Glasgow based photographer Stacey Auld is not only talented but super sweet, she was more than happy to offer me invaluable tips on which camera I should buy and how to set it up for photographing bands myself. She’s photographed some top bands and we got to chat to her.
First things first, tell us a little bit about yourself, how did you get started as a photographer? How long have you been doing it?
Well, I am 26 and been photographing since I was 19. I’m based in Glasgow and was bored one day and wanted a way to promote my favourite bands so I started a Myspace account under Music Box Unwinds in 2007. It was originally meant to just be a promotions thing, but a photographer I know saw some photos I had taken with a disposable and a little point and shoot Kodak and told me to invest in a camera. Then it’s just kind of snowballed from there.
What was your first camera / photo you took?
My first DSLR was a Olympus e410 that my parents bought me for my 19th birthday and the first gig I covered with it was Finch in King Tuts Wah Wah Hut. I was fangirling everywhere because they were my favourite band and I was allowed to shoot the whole show with flash, which never happens.
How would you describe your photography style to someone who hasn’t seen your work?
My photography is Live Music Photography, I’ve started kind of branching out but that’s where my heart lies. I like to keep my photos quite natural or convert to black and white because I think it adds a bit of emotion to the whole feel of the show. I like to think my photos give a good representation of the band.
What have been your highest highs and lowest lows whilst working as a photographer?
Highest points were being told I had been put on Red Hot Chili Peppers own preferred photographers list for their show in Sunderland, couldn’t see the photo release form for my eyes watering. Photographing Fleetwood Mac was a massive thing because they’re my childhood heroes.
Lowest points, I’ve thankfully not really had many. I’ve had to miss a few of my favourites due to health and travel but I’ve been pretty lucky with the other photographers and security I’ve shared a pit with. One security guard grabbed my camera and shoved it to the point one of my filter’s cracked. Some lows are seeing nasty comments about some photographs, that can knock your happiness a bit but you can’t please everyone. There will always be someone who thinks they can do better but won’t get off their backside to do it.
Are there any particular social issues you like to address, explore, or challenge in your work? Why?
I haven’t really delved into that side of photography yet. I’ve always found it interesting photographing the crowd though and then looking back on it and seeing so many different people. They’re all into the one thing obviously since they’re all there but they are all very individual and you’d never really think they’d have anything in common.
How do you think photography affects our mental health? Can it heal?
I’ve suffered from anxiety, depression and agoraphobia since I was around 12 years old and it has held me back many times but at the same time it has changed me on so many levels. I’ve definitely gained a lot of confidence since starting out and it’s forced me to push myself and do things or speak to people I normally would never be able to. From other photographers I’ve met, some have been really shy but they’re so enthusiastic about their photography and I think it can push people in the right way and definitely help combat mental health to some effect.
Do you think women in the photography industry are treated any differently to guys? How are they viewed? Has this changed / is this changing?
It’s not so bad now but there’s a bit of difference, even looking around you in the photo pit and seeing how many females are with you, it’s mainly men that you’re surrounded by. Only a couple of the more professional male photographers that I’ve come across have tried to explain rules and would speak slowly to me as if I’m too dumb to take it in, yet I’ve been doing it for 7 years and they don’t say anything to the men.
Do you feel any particular pressures as a female photographer?
I think everyone is capable of taking a good photograph. When you’re in a photo pit for a heavy band you do feel like you have to show you can hold yourself and take all the knocks that are given. I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy and all my friends are guys so sometimes I forget that others might treat me differently but thankfully everyone has been pretty respectable and given me a chance to prove myself.
Who are your hero’s / influences?
Going to be completely typical and say Annie Leibovitz, she started out as a music photographer and earned her stripes in the photo pit but she takes some of the most beautiful portraits which I would love to branch out to. I also really admire the likes of Tom Barnes, Danny North, Danny Payne, Todd Owyoung, all incredible music photographers.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I always say I’m quitting after a particular gig but I would love to be doing a lot of portraits and getting into the promotional side of photography. I started college as a mature student last year, so hopefully in five years I might have my diploma and everything and my own little business, that would be pretty awesome.