Going Through Withdrawal

It’s been so long.
I’ve had the camera in my hands, and I’ve had wedding couples and adorable kids appear through the viewfinder.
I’ve had music in my ear and on in the studio, quite loud at times too, but it’s not the same.
I need a concert and I need it soon.

Weddings are fun. Exhausting, but fun.
The bride and groom, best man and maid of honour, family and friends… there’s so much to learn and my boss is a good mentor. Occasionally she feels more like a private gym instructor, considering all the heavy equipment I often have to hold and carry, but it comes with the territory. I don’t really mind it either.
I design ‘thank you’-cards for christenings and  weddings, and design wedding and family albums, and I design Christmas cards. I enjoy it, and learn from it, but it’s not the same.
I enjoy working at that studio, I enjoy working with my boss, I enjoy making the designs.
I enjoy seeing repeat costumers arrive with kid number 2 and 3, and seeing them grow.
But nothing compares to that feeling you get when you enter a venue to photograph a show.
Nothing compares to the feeling of seeing a not so known musician develop from just standing on the centre of the stage singing, to barely a year later totally owning the stage. To that feeling you get when you hear them sing the same song, but so much better than last time ‘cause they’ve practised and developed their voices. To that feeling of watching the fans wipe tears away as the songs bring old memories to the surface.
All the details…
How they always look at each other with pride, as if to say ’ we nailed it again’.
How she always fidgets with her ring when she talks about her husband or her father.
How he always forget the lyrics, and the fans correct him and laugh it off.
How she always sound like she has the biggest smile on her face when singing.
How he always laugh into the microphone in between songs.
How she always takes the time to meet the fans after the show for hugs, photos, autographs or sharing of stories.
The coloured lights.
The amazing sound of the instrument, the musicians  voices, the laugher of the audience.
The feeling of my camera firmly placed in my hands, as the live music enters my ears.
The chills and goose bumps I get from the amazing voices, the atmosphere, the instrumental solos.
The sense of pride when I look at my photographs and just know ‘That’s the one’.
The feeling of accomplishment when the musicians get to see their photos.
The feeling of wanting to stay up all night right after the concert, just to finish post production.
The feeling of finally uploading the photos.
The feeling of….. well, pretty much All Of It!

I miss it every day.
I feel like I’m going crazy every time I think of how long it’s been since my last show.
It’s time to ask the professionals for advice.

Hopefully I’ll get my act together and update here more often.
I have a few ideas and projects in mind, but it’ll take time.
For now you’ll have to make do with a photo from my last time in the studio with the lovely Axelle.
(it’s for a project that is nowhere related to music, and is inspired by photographer Ragne Sigmond)

Light painting, with my model Axelle.

Between then and now

“I did it! I actually did it!”
Those were the first words I wrote to my dissertation supervisor when I finished my dissertation. Right before the deadline I might add. Success; it’s such a great feeling, especially when you’ve been convinced that you wouldn’t be able to do it.

After graduation I went home, back to Norway, and had a long vacation. People kept asking me what I was going to do next, if I had applied for any jobs, if I had given the future any consideration at all, and every time they did, I kept telling them that I have a plan, but that I’m currently taking a well deserved summer break. And that was true. Or at least half true.
In truth I was terrified. I had a plan, but so far it was all in my head. That extra long summer break was my way of postponing everything due to the fear of failing.
What if I couldn’t do it? What if I had to work at the local grocery store, or at H&M for the foreseeable future? What if my enormous student loan was all for nothing and all these last years had been a total waste? What if…?
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m the kind that worry a lot about anything and everything.

After my ‘summer break’ I pulled my act together and tried to get a job within photography. I wrote a new CV and sent it out to every photography studio in the area, and I ended up getting a job at the place I wanted the most. Currently I walk around with the title ‘Apprentice’ and, of course, the pay check to go with it, and I love it. My boss is great, and I get to learn more about studio lighting. Plus we have a killer view at the office.
That also mean I’ve been blessed with access to all the equipment I need for some of the projects I’ve had on my mind, and there are quite a few of those. There is so much I want to do, and so many places I want to be. I’ve just go to find the time for it all.

