Tatjana Hamilton is showing the Brisbane music scene through a new lens.
Tatjana Hamilton is eager to see where music takes her. With a background in videography and photography, Hamilton was drawn to the industry by a love for music and the people that support it. We caught up with the Brisbane local to talk through music festivals, backstage and shooting her mates eighteenths to get her start.
1. Tell us a bit about how you got into photography and then specifically music photography.
I’ve been doing photography as a hobby since I was a little girl. My dad is a photographer and he really inspired me to continue with it professionally. He has a very exciting career and no day is exactly the same. He was an award winning photojournalist for about 25 years and he taught me a lot about how to make any subject interesting. I grew up with his pictures around the house and seeing them everyday taught me about composition, subject and the technicalities of a photograph.
I got into music photography because I love music and I love photography. I went to my first music festival in 2015 (Falls). I loved the atmosphere and vibe so much that I decided then and there that I wanted to pursue music photography. I shot my first gig a week after the festival. So many people in the industry have helped me get to where I am today – so many artist managers and PR people were happy for me to come along and allow me to shoot for an artist.
2. There’s been some discussion around women in photography and the inclusion of female photographers in the industry… is this something you have found to be relevant to you?
I don’t think being a woman has disadvantaged me so far, but it is a very male dominated industry. I have heard horror stories of other female photographers in the industry and I just hope that I don’t experience it like they have. The industry is changing and more women are finding a career path within the music industry. I look forward to when jobs are based off merit rather than gender. Everyone gets knock backs and criticism but you have to be resilient and determined and continue to push through that.
3. What are 3 skills you see as vital to being a great music photographer?
a) Know how to shoot in low light. This is something I struggled with when I was starting out and shooting at small clubs. But over time, I learned to adapt to each environment. Shoot on a fast lens (my 50mm f/1.8 is my go to for small club shows and that thing is damn cheap!!). If the lighting is bad, try and not get too hung up on it, if you shoot raw and on a fast lens, there is hope, but sometimes there’s nothing you can do.
b) Get a different angle. For me, this is going backstage and trying to get some cool photos there but if you have pit access, a good tip is to be where all the other photographers aren’t. This may sound strange, but so many times I’ve captured a great image because I’ve been somewhere in the pit that all the other photographers aren’t.
By stepping back and having a look at your surroundings, you can capture a different angle that other photographers might not have picked up on.
c) Never stop learning. Keep shooting and be critical about your work. If you critique your own work after every shoot, you will enter new shoots with a renewed enthusiasm.
4. Who’s work in the industry do you really admire?
I love Kathryn Farmer’s work. The colours of her photography really pop. I love that she also shoots on film as well! I also love Lady Drewniak’s work. Ever since we met at Bigsound last year, I’ve looked up to her work so much and she inspires me to keep shooting!
5. Favourite gig you’ve captured and why.
My favourite gig that I’ve captured so far has been The Big Pineapple Music Festival this year. I shot for Benson. I met so many cool musicians who’s music I admire a lot and getting to shoot for them was surreal!
To learn more about Tatjana head over to her profile.