INTERVIEW | Chux On Tour Photography
Our first guest is Charlotte aka Chux On Tour Photography from Berlin, Germany. And yes, that's me. The woman behind SHOWGRAPHERS. I just had to be our own guinea pig and also thought you would enjoy to get to know me a bit better. Without further ado, please enjoy our first interview!
Hey Charlotte, please give our readers a short introduction of yourself.
Sure, I’m a Berlin-based music photographer with a strong focus on female musicians and a love for black & white. My happy place is at showcase festivals where I can discover up and coming artists. I started to shoot concerts in 2018 and joined the German music blog hoers.de shortly after. I sometimes also work directly with musicians and help out with artist and tour management, booking and promotion and in the past I even put on some shows in Berlin. I’m part of the female collective GRRRL-NOISY and founded SHOWGRAPHERS to connect musicians and music photographers.
How and when did you get into music photography?
It was a gradual process and not planned tbh. I always loved to go to gigs and one day in 2017 my boss said to me “Charlotte, you go to so many shows, you should write about it.”. But that wasn’t something I enjoyed but I figured I could post my crappy iPhone photos on Instagram as some kind of diary for myself. Surprised by the fact that artists asked to share my pictures, I bought a small compact camera that I could sneak into the most venues. Then in 2018 I got approached by the Berlin-based music blog hoers.de and I just gave it a try and bought a proper camera.
With which camera(s) and lens(es) do you shoot?
My first professional camera was a Fuji XT-30 with a 35mm lens. After a year I switched to Sony Alpha 7 iii. Started with a 55mm f/1.8 and soon added a 35mm f/1.8 and a 85mm f/1.8. My newest addition is a Tamron 70 - 180mm f/2.8. Only used it once so far and definitely need some more time to get used to the weight, but I’m more than happy with it.
What is the best and worst thing about concert photography?
Oh well, the best things are definitely all the moments you get to experience. The live music, meeting musicians and listening to their stories, traveling if you’re lucky and connecting with other fans that turn into friends. I prefer to work with smaller artists and being able to support them on their journey and seeing them grow means a lot to me.
The worst thing must be the tough lighting situation :D No, but seriously, it’s probably the fact that it’s so hard to make money with it and that this part of photography often doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves.
How would you describe the live music scene in your city (or country)?
Pandemic times aside, Berlin has to offer something for everyone on an almost daily basis. From small bands to the big acts, from quiet to loud sounds and from experimental stuff to mainstream. There have been countless nights where I had to decide between two or even five shows on the same night. And even though I love the amount of shows, it sometimes makes it hard for bands to reach an audience. I experienced the scene as very supportive and welcoming, but that’s just because I was lucky enough to find the right people.
Do you find it easier to shoot gigs of bands you really love or of bands you didn't know before (or you wouldn't call yourself a fan of)?
I struggle a bit with this one. Both can be fun for sure. With bands I love I’m sometimes extra eager to get good shots. But now and then I also find myself just enjoying the show, dancing, singing along and not taking pictures (though most of the times I can combine it all). If I don’t know the band, but they turn out to be “just my type” (I don’t have one) or that are “interesting” to shoot, I enjoy it equally. What I find difficult is when neither the music nor the performance speak to me.
What was your favorite shoot and why?
There is no way I can answer this question and name just one gig. But I’ll go with SKYND at the Eurosonic Noorderslag Festival in Groningen in 2020. It was the last gig of the first day of the festival and I almost didn’t go because it was super late. I didn’t know the band and they blew me away the moment they got on stage. The show had everything: great lights, catchy songs, stunning outfits, haunting effects on the voice and overall a strong energy. I was so captivated by the intensity of the performance. And on top of that, I was really pleased with the pictures.
If you could only go to one festival a year, which one would you pick and why?
My first thought was The Great Escape Festival in Brighton. Lovely city and great bands! But I should probably pick SXSW because it’s the biggest showcase festival and I had such a great time there in 2019. Would love to go there again even though it was stressful and FOMO was a real thing! But luckily I don’t have to choose and I prefer to go to several smaller festivals instead of just one big (and expensive) festival.
Which bands are still on your bucket list?
I don’t really have a bucket list and I probably don’t even know most bands yet that I would want to work with in the future :D There is just something magical in discovering bands through live music and shooting shows of bands you haven’t even heard of before. But I would love to take pictures at a Vérité show because the last time I saw her in 2017 I was just a regular guest. And I wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to photograph a 30 Seconds to Mars or The Staves gig.
Is there anything you wish you had known earlier?
Maybe that I really enjoy to work with a flash at photo shoots? I started as a concert photographer and never thought I’d ever work with a flash, but at the second photo shoot I did, a friend had one and I looooved how the pictures turned out.
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All images: © Chux On Tour Photography