Photography serves many purposes, but in the realms of live music, its significance is its ability to cement a certain emotion and memory in time.
Jay Wennington is just one of Australia’s most active music photographers right now, working extensively in the rock world, right through to the mainstream.
When he’s not touring the world, the UK-born, Melbourne-based photographer works for numerous clients including Live Nation and 123 Agency, with his recent work covering off everything from Bruno Mars’ 24 Magic tour to Download Festival Melbourne. You’ll also find his work here for the Ticketmaster Blog.
Music photographer, Jay Wennington, chats to the Ticketmaster Blog
Hear more about how Jay got his start in music photography and find out his tips for aspiring creatives in our full Q&A:
How long have you been working in the music industry?
I’ve been working in the music industry for around four years now, I definitely fell into the world; I studied Design and Internet Technology at university and spent the first couple of years out of school working as a Digital Designer at a digital agency. Then an off-chance house show came up that my friend’s new band (Creeper, Roadrunner Records) were playing, I went along to support them and took a couple of snaps there for my own personal blog, went home and didn’t really think much more of it.
A few months later, I was just starting a new job at a new agency and on my very first day, my friend, the singer in the band, called me up and asked if I wanted to go out on their very first tour supporting Funeral For a Friend, obviously I did and I managed to convince the agency I could work remotely for a couple of weeks, I went away, one thing lead to another and before I knew it I was touring the world, from Toronto to Tokyo, Berlin to Brisbane, the whole US and just about everywhere in-between! Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to work for the magazines I grew up reading, and the labels I have long-admired, and help to capture some of my favourite artists doing what they love the most.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for music photographers in today’s music industry?
Being recognised; there is such an over saturation of music photographers right now, a lot of them are incredibly average and it can be extremely disheartening seeing people getting opportunities that, in reality, you know others should be getting. The key to beating this is keeping consistent, working hard and building a strong reputation, working on your own style and not paying too much attention to what others are doing around you.
What are your favourite Australian venues to photograph at and why?
The Forum in Melbourne is hands down my favourite venue in Australia, not just in terms of taking photos but just in general. The atmosphere is incredible, you can really feel the energy from the plethora of important shows played there over the years resonating as you walk through it. The architecture is beautiful, the crowds are always friendly and the staff are some of the best I’ve ever encountered!
We’ve been admiring your work on Instagram! How important is that kind of online presence for music photographers today?
VERY! I think that in this day you need to have that online presence, that is the only way people are really going to find out about you and your work. I’m at a point now where I don’t really have the time to update my socials as much as I would like but I’m at a point now where I can perhaps get away with this, but if you’re starting out or just planning on having any sort of longevity in