Welcome to Will Not Fade’s Artist Profile series, where we take a look into the people in the music scene who aren’t necessarily musicians.
Who are you?
Hey! I’m Jecht and I run my own photography business Jechtography! I officially settled on the name while on tour with two Battle Of The Bands grand winners and since then I’ve shot seven international acts and 70 kiwi musicians and bands, most of them multiple times! If the name Jechtography seems familiar, it’ll be because of the many musicians and bands currently flaunting the photos I’ve taken of them on social media haha.
How did you start off doing photography?
It all started when I was taking snaps of my brother’s band Pale Lady with a cracked phone lens, at the time I very rarely took photography seriously apart from making the odd Instagram post. From there I started to go to more and more local music gigs and decided I’d need to invest in some better hardware, so I bought a brand new Sony A6000 and self-taught myself to where I am 10 months later!
Why do you photograph musicians?
I believe it’s mainly due to the influence of going to see my bro play live. I rarely went out to check the local scene beforehand and it think it was the exposure to seeing the raw talent oozing out of the Wellington scene lately that occupies most of my photography ventures lately. I’ve branched out and done a wedding and some photo shoots since starting Jechtography, but there’s a special active component with photographing musicians in a lively venue that you can’t get anywhere else, a special symbiosis between the performer and the photographer where you’re doing your best to capture and preserve the energy and emotions they’re expressing.
Film or Digital?
I would like to try out film sometime in the future, and upon thinking more on this question I do wish I tried taking up Photography as well as Art when I was at college (I remember we had a darkroom, so that implies film was taught right?)… but ultimately I’ve only ever had access to Digital hardware, and for now I want to shoot music gigs exclusively in digital. I’m a rather trigger-happy type of person and I want to be able to transfer shots to my phone within the same night for quick post-processing work.
Colour or Black and White?
Tough question. Easy answer is both, I love keeping shots in colour when the lighting crew or venues have a really cool setting to work with, and when the moment calls for it like when I want to draw attention to a facial emotion through a close-up or if there are great textures in the shot then I’ll pare it down to B & W. There is a hard answer though, and that’s when I really want to salvage a perfect moment like an iconic pose or an intimate crowd exchange, yet the photo is overblown with harsh red or blue light. I try to avoid those situations as much as possible on the fly with ISO/ShutterSpeed/AF settings but these moments don’t wait for you, you have to chase and make to with what you can get. For those photos, I begrudgingly almost always go to B & W.
What has been your highlight so far as a photographer?
I’ve had to reanswer this a few times sooooo honorable mentions go to Thom of Villainy saying my shot of him surrounded in gold confetti was one of this favourite shots of all time and Jon Toogood giving me a massive signal boost from an awesome acoustic show.
As for my highlight so far, I’ve got to give it to my time touring with Blue River Baby, a Wellington based Rock Soul Funk band that asked me to go on a nationwide tour as their tour photographer! I had a great time getting to know the band members, meeting new people within the industry and gaining the experience and the do’s and don’ts of touring life! It’s definitely something I’d want to do again.
What band would you most love to photograph?
My mind says Slipknot, my heart says Lacuna Coil. Both have great stage presence from what I’ve seen and I’d love to capture the grit from their makeup and costumes they proudly portray and change up every album release. This is supposed to be a single answer question so I’ll just lock in Lacuna Coil!
Have you got a favourite venue?
Whichever one has the better lighting!!! Jokes aside, Valhalla in Wellington is essentially my second home at this point. There’s no photographer pit so getting in close for a high profile band is tricky, especially when you’re trying to keep a steady hand with a lower shutter speed to compensate for low lighting (Korpiklanni was a cascade of dreadlock whippings for example) but it’s really great for seeing local legends in the making like PL, ELK, DSE etc.
What do you consider your most essential piece of equipment?
I don’t think eyes would count for a suitable answer so I’ll have to say my earplugs. I can work without my tripod, I can work with only one of my few lenses but I need to preserve my hearing when I’m forced to stick near a blaring speaker to take those magic moments. I got my own future music career to think about too!
What kind of ear protection do you use?
I started using monthly disposable earplugs from White Cat, then when I prematurely lost them recently I resorted to looking like a tool and used my noise-canceling bluetooth earphones for a while. It totally worked but I’m sure that’s not their intended purpose, please don’t take it as an endorsement! Then for Christmas I got a pair of Alpine PartyPlugs that are wash friendly and I’ve been using them ever since.
Have you got any advice for aspiring beginner photographers?
From personal experience, starting with a phone camera is totally okay if you’re testing the waters and you’re not sure, but know that you will definitely need the freedom and flexibility that modern DSLR cameras can offer over flagship phones. A great tip with shooting specific musicians is that you’ll probably need to see them live a few times before you’re both in sync, if you can identify unique quirks that band members have and when they’re most likely to showcase said quirks, you’re already on the way to becoming a fantastic photographer! It all comes back to the symbiosis between the musician and the photographer, even getting to know them off stage can lead to them becoming more comfortable and showing you sides no one else will see.
How can people contact you if they want to use your services?
If you’re looking for a passionate photographer with a rising portfolio, you can get in contact with me via my Facebook page Jechtography or at email@example.com. My rates are usually very affordable and work on a per-head basis, less band members = cheaper rates! I’m based in the Wellington region but I have on occasion ventured out to shows, it doesn’t hurt to inquire.
If you’d like to take a gander at more of my photos, I upload a small selection from each set I shoot on my Facebook page Jechtography with the full photo albums on my personal website at https://jechtography.com. I also have an instagram account where I upload musical photos from the gigs I shoot… confused about what a musical photo is? Check out @jechtmania for what I mean. I also shoot the occasional video at the gigs I shoot and upload to my YouTube account Jechtmania, there you’ll see kiwi acts like Jon Toogood, Pale Lady and Hault as well as a few high ranking videos of the international metal sensation Devin Townsend doing acoustic!