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Art In Focus: A snapshot of some of Houston’s most talented female photographers
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In Focus: A snapshot of some of Houston’s most talented female photographers

Submitted by Commandrea on December 14, 2010 – 9:50 amNo Comment

by Brigitte Zabak

If you write about music, chances are you’ve also had to take a photo or two during a gig. I’ve found myself in countless photo pits over the years, and the anxiety of taking a decent photo never goes away. Concert photography, especially, is a beast. There are so many elements (lighting, movement, claustrophobic crowds when a photo pit isn’t available) working against a photographer looking for the just-right shot of a live band.

Lucky for us, Houston is home to a number of truly talented photographers.  And among the many, three in particular stand out. They are women with a real eye for telling a story through their lens, and we wanted you all to get a little more acquainted with them.

Trish Badger

Where to find her:

www.trishbadger.com

www.idareyoutodream.com

www.twitter.com/trishbadger

www.facebook.com/trishbadgerphotography

Trish Badger

FPH: What drew you to the medium of photography? More specifically, how did you get involved with concert/music photography?

TB: I’ve always loved taking photos and I’ve always been really passionate about music.  When I decided to finally let go of my fears and pursue photography I knew I wanted to focus on music and bring my two loves together.  There’s a lot more artistic freedom allowed with music photography, which makes even more appealing.

FPH: What are the most intense/fun/traumatic shoots you’ve experienced in the last few years? Is working a show in Houston different than shooting in other cities?

TB: One of the most fun shows I’ve shot was Coldplay.  I hadn’t been shooting big concerts for very long and I was in shock that I even had the opportunity.  It was so visually incredible. I remember music critic Craig Hlavaty saying, “It’s so pretty” about a hundred times.  The music was just as amazing… I mean, it’s COLDPLAY!

Also, getting to shoot John Mayer was literally a dream come true.  I’ve been a huge fan of his since 2002 and seen him live over 20 times, but never quite as close as the photo pit.  It was extremely exciting when his management team posted some of my photos on his website with photo credit and even a link to my site.

I’ve shot smaller shows in several other cities while in tour with The Alternate Routes and shooting each show just depends on the venue more than the city it’s in.  In larger venues (no matter what city), photographers usually have a 3 song limit (and no flash) and sometimes even shorter, depending on what the bands allow.  Most of the time photographers can shoot from the pit, but sometimes we have to shoot from the soundboard or somewhere else.  Again, that has more to do with the venue and band than the city.

FPH: With other aspects of the music industry (music journalism, playing certain genres of music, etc.) there seems to be a dearth of women.  Do you think gender plays a role in the photo pit as well?

TB: I know I don’t see many other women shooting concerts, but I’m not sure why that is.  When I decided I wanted to shoot concerts I didn’t know that I’d usually be the only woman in the photo pit, but that definitely wouldn’t have stopped me!  I also didn’t let my gender keep me from traveling several times with the five guys of The Alternate Routes, and I’m glad it didn’t stop them from asking me.  I love traveling with a van full of amazing musicians, female or male, and I hope to do more of it in the near future.

FPH: Dream shoot?

TB: My dream shoot would be to do a cover photo of one of my favorite musicians or bands for Rolling Stone Magazine. I really need to get serious about working towards that!  I’d also love to shoot all the major music festivals.

FPH: If someone offered you the camera of your dreams, with the condition that you must listen to Bright Eyes and only Bright Eyes for the rest of your life, which camera would you choose?

TB: The Canon 5D Mark II would be a great companion to my Canon 7D!

Veronica Ramos

Veronica Ramos

Where you can find her:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/veronicaramos

FPH: What drew you to the medium of photography? More specifically, how did you get involved with concert/music photography?

VR: The yearbook staff was looking for photographers, so I skipped math class one day and went to Houston Camera Exchange. I bought my first 35mm. A Nikon FG with a 17mm wide angle lens. I shot with that thing from ‘99-’05. Good times. It wasn’t until late ‘03 that I started shooting shows. I was, at the time, building a fashion photography portfolio, but wasn’t having as much fun shooting bitchy models. I ditched my photo shoot one night in DC to go push my way up on stage while the Stones were playing at the National Mall. That was the night that did it.

FPH: What are the most intense/fun/traumatic shoots you’ve experienced in the last few years? Is working a show in Houston different than shooting in other cities?

VR: I would say the most fun shoots I’ve worked are definitely Summerfest. I think it’s because of the mixture of having friends and booze while shooting. Both those things and music reign supreme in my life.

I feel like shooting in Houston is pretty chill. In other cities photographers get pretty aggressive and can be rude. Maybe it has to do with being southern? We aren’t assholes down here. I’ve learned not to take anything personal in the pit; everyone is working and focused on getting that shot.

FPH: With other aspects of the music industry (music journalism, playing certain genres of music, etc.) there seems to be a dearth of women. Do you think gender plays a role in the photo pit as well?

