Photo Mojo: Jacinta Mathews.
Jacinta Mathews has managed to merge her love of live music with her love for photography, having spent the last few years moonlighting as a music photographer.
Having been generally ‘artsy’ at school, photography prevailed for Jacinta. “I spent a couple of years learning the basics of the craft. Looking back, the work I did back then was very ordinary, and I’ve learnt much more in the time since by just going out, shooting, and assessing my mistakes but, it was a good base of knowledge to build on.”
As she was attending a lot of gigs, music photography was a natural path to take. “I just enjoyed documenting the gigs. It was always far more satisfying having a photo of one of my favourite bands on my wall when I knew I’d taken it. I guess it’s also a form of photography that suits my personality the best.”
She continues: “I’m a very laid-back sort of person, and I like the passive nature of event photography. You’re there to document, not influence. It all happens in front of you, and you just have to know the right time to push the button.”
First and foremost, Jacinta is a music fan. “I still essentially take photos in that mindset, so it’s nice to have fans of the bands I shoot say they enjoy my images, ’cause it means I’ve done what I set out to do.”
Jacinta does both promotional and live shots for Perth bands as well as live shots of touring acts for Drum Media.
Having photographed countless local bands, for Jacinta, two bands stand out as favourites – Gyroscope and Streetlight.
“They both recognise photographers as creative peers, and not just as an ego-stroke or alternately, a papparazzi-esque intrusion. The photographer and the band are jointly responsible for how the final images turn out, so having bands who actually make an effort is brilliant! They’re also all fantastic people away from the stage,” she says.
Jacinta established her own business last year. “The whole experience hasn’t been too bad, I count this as more a hobby, not a job, so I don’t take it overly seriously. The biggest business lessons I’ve had to learn are a) don’t sell myself short and b) don’t be afraid of saying No. There are a lot of people out there willing to take photos for little or no money, so it’s tough, and you’re often tempted to lower your prices to compete, but at the end of the day you get what you pay for.”
She continues: “It’s not exactly a financially viable industry, but no one who does music photography long term is in it for the money.”
Jacinta says it took her about two years of solid shooting until she was confident that she could turn up and shoot at any venue with any band. “The only five points that anyone needs to know are: Practice, practice, practice, practice and, practice. You don’t need the best gear, you don’t need arena lighting, but you do need practice. If you can handle crappy venues when you’re starting out, you then have the skills to shoot anything anywhere anytime later on… It’s not a quick nor easy road, but it’s the love of the craft that keep people going.”