Edward Burnett chats to Australian gig photographer Deb Kloeden about her love for photography, festivals and the Aussie music scene
RnRR: So, first of all, nice to meet you Deb, would you mind introducing yourself and your profession to our readers?
DEB: Hi, my name is Deb and I am an Australian concert photographer, based in Adelaide & Melbourne. I go by the name of debkloedenphotography.
RnRR: So how did you first get into the job you do. Was it always gigs and concerts you photographed?
DEB: I studied photography as part of my Fine Arts course when training to be a teacher back in the days of film. I cut my concert photography teeth shooting friends in local bands in rural Mt Gambier, South Australia in my early 20s. After years of teaching Art, Photography and Graphic Design, I decided to leave the teaching game and follow my dream of becoming a concert photographer. I started shooting from the crowd at concerts and festivals and also joined an online concert photography group, quickly making new friends & contacts who invited me to use their publications to help get a start in the industry. I now work for 3 online media outlets, providing concert photography galleries and sometimes reviews.
RnRR: Very impressive, especially when starting off in the dissimilar profession of teaching. What would you say is the most rewarding aspect of your job? The aspect that encourages you to stick at it?
DEB: I love music and photography, so this is a dream job for me. I love discovering new artists and love the reward I get from followers who like my work. I always try to improve the quality of my photos & learn to use my cameras better in concert conditions. I love going to concerts and festivals for free (complimentary tickets / photo passes). Sometimes I get paid to do what I love doing best.
RnRR: Now, you’re based in Australia. How would you describe the Australian music scene? Lively? Up-and-coming?
DEB: The Australian music scene is very active. We have concerts and festivals all year round. There is an amazing amount of new talent coming on the scene regularly from all genres of music. Naturally our capital cities are the places to go for the best music, but some of our bigger regional centres also attract touring bands & local musicians. We hold some of the best festivals in the world, which attract incredible international artists. Our weather is very favourable for outdoor events. Our national ABC radio station, Triple J, promotes new music through their ‘Unearthed’ program. This is often how up-and-coming musicians get their lucky break.
RnRR: Initiatives such as ‘Unearthed’ are starting to pop up throughout the globe such as ‘BBC Introducing’ in the UK and, as you say, they are a great way for artists to get discovered. Now for the main question that everyone will want to know the answer to. In your time, you’ve attended and photographed countless gigs but what was the best gig you’ve ever been to?
DEB: I love shooting festivals, and my favourites are Byron Bay Bluesfest, Splendour In The Grass and Womadelaide. You get to see so many ‘big name’ artists all at the one event. Sound & lighting as always very good. I shoot these festivals each year. But my highlight gig shoot would have to be Roger Waters from Pink Floyd. I used to be a huge Pink Floyd fan in my younger days, so to earn the honour of photographing his concert in Adelaide last year was definitely a bucket list item crossed off. The whole show was amazing with so many huge props & visuals.
RnRR: Finally, what are your plans for the future? What gigs do you have lined up?
DEB: Next weekend I’m shooting The Melbourne Guitar Show, a 2 day event which showcases some of Australia’s finest guitarists. I have also applied for several other gigs in Adelaide during August, but I’m still waiting for approval. The next festival on my calendar is The Queenscliff Music Festival (Victoria) held in late November. I have just returned from Splendour In The Grass (Byron Bay) and am still buzzing!
RnRR: A very busy schedule then indeed! Well all the best in your future photography and thank you for this great insight into the gig scene through the lens of a concert photographer.
You can find out more about Deb and view her photography via her social media channels, as well as her website: https://www.debkloedenphotography.com