Specialist Influences Study

I don’t really remember what influenced me to take up photography in the first place, I just remember waking up one day after borrowing my mums camera to take some photos on a walk for a GCSE art project , thinking ‘Ey up Caitlin, you’re not so bad at this’. I showed my art teacher who also did photography in her own time and she agreed I had an eye for capturing an image. So that same year, I sacked off my original (unconventional) plans at becoming a tattoo artist and I got my first DSLR (Nikon d3100). I started shooting street photography and documentary, basically anything that told a story to me.  6 years later, thats still what I love to do and I now make money from my passion, I mean, who would want a cooler job than that?

The area of photography I am interested in is Live Music and Documentary. I originally became interested in this because of my love for music, which I got from my Dad. He was a DJ for 25 years and always had a love for music and an extensive knowledge about it, which I grew up learning from him.

I first got the courage to shoot bands around 4 years ago after seeing the work of Jennifer Mccord and Adam Elmakias, who are both to this day huge influences in my photography. However, its only in the past 2 years I have turned it into a job and not just for fun. I wanted to start by documenting the passion musicians have for what they do and the excitement of the people who listen/watch bands play. 

Throughout the time I have been shooting live shows, I have been lucky enough to become friends with Jenny and she has helped me out loads by giving me advice and taking time out after shows to talk to me about my photos, which is one of the reasons I am still doing what I’m doing after having a tough time wanting to give up photography feeling like I wasn’t good enough and for this I couldn’t thank her enough.

Here are some of her photos I first found, which set it in stone for me that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I went to see this band (Being As An Ocean) in Manchester after being a fan of them for a few months and I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences as a crowd member I have ever had. Everything about the band and their passion for music is evident in these photos, they actually put on a show and get the crowd involved. These photos are a reminder of how I felt at the gig and that is why I pursued Music Photography, to give people that same feeling that I had.


Below is from the first conversation I had with her, giving me advice for going on my first tour with a band.


This advice I realised after the tour was really helpful and I’m glad she told me this. Especially, photography aside, the comfy clothes and strong smelling deodorant. Sleeping in a van with 7 lads is definitely not fun, especially waking up after they’ve all eaten a dirty takeaway after partying the night before, lets just put it that way! Other than that, touring is great. Being able to be in a different city every night for a week is great for a photographer because nothing is the same. I found that if one venues lighting one night is horrible, the next night might be the best lighting you could wish for and you could more than make up for missed shots the night before! Although everything is so rushed and you don’t get to explore the cities as much as you’d want to, between travelling overnight, sound checking in the afternoon before the show at night then back to more travelling, you get to meet so many people and experience a lot. I can’t wait to be able to do it again.


The other photographer I am greatly Influenced by is Adam Elmakias. He really strives to help other budding photographers through his blog and youtube channel. He also produced a DVD called ‘The Music Photographer DVD’, where he talks about the Industry, Photo shoots, Editing, and basically everything you’d need to know that he has learned after his 5 years of professional experience. He also put this DVD up in sections on youtube for FREE, which is crazy as it must’ve took him so long to create.

Part 1 – Industry

Part 2 – Photo shoots

Part 3 – Post-processing

He also has a blog, where he posts all his work alongside other helpful posts for budding photographers, like these below for example:


His attention to light and how he uses it to affect the entire composition is something I can learn from looking at his work. Here are a selection of some of his photographs which show this:



Whilst doing some research about Music Photography, I came across a blog written by photographer, Todd Owyoung. It was really helpful as he wrote a section called ‘Music photography quick start guide’ which similar to Adam Elmakias’ DVD, gave a lot of helpful information for getting started. Both of these two things have given me so much more knowledge that I wouldn’t have even though was important to know. Below are some of the sub-topics Todd has wrote about:





Another influence of mine is Annie Leibovitz, in particular her ‘Life through a lens’ documentary and her work with the Rolling Stones. She first became known as being the first woman photographer for the rolling stones magazine, a job she held for 10 years after being named chief photographer of rolling stones by publisher Jann Wenner. Her photos of celebrities also helped define the rolling stone look. She was influenced by great photographers such as Henri Cartier Bresson, and Richard Avedon; in particular his portraits.


These photos were taken on tour with The Rolling Stones in 1975. It is said her favourite photo from the tour was the one above of Mick Jagger in the elevator.

Below is a few images by Henri Cartier Bresson. I think that she took influence in his work by his use of ‘the decisive moment’. Which is something you have to pay close attention to whilst photographing Live music to the quickly changing light situations and the band members.


Above are a few of Richard Avedons portraits. I think Annie took influence from these due to the simplicity and the way their faces have been lit.

Her film ‘Life through a lens’, features her and people she’s worked with discussing her work and it really does show you why she is so influential to a lot of people.




Photographer and Film-maker, Anton Corbijn, is another influence of mine, that is a reason of why I want to get into shooting moving image/music videos as well as photography. His work has shaped the image of artists such as U2, Joy Division, Nirvana and Metallica; all of which are artists that I listen too. His film ‘Inside out’, gives the viewer insight into his mind and how he works, which he kept hidden from the public for a long time. Also about the unique Iconography he has created.


Below are a selection of my favourite photographs he has taken. His photos always have really well thought out composition, like every shot has to tell a story.


Anton is influenced by people such as Lee Frielander and Robert Frank, as shown below. I think he takes influence from their work because of their use of contrast between shadows and light.




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