“The reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”
Albert Einstein

So far it’s been great, but there is one problem; I haven’t had the time or money for a while, to pursue my biggest passion, Music photography.
At the moment I’m counting every penny, and saving up so I can hopefully head back to London for a concert soon. I’m having withdrawals. I miss it so much.

Even the Gods were Conflicted

“The conflict between Apollo and Dionysus—a famous dilemma in mythology.
Representing the age-old battle between mind and heart, which seldom want the same thing.
The mythological reference, is now often being used to describe the alcoholic who stares at a glass of alcohol, his brain knowing it will harm him, but his heart craving the comfort it will provide. The message apparently was:
Don’t feel alone - even the gods were conflicted.
- Dan Brown, Inferno

I came across this passage when reading Inferno a few months ago, and immediately fell in love with it. We all feel conflicted at times. ”The age-old battle between mind and heart” can get rather frustrating, and we feel pulled in opposite directions. The kind and sweet ‘good-guy’ or the hot and intriguing ‘bad-guy’? The boring job with the decent income, or the dream job with an uncertain future?
In my case, it was sound or vision.

The pictures on a wall. Or on a shelf, a poster, a website. Wherever.
The still photos that mostly are all about the visual. What your eyes see, and your camera captures. The images in your mind. They can easily be enjoyed in silence, and often they are.
And then there’s music. Audio. Rhythms. You don’t need to see anything to enjoy it. Just turn up the volume, lean back and close your eyes. Listen. I always feel comfort in knowing that no matter what you’re going through, there’s always a song out there about just that. It can get me through anything.
How about combining the two? The possibility of musicality in the visual arts…

From the day I realized how much I loved photography, and decided I wanted to become a professional photographer, I struggled with choosing a direction. There are so many different type of photographers out there. So many different genres within the same profession. What did I want to photograph?
I studied for a year in Norway and four years in the UK, and did several projects along the way. Street photography, landscape, portraiture, photojournalism, a poor attempt at boudoir, pet photography etc. They were all fun, but it never felt right.
It took me 3 1/2 years of studying before I found out what I wanted to photograph; music

My lecturers weren’t exactly pleased with my choice of direction, they made that pretty clear, but believe it or not, I prefer to listen to my mom over them:

“You can do anything you want, as long as you want it strongly enough”

Emma Stevens headlining in her home town Guildford

I sort of stumbled upon music photography when I attended a concert back in November 2012. Jenn Bostic was opening for Christian Kane, I had tickets, and as the good student I was, I took my camera with me everywhere. The stage was filled with coloured lights, ‘Jealous of the Angels’ was being performed, and everyone in the audience was crying. I took a few photos, looked down at my camera, and fell in love. Music photography has been my passion ever since. Instead of choosing one or the other, I get to combine the two things I love the most.

Jenn Bostic just after she finished performing the beautiful and touching song ”Jealous of the Angels”

It’s safe to say, I wouldn’t be where I am and do what I do, if it wasn’t for these two girls. Jenn and Emma welcomed me to their shows with open arms and were the first ones I ever worked with. The first feedback I ever received on my music photos were from them, and it was so overwhelmingly positive that I walked around in my room for probably 15 minutes before I could get myself to sit down. Just thinking ”oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. Is this real? oh wow…. Ooooh my god. It’s real…” I never saw it coming, was kind of in a state of shock.
To this day I still feel like that whenever I look at the first emails. It’s a wonderful feeling and I never want to let it go.

I know my photos aren’t perfect. Neither am I. I have a lot to learn, a lot to improve, but hey! That’s what life is for. Right? ;)

Copyright © 2012-2013 Belinda Strømmen. All rights reserved.
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