Penny Lane: Music Photography

Musical Lens: Penny Lane.

Over the past few years, local photographer Penny Lane has carved a niche in music photography. With a solid background in fashion photography, Penny fell into music photography just over two years ago and since then has shot with the likes of Karnivool, Eskimo Joe, Blanche Dubois, Boys Boys Boys, Downsyde, Sugar Army and The Devil Rides Out.

Penny studied photography as her elective units while at university where she originally majored in Fine Arts before transferring to Fashion Design.

“I picked up photography units and thought ‘Oh well you know this is fun’ and I would take photos of the clothes I would make and I thought ‘This is far more fun than slaving over a sewing machine’ so I did a double major in photography and I’ve never really looked back. I thought that I would keep going with that because I enjoyed it a lot more,” she explains.

Having studied with friends who went on to establish their own labels Penny started talking photos of their collections and at one point worked out of the collective arts space The Ballroom.

“Luckily Perth is such a small community [and] if you’re willing to work your ass off and work for nothing you can get the work in Perth that maybe overseas you would have to be an assistant for years and years but, here lots of photographers leave and so its leaves a void that needs to be filled.”

Despite being a massive music fan, it never occurred to Penny to do music photography. After landing a shoot with local duo Blanch DuBois – through a friend who was the hairdresser for one of the girls – the world of music photography quickly opened up. Soon after she started doing shoots for Drum Media and over the past few years her work has regularly featured on the cover of the magazine.

Penny says: “I’m doing a lot more of it now but I still feel like I’m just breaking into the industry… I don’t know everyone in music in Perth and I’m still figuring out how it all works.”

Penny says her background in fashion photography has allowed her to bring a unique perspective to her work with musicians.

“I tend to get a bit carried away with concepts all the time and I tend a bit with concepts all the time and I tend to make things look a bit other-worldly,” she explains.

Having worked with an eclectic mix of artists in shoots ranging from WAMi covers for Drum Media, to studio shoots and on-location work, Penny says one of her favourite acts to work with has been Karnivool.

“It was actually hilarious working with Karnivool. They’re obviously a hard rock band and they’re being serious and do these intense songs but, most of the time they were taking the piss out of each other and laughing… They were just joking constantly.”

Two of Penny’s most recent shoots has been with the guys from Sugar Army. The first shoot featured a plethora of cakes and sweets (which Penny baked herself) and the next a sea of rubber gloves.

“We’d done this big elaborate shoot with all these cakes… [Then] for the next one I remember looking at some of their shots from their live shows and I’d noticed they’d done rubber gloves behind them on stage and I knew their new film clip (Tongues in Cheeks) had all these hands going everywhere, so I decided to take the rubber glove idea and create a sea of hands.”

While she still feels as though she is breaking into music photography, Penny says its important for people wanting to get a started to find their own style and be confident in their own work.

“Coming from fashion I look at things in a slightly different way and it’s not any better or any worse than anyone else, it’s just different. Find your own unique approach and be confident with it. And be willing to do lots of work experience, work for free or cheap work to build your portfolio.”

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Copyright (C) 2008-2009 Christina Ballico.

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