INTERVIEW | Rita Fevraleva
We love to dive into the live music scene of different cities and different genres and this time Rita Fevraleva takes us to the punk/crust, metal, grindcore, stoner scene in Moscow, Russia. So get ready for small and sweaty venues and intense pictures!
Hey Rita, can you give our readers a short introduction of yourself and your work?
Hello everybody! My name is Rita Fevraleva. I live and work in Moscow, Russia. I graduated from Russian social university as a journalist, my final work there was about concert photography :) Now I work as a freelance photographer and also sing in bands. In March I had a personal exhibition of my concert photos in Moscow.
How and when did you get into music photography?
I started singing in bands 12 years ago. And I always wanted to be a part of it, a part of our local scene. 6 years ago I bought (absolutely by accident) my first camera, the Nikon D3000. And after a couple of months I decided to take a camera to a concert (I had tickets to Red Fang's show). There I met my future "teacher", he is now an art director at a music club in Moscow. He gave me the possibility to take photos for one media portal. So I started to visit events with an accreditation and wrote my first reports.
Have you studied photography or are you self-taught? And how did you craft your skills?
I graduated from a photography school and took advice from my "teacher". I also looked at others works and tried to do similar things. Yes, sometimes I watched videos, but my main teacher was experience and a lot of shooting and editing.
With which camera(s) and lens(es) do you shoot?
Now I have two cameras: Nikon D800 and Nikon D700. Lenses: Nikon 50mm 1.8, 85mm 1.8, 24-70mm 2.8, Tamron 17-35mm 3.5, Sigma 70-300mm 3.5, Zenitar 16mm 2.8.
What is the best and worst thing about concert photography?
The Best - to be a part of a stage's history, The worst - not everyone notices and understands the meaning of a concert photographer's job. Not everyone wants to pay for it, and notice that just after some time passed.
How would you describe the live music scene in your city (or country)?
It's separated in mainstream and underground. I don't like to shoot big events. I think there is no close connection between musicians and crowds as in the small clubs.
The shows you shoot seem to be very intense (small venues and a very active crowd). What are your biggest challenges?
I'm very surprised that my stuff didn't get broken by the crowd yet :) I remember when I shot a concert with a broken leg, it was a strange experience.
What was the worst thing that happened at one of the gigs? Either to you / your gear or in general.
Once I shot a punk concert and stood on a table, leaning over the crowd. There was another photographer who tried to take photos from this place too. So she started to push me from the table into a crazy slamming crowd, with no warning. I was very afraid for my camera. I think that was not very polite.
How many pictures do you take on an usual night? And how many end up in your final selection?
If we say about a standard gig with 3-4 bands, it is about 400-500 photos after the show and 150-200 after final editing :)
Who do you usually work for? Bands, labels, agencies, press, etc.?
Usually I work with bands and club managers.
What was your favorite shoot and why?
My favorite shoot was last summer at a punk festival in the woods. Many of my followers liked it the most. I think it shows the spirit of freedom in frames of underground culture.
What's the best purchase you ever made? Or what’s the best workflow hack you discovered?
I can't imagine my work process without a wide angle zoom lens. About workflow - I started to make more collages with double exposure, people liked it.
Which bands are still on your bucket list?
What change would you like to see in the live music scene (or in the music industry in general)?
Most concert photographers work for nothing. I wish that 3-5 percent from each ticket would go to photo and video makers. It would be a motivation for them. Maybe it's just a silly dream, but I honestly wish for that.
Is there anything you wish you had known earlier?
I think that everything happens for a reason, with every job I become more experienced than I was before. I learn from my mistakes as most people do, I think.
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All images: © Rita Fevraleva