James O’Connor

 

How long have you been shooting for & what got you started?

I’ve been shooting for 5 years now. I got a camera for Christmas, cause I loved going to gigs – and decided to focus in on this passion. I did a short course over in Bondi called ‘Rock Photography,’ and then I was off and running.

I started at the Annandale Hotel. I’d email them when I wanted to shoot a gig and they were nice enough to allow me in despite my photos being pretty terrible. Gradually, I got better and better equipment and better at taking photos. I shot at the Annandale a lot and when that shut down I shifted over to the Sandringham Hotel…   and then when that shut down…

Hang on… are you a venue killer?

Hahaha! It seems I might have the kiss of death!! Well, now I shoot all over the place – but tend to shoot a lot at the Bald Faced Stag.

How did you come about getting accreditation to Festival of the Sun?

The guys who organized FOTSUN, I had a relationship with – having shot a few festivals for them in the past, so I applied direct to them to shoot photos and video at the festival – which they approved.

Check out the video James shot at FOTSUN here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CglFgexgbvw

Can you tell us about the specific moment you snapped your award-winning photo?

Funnily enough – I was standing next to you! It was after the three songs and we were standing at the side of stage enjoying the show. I just noticed that the lighting was getting a lot better – so I went over and grabbed my camera, thinking I’d just snap a couple of frames.   There is actually a real skill to shooting with the camera above your head – because you can’t exactly use your viewfinder – you just have to get a feel for it. I don’t think my aperture was very wide – maybe 3.5 – and I must have luckily hit the focal point right between his eyes because when you zoom in – his face is nice and sharp.   The lights flared up – he looked out at the crowd – and as he turned his head, I caught that moment. It was a nice combo of front light and back lighting.

What’s the concept behind your photo brand ‘From The Pit?’

It’s basically giving people a feel for what the experience of a gig or festival is like – not just the bands, but the crowd, the venue and the vibe – and a big part of that is getting out there amongst the crowd.   It’s less about me the photographer and more about the music scene in Sydney – which I think leads to more engagement without distracting from the images, the artist or the atmosphere. In fact – every Monday I post The Monday Mosh… a photo of a punter in the crowd at a gig or festival. It puts the focus out there where it should be, rather than on me.

Can you give us your thoughts on the Moshcam Photography Awards?

I think it’s awesome! However – I was a bit skeptical at the start, I must admit. I’ve now become quite selective with my entries – instead of posting the maximum 5 photos each week, I’ll save my entries for the special photos – the ones that I’m able to step back from and look at a few days later and say, ‘Yeah, that’s a pretty good photo.’ Those are the one’s that are a chance – cause you’re up against great shooters all over the country – so it needs to be outstanding. It’s quite competitive in the photo pit at shows…   so I’ll often enter photos not taken in the photo pit – for a distinct point of difference.

Who’s your favorite band to shoot?

Parkway Drive. Not necessarily because of what the do on stage but every time I see them, the production is completely different – and having great production for a hardcore band is quite unusual. It’s almost like pop level production, but for a metal band.

What’s your favorite venue to shoot in?

At a festival!! Nah, that’s a cop out… I’d have to say, The Oxford Art Factory. There’s good consistent lighting – you can always rely on that. And the Stag for the same reason…

Who’s on your photography bucket list?

There’s two bands, actually. Who I will hopefully get in Europe later this year…   System of a Down and Rammstein.

If you could tour the world with any band, who would it be and why?

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. I watched a documentary of them touring around Europe – and they look like they get out and enjoy themselves out there – plus, thery’re a band about to really take off…   It’s gonna be a nice ride for the next few years I imagine. From The Pit has always been about picking bands on the way up. I shot Violent Soho at GoodGod a few years back – I love shooting bands that I think will be massive in due time…

BIO

In 2011 I first toyed with a camera capturing gigs at Sydney live music institutions such as Annandale Hotel and The Sando. I shot the infamous Bronx Annandale show, Violent Soho at Goodgod and the last ever Peats Ridge. It was at Peats FTP that I developed a love of capturing festivals. A love which would take me around Australia and now Europe.

I recently spread my wings to visit Europe, capturing festivals such as Greenfield, Rockstadt, Punk Rock Holiday and Green Man. My main love is shooting festivals, both band and crowd.

Nominated Photos

 

Where to find James O’Connor

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