It’s great to look into the minds of all those great photographers out there, gauging an insight into how we all think different yet all create such great pieces of art. Here we look into the thoughts and experiences of Chloe Brehaut.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Chloe Brehaut and I’m a freelance student photographer based in Southampton. I first picked up a camera eight years ago and I’ve been studying it ever since. I’m currently working at legendary venue The Joiners as an in-house photographer, plus attending any other shows I can get into with my camera!
Where did your journey with gig photography start?
I started going to shows for fun in 2013, capturing the odd good photo using my phone camera. Later on that year, I had a completely free reign graphic design assignment at college. Music has been my passion for years, so I obviously chose a topic as linked to that as possible. Helpfully, a local band I’d seen a few times were touring in this period and agreed to let me photograph one of the shows. I used the photos from this gig and created a series of posters for the tour. Looking back, it was awful work but I’ve been attending and photographing as many shows as I can since then.
In a world of ever-changing technology, do you think it is important that gig photographers still shoot gigs?
Absolutely. I can’t think of a single reason why people shouldn’t continue photographing gigs. Photography is an escape, as is music. Gig photography is hugely important to me and I definitely don’t think people should stop doing it. There’s something amazing about capturing a moment to last forever and look back on and remember.
What photographer/s do you look up to?
Georgia Penny, Ginine Molineaux, Alex Thornber are friends whose work I look up to a lot – they keep pushing and inspiring me every day! Other music photographers who inspire my work are Ellie Mitchell, Thomas Brooker and Martyna Wisniewska. David Hockney, Annie Leibovitz and Francesca Woodman are also well-known favourites of mine.
What would be your dream gig and why?
To get the opportunity to photograph and tour with Paramore would be a dream come true. They’ve been my favourite band since 2008 and I love their music and aesthetic. I saw them on their recent tour and their lighting and stage presence was flawless. It’d be a challenge, what with how energetic Hayley can be, but most certainly would be worth it.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
“It’s best to try something and feel rubbish for a while than to have ‘what if’s’”
This was originally said to me as general life advice but recently I’ve started to apply it to my photography work, in particular, shooting gigs. I couldn’t even begin to count the hundreds of shows I’ve applied to photograph but been rejected for (or even just had no reply at all). Once I even got turned away at the door of a show despite being confirmed by the band’s PR – that felt really rubbish. If I gave up when I got rejected for shows, I wouldn’t be where I am now. There’s no harm in trying things – it takes ten minutes tops to write out an email and send it. if I don’t get the show, I don’t get it, and it’s time to move on to the next one.
What do you enjoy about gig photography?
The freedom and creativity. In the last couple of years, I’ve started to experiment more with my editing processes, the composition of the images themselves and using different mediums and formats. Experimenting with film in unconventional ways is currently my favourite thing, and I’m looking to push this further every time I shoot with film. As well as this, having the opportunity to experience new and upcoming bands and get to know them as people is really rewarding. So many of my friends now, I know through doing music photography.
If you could change one thing about the music industry what would it be?
Male dominance, without a doubt. It’s not something I can personally change, especially overnight, but as a female, I’m constantly being undermined because of my sex and how I look. I’ve had people come up to me at shows and ask whether I know how to use my camera properly before, as well as being branded a ‘groupie’ just because I’m female.
Tell us your opinion on shooting gigs for free
The vast majority of the shows I shoot are done for ‘free’ – I get my entry covered and that’s it. The topic of ‘shooting for free’ is a very grey area – music photographers are everywhere these days and bands are likely to choose someone who will work for free, especially when starting out. Personally, I think it’s okay to shoot shows for free, to an extent at least. Shooting for free gets you experience and could, later on, lead to paid jobs. When a band or artist is asking for you to shoot every single show they do for free, that’s when you need to take a step back and evaluate whether it’s actually worth it – are you getting to where you want to be by doing this?
What inspires you?
I take inspiration from pretty much anything and everything. I love fine art a lot, in particular, works by Vincent Van Gogh. I mostly just like bright colours and try to use colours in my work as much as I can. I also like poetry and creating art that’s inspired by the words on the page, capturing the aesthetic and meaning of the written work perfectly. That’s probably why I love shooting shows so much – it gives me the chance to truly express an artist’s feelings in a few images.
My social media/credit links are as follows: