10 Questions with Nathan Roach

Tell us about yourself 

My name is Nathan Roach and I’m a South Wales-based freelance photographer. I’ve studied/practiced photography for over seven years now and have taken on many various roles including currently acting as house photographer for Cardiff’s Tramshed music venue and Swansea’s Sin City music venue.

Where did your journey with gig photography start?

It propely began when returning from America in 2014 after three months of travelling. I was at a loose end with no real know-how on how to fire up the photography role (even after years of education in the subject) and also stuck working a dead end job that gave me no sense of achievement (generating the idea of leaving the country to try and grasp what I really wanted in the first place).

Soon after, I was recommended by a friend to start writing live music reviews for Subba.Cultcha.com, quickly learning that I could apply for photopasses through the website. I began reaching out and gaining clients after a year or so of building a portfolio in the field which eventually led to the progress I’ve made thus far.

In a world of ever changing technology, do you think it is important that gig photographers still shoot gigs? 

I’ve been asked this question a few times and still find it difficult to answer because no advancement in technology can ever re-create the same sense of instinct or style that comes with having an experienced practitioner behind the lens. A camera is still a tool and a tool without a weilder is as pointless as a stove without a chef or a canvas without a painter.

What do you get asked most as a photographer?

I’ve actually been asked multiple times recently on how I started out and how to start photographing gigs. Its great to see so many people interested in the concept and I always find it really flattering that people come to me when there are so many others they could have asked. I’m also asked if I have guestlist privileges alot which leads to a dissapointing conclusion.

What photographer/s do you look up to?
Off the top of my head I would say Edward Weston, Gregory Crewdson, Jeff Wall, Don McCullin, Steve McCurry and Man Ray.

What would be your dream gig and why?

My dream gig actually already happened but I was painfully unable to attend. Desert Trip Festival’s entire 2016 line-up was nothing but bucket list bands/individuals as I grew up with my fathers 1960’s musical influences. I also recently returned from Italy however, where I may need to return to after discovering Lucca Summer Festival’s current line-up.

What is your hope for the future?

In general or my future? In my own future, I hope to regularly photograph pieces for Rolling Stone magazine. Realistically however, I would for the time being love to get alot more touring under my belt as its a concept I’m fairly new to but enjoy to no end.

In general, I hope that Laurence Fishburne knocks on my door one day soon and hands me a blue pill so I can go back to a world where Trump isn’t president, brexit never happened and Leonard Cohen is still alive.

What is the worst advice you have ever been given?

When asking for advice from photographer colleagues in the past in regards to how to improve etc, I’ve met one term more often than nought that means nothing to me. ‘Hustle’ is without a doubt the single most useless piece of ‘advice’ someone can offer you. Yes, it is fair to be reminded that you need to work hard and network in this industry but surely that is a bit of a no brainer.

What do you enjoy about gig photography?

Not many environments offer the same atmosphere as a live music performance. The unpredictability of the show tone is so interesting to observe because every show (even when touring with a group) is never the same and never can be. Photographing with so much going on and so much electricity makes that sense of achievement so much greater when you catch that one decisive moment that passes in the snap of a shutter.

You’re a new addition to a crayon box, what colour would you be?

I actually had to google how many colours you can get in crayons for this question and I’m more surprised that there are 24. Teal is a seriously underrated colour so I’d probably go with that.

Please find attached images and my social media links are:

FB: www.facebook.com/CoalPoetPhotography
t: @NathanRoach01
IG: coal_poet_photography

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