you, the spectator, feel like you were actually there is truly phenomenal.
What are your top 5 favourite photos you’ve taken of musicians?
As I take more and more photos each year – this changes all the time. My favourite photos from 2014 were:
Sky Ferreira at the Metro Theatre
Courtney Barnett at the Oxford Art Factory
Kina Grannis at the City Recital Hall
Kimbra at the Metro Theatre
Young Magic at the Oxford Art Factory
What would be your one piece of advice to a budding photographer?
I think when it comes to photography, the best piece of advice that I would give is to be patient and experiment with whatever it is that you are trying to do. It’s the best way to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t and will allow you to figure out what makes your photos unique.