VR: Good question! Now, let me sleep on this and come back with something concise and un-feminist sounding.

FPH: Dream shoot?

VR: Oh geez, tough one. Tie between Iggy Pop and Tom Waits. Actually, both at the same time. Naked and lots of cigarettes.

FPH: If someone offered you the camera of your dreams, with the condition that you must listen to Bright Eyes and only Bright Eyes for the rest of your life, which camera would you choose?

VR: HECK YES! Hasselblad H4D-60. Yes, it’s a $30 thousand dollar camera! I would totally listen to Bright Eyes happily even though in reality I’d probably be really depressed after listening to him for a while, which in turn would probably lead to some sort of drug addiction and then lead me to sell the Hasselblad for drug money…

Iman Saqr

Where to find her:

http://www.undertheradarmag.com/

http://twitter.com/imansaqr

FPH: What drew you to the medium of photography? More specifically, how did you get involved with concert/music photography?

Iman Saqr

IS:  As a kid, I was always interested in perception and perspective and how people played with both to view their world. I wanted to understand how and why people saw differently than each other and began to experiment with photography and film. One year, my father gave my sister,

Sommer and me each a camera and I remember being so excited to see how each of us could capture the same thing differently. She has an amazing eye and her photography inspires me all the time. She is one of the reasons why I picked up my camera again and started shooting.

It was my love of cinema that threw me into my love of photography. I was fascinated with how filmmakers frame a shot, play with camera movement and alter camera angles to express emotion and intensify meaning. Whether that image is still or moving, it tells a story. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to tell stories with the photographs I took and hope that they resonate with the viewer.

I started out shooting concerts a few years ago, and fell in love with it. I love the energy between the band and the crowd and being able to capture that dance between the two is challenging. Concert photography is like shooting a conversation between the music, my lens and my eye.

FPH: What are the most intense/fun/traumatic shoots you’ve experienced in the last few years? Is working a show in Houston different than shooting in other cities?

IS: This fall in Los Angeles, I had the honor of shooting at The Hollywood Bowl for the first time. I didn’t know whether I was going to be shooting from the soundboard or the photo pit, and that uncertainty caused a bit of panic. All I knew was that there was a possibility of being 250 feet away from my subject during the show, thus causing me to experiment on different lenses. I ran around that city measuring out 250 feet, trying to figure out how far it really is. I even downloaded a measuring tape app on my iPhone (which wasn’t helpful) as I repeatedly walked through parking lots, across Sunset and around my sister’s home simply to find the ideal lens that would work in such a situation. Let’s just say measuring tape has found a new home in my camera bag. PHOENIX played a brilliant show at the Hollywood Bowl that night and I can’t wait to shoot at that beautiful hilly outdoor venue again.

FPH: With other aspects of the music industry (music journalism, playing certain genres of music, etc.) there seems to be a dearth of women. Do you think gender plays a role in the photo pit as well?

IS: Yes. It’s quite rare to see mostly women or even more than one woman in the photo pit, but you have to just focus on why you’re there and have fun with it. It really comes down to the images you produce. It’s not about what gender you are, the gear, the camera or the lens, it’s about composition and exposure of the photographs. It’s honestly about being nice and respectful of the band, the crowd, your fellow photographers and the crew.

I still get a bit nervous going through the crowd, when there isn’t a photo pit to shoot from, but sometimes you have to make your way through and say, “Excuse me, I need to get through. I’m only going to be standing here for a few minutes.” And then once you get through, you focus on your job. Most people are very cool about it.  I mean who wouldn’t want someone standing in front of them blocking their view and moving around for about 10 minutes?

FPH: Dream shoot?

IS: Dream shoots? On tour with PHOENIX. I get really excited at the thought of shooting on tour. There is so much to capture and I’d love to be there for the whole process.

Teaching the basics of photography and filmmaking to children living overseas.

Photographing my mom in the 60s and 70s.

The one thing I really hope to accomplish through my work is to inspire individuals, especially those who might not always have a voice, to share their stories by taking photographs and making movies. For us all, an image is a powerful tool for understanding.

FPH: If someone offered you the camera of your dreams, with the condition that you must listen to Bright Eyes and only Bright Eyes for the rest of your life, which camera would you choose?

IS: Am I allowed to answer this question with a question?!? So, Brigitte Zabak, what did Bright Eyes ever do to you? It’s not all about the camera. I mean yes, the camera is a very important tool, and Canon makes brilliant ones, but the real camera is your eye. Plus, listening to music of all genres is just one of the things that inspire a lot of the images I create, so I don’t think I could listen to one band or type of music for the rest of my life. If you happen to see me running through the crowd at a show (with frizzy hair and a camera in hand) and you let me get through or you have done so in the past, I’d like to take the time and say THANK YOU.

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