A legion of Australian youths have been following Aleksander Jason Kostadinoski’s career for a while now, with the Melbourne-based photographer having extracted a large fan base over the years from shooting events ranging from CANT SAY club nights to catch ups with Client Liaison. Having now completed work for VICE, Acclaim Magazine and Mushroom Music just to name a few, Kostadinoski, aka adamNOTeve, has come a long way from the days of being intimidated at gigs by the bigger and better cameras that were being held by the other photographers.
I caught up with Aleksander to ask him couple of questions, uncovering why Johann Ponniah from I OH YOU is his most inspirational figure, what really drew him to the music scene and why Yannis from Foals flicked him the bird.
When did you develop a passion for music?
It would have to be working around individuals such as Johann Ponniah of I OH YOU back in early 2010. I have always been a huge fan of music, but not to the level that I am today. Collecting, blogging and almost attending 1 to 5 gigs a month.
What was the first type of camera you ever bought?
I never had the money to splash around as a student, my first DSLR would have to be the very small but lifesaving Canon 1000D — shipping it from Japan to save a good $200.
At the start of your career, did you approach the artists yourself?
I immediately threw myself into the deep end, from live music to portraits. I thrive off pressure.
What are some of the hardships faced when getting started in music photography?
Payment would have to be number 1, but gear as well. I’ve been in that moment. Standing next to someone with a shiny new Canon 5D or 1D while you sit next to them on your 1000D with a 18-55mm!!! As time went by, I got over that and made sure that I never doubt myself. In the end, it’s your eye and how you see the world.
Really… how hard is it to get paid work as a gig photographer?
Its the poor feeding the poor, don’t expect to charge artists.
You must meet some pretty cool people on your shoots. Who has been the most inspiring/interesting?
I’ve worked with a collection of people. It’s hard to choose who or when, but I still would have to agree that Johann of I OH YOU is an inspiration. To succeed in life, you need to work hard. To work hard, you need to set goals. And that’s why I see the man as an inspiration!
Out of all your locations where you shoot artists, what has been the most interesting?
I scout locations at least 5 to 10 times a month, mostly during the weekends with my partner Chantelle. The most interesting location that I have used for an artist press shoot would have to be Kyneton Swimming Pool with Melbourne band SKYWAYS ARE HIGHWAYS. [It’s a] country town swimming pool that has been abandoned for about 10 years.
You have worked for publications such as Acclaim and VICE. Did you ever see yourself getting this far when you started?
I always set goals, and both of these were on there. VICE has been surreal, although when I got offered the photog duties job in 2012/13 I was hoping I’d be sent to a war zone!
Apart from these two awesome publications, I’ve had the privledge of working for labels/managments/companies and many more. Clients such as YAMAHA ASIA, The Department of Health, Mushroom Music & others that I can not remember at 10:30pm.
I also got flown to Spain by Heineken in 2014 to cover the pre, during and post events of the UEFA Champions League.
It says on your website that you’re a pretty awkward dude. What has been the most awkward experience in your career?
I’m basically one of those guys who will end up being the “awkward dad”….
Awkward experience during a job would have to be when Yannis of Foals kindly asked me to get the “FUCK” out of the photo pit just after they finished ‘Hummer’.
Who are some of your photography idols and what makes them so special to you?
I have always admired Arthur Fellig aka Weegee — I have based myself around the music scene for a while. But I am and will always be motivated to documenting life events. And Weegee would have to be the one.
Why is he special? because he made his own style.
Lovers in theater, 1943-45, by Weegee
I hear you like to photograph ice… What’s the story behind this?
Haha not ice itself, but I did work on a large scale drug campaign for The Department of Health in 2014 alongside my new buddies Lifelong Agency. Ice is a terrible drug and it ruins many lives, so putting together their state wide social ad’s with graphic designer Nick Phillipswould have to be a highlight of 2014.
And finally, what are your top favorite (of your own) shots?
Check out more of Aleksandar’s beautiful work here: