Interview by Gabbie Lynch and Emily Fuller
Small, but mighty. That’s how we would describe Gabrielle Clement, a live music photographer from Newcastle, Australia. Usually she’s found behind the camera lens, capturing musicians as they whiz across the stage, but we thought we’d turn things around and shine the spotlight on this groovy photographer. Newy gal born and bred, Gab or @gxbriellemxry as she’s known on Instagram, had a lot to say about her work in the music industry; from her early photography ventures, through to some horror stories as well as the awesome people she’s made friends with along the way (AKA Mallrat!). We were pretty stoked to chat with this 5ft tall powerhouse and can’t wait to see where she heads in 2018!
Tell us a bit about yourself & how you got into live music photography? It was really random; I wasn’t actually aware that it was a thing you could do. I’ve always loved photography and had an interest in it so I used to take my camera into gigs where you were allowed to bring DSLR cameras. I was lucky to have a friend who runs a music blog and he asked me to shoot a gig for him. From that I joined another publication and it all just kind of cultivated from there!
When do you feel most creative? At music festivals I think. Music festivals have such an array of acts, different styles of lighting and so many types of people around which is a lot of fun to shoot. Another time is when I’m editing a series of shots that I really like! It’s a great opportunity to play around with everything.
And are you heavily influenced by the audience or the crowd? Yeah for sure. I guess a place like the Cambridge Hotel (in Newcastle) has a different vibe to a music festival in Sydney. One time I had a bad experience at The Cambridge getting my photographer’s pass and then because of that, I wasn’t keen to shoot the show. So that really destroyed my vibe and I didn’t really like the photos from that particular gig either. But on the other hand, if it’s a really vibrant crowd with good energy I’ll shoot a lot of crowd shots as well as shots of the artist and that’s great fun.
Do you have a favourite artist or band that you’ve had the opportunity to photograph? I really enjoyed shooting Niall Horan at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney. I’ve always loved him! Khalid was great fun too! I just shot at Field Day Festival and worked with E^ST which was fantastic.
What about on the flip side… Any bad experiences or horror stories? I’ve been pretty lucky I think. Generally, everybody is really nice. There’s a couple of artists who have posted my pictures and not credited me and I’ve had to hit them up about that but usually they are pretty understanding and they’ll give me the credit. Security guys are generally the most difficult people to deal with I’ve found. Some can just be really frustrating with letting us into the pit even when we have our passes – that is just super annoying. There was one incident that didn’t directly involve me but I know Danny Brown posted a photo and he didn’t credit the photographer so they messaged him and asked him for credit. He refused to give them credit and then he told them he would take the photo down if they got angry over it. The photographer just replied and said I just want credit for the photo I took and he replied and said well I didn’t ask you to take my photo despite the fact that he had approved the photographer to shoot the show, and so he eventually took the photo down. I decided then that Danny Brown was off my list of artists I wanted to shoot!
Do you find it particularly hard being a woman in the live music photography industry? I’ve been pretty lucky in that regard. It’s been a pretty easy ride for me and I’ve never been discriminated against, or never noticeably discriminated against because of my gender. I think I’ve also made good choices in surrounding myself with the right people. Although after reading other experiences, especially from musicians like Camp Cope and even after the Golden Globes, its clear there is a lot gendered discrimination happening within the music, film and entertainment industry. I’m lucky the live music photography industry has always been supportive. Occasionally, and I find this particularly with live music photographers in Newcastle, the guys often stand right in front of me and seem to take up more space. I don’t know if that’s because the venues here have a smaller pit but sometimes I feel like I’m shoved to the side because of my size – I mean, I’m only 5ft!
We’ve heard you’ve become quite good mates with Mallrat through your photography. How did that happen? Well I always loved her music to begin with and really loved her track “Suicide Blonde”, and so I tweeted her about it and she followed me back. We became friends through Twitter and then her first ever gig was opening for Allday at Newcastle Uni’s Bar on the Hill and I was shooting it and was able to catch up with her there. Since then, I’ve photographed her eight times and so yeah we’ve just become good friends from being at all the same shows! She is just the loveliest girl ever!
Are there any other relationships you’ve built up with artists through your photography? I became friends with E^ST and told her I would be her artist photographer at Field Day Festival in Sydney. Paces is also a beautiful guy – I’d even say he’s the nicest guy in the music industry. It’s a pretty cool job, you get to met some amazing people. Some artists will become friends with you because they love your photography which is really cool.
Find Gab’s work on Instagram @gxbriellemxry or follow her on Twitter @gxbriellemxry