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Interview with Music Photographer: Pat Shepherd
Posted by beanie, September 3, 2010
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Interview with Music Photographer, Pat Shepherd .  Faction first met Pat down in New Zealand, when he was working as a ski photographer but the lure of the music scene was too much and he upped sticks and headed North to Wellington.

Shihad at Rippon Festival. Photo: Pat Shepherd

Interview:

Name: Pat Shepherd

Age: 29 (30 by the time this goes live)

Where do you live?: Wellington, New Zealand

Where are you from originally?: Aberdeen, Scotland

Occupation: Photographer, Designer, Publisher, Charity Co-Manager

Pat Shepherd

How/when did you get involved in photography?: I remember having one of those Fischer-Price cameras when I was little. I guess that was the start of things. After school I went to college and studied photography full-time. It was a great course and I made some great friends during that time, but to be honest, Aberdeen isn’t the most inspiring place for photography. I applied to do further studies in Edinburgh, but I wasn’t accepted. I was gutted at the time, but now I’m stoked as I guess I wouldn’t be where I am now if I had done those extra four years of study.

When did you start doing music photography?: While I was studying photography I chose to do one of my projects on breakdancing. It was great fun, I got some breakdancers into the photo studio and did some long exposures so there was lots of crazy blur going on with the movement. They all danced at a club on Belmont St in Aberdeen and got me along to shoot some events. I got to know some of the DJ’s and ended up doing a shoot of American hip-hop band The Arsonists. I LOVED it! I remember that I was in the front row and I was jumping at the same time as the singer so that I was hopefully matching his movement and thus get less blur in my shot. That got me hooked!

The Wailers by Pat Shepherd

What is the best bit about your job?: I really think the best part is that you get to see all that goes on behind the scenes with a gig. So many music photographers love getting the shots of the singer by the mic, I’m all about before the gig and after the gig. Those are the parts that the crowds don’t get to see. A few weeks ago I was shooting the Shapeshifter gig at Wellington Town Hall. Shapeshifter are huge in New Zealand, luckily I’ve known them long enough and photographed them so much that I was allowed to shoot their pre-gig Karakia (prayer), which is a pretty special moment with a band like that.

Shapeshifter at Wellingotn Opera House. Photo: Pat Shepherd

What has been your favourite moment in music to photograph?: There have been so many incredible gigs over the years. I’d have to say the best and most memorable was the SurfAid Tsunami relief gig at Wellington Town Hall in 2005. Lets just say we had a pretty big night the night before it, celebrating the birthday of a certain 9 and a half fingered friend of ours. I then had to work six hours before heading straight to the gig. There were lots of incredible bands playing, but my energy was slowly disappearing. Then the final act of the night came on, it was the amazing Trinity Roots and this was their last gig ever. You could feel the emotions in the air, they were on fire and everybody was loving it. My jaw dropped with Riki’s drum solo and I was lucky enough to get a great panoramic shot of them all arm in arm, at their final ever gig. The great news is that they are actually releasing a live album of that gig of 7th Sept. More than 5 years after the gig, I can’t wait to hear it!

Please tell us a bit about your new project “The Good Karma Project”?: The Good Karma Project was a concept I came up with mid 2009. Myself and a friend then worked on the project for six weeks over Christmas 2009. We partnered with a charity called Children on the Edge who support migrant and refugee children who have fled the instability of Burma to the relative safety of Thailand. We taught the kids photography and art and then came back to NZ and worked with local artists who created their interpretations of the kids’ artwork. We also produced a doco about the project, a magazine and held an exhibition which raised over $10,000 for the charity.

I’m now working part-time for the charity and am planning the next trip as we speak. It’s going to be amazing. We are taking out a few of NZ’s top artists to work on a variety of projects with the kids, I can’t wait for that to happen this November!

Fly My Pretties 3. Photo: Pat Shepherd

Who is your favourite new artist?: I’ve been really getting into a local Wellington band that three of my mates are in. they’re called Nudge. It’s early days for them, but I reckon there is an amazing chemistry going on there. They are so good live!

Which album is your old favourite?: I guess if we were talking about old as in, back-in-the-day album, it would have to Snoop Dog, ‘Doggystyle’. Admit it, we all know the words! Modern day favorite would have to be ‘What About Me?’ by 1 Giant Leap, it is the ultimate world music album.

What is the best music to listen to when drinking beer in the sun?: It has to be ‘On the Sun’ by The Black Seeds. It is the ultimate NZ summer album with beaches, beer and sunshine written all over it.

What is the best gig you have been to?: The most memorable gig for me has to be The Prodigy in Val d’Isère. I was about 16 and was over there doing some race training. We were given tickets only an hour before the gig and I remember us pulling into the car park and they were projecting the Prodigy logo onto the mountain, it was incredible. We were a bunch of kids lost in the moshpit between hundreds of sweaty French snowboarders. ‘Fat of the Land’ had just come out so they were playing all those songs. We all couldn’t help but sing ‘Firestarter’ for the next week

Thanks Pat, your work is stunning and we look forward to seeing more of it in the future and hearing the progress from the Good Karma Project and your other charitable work.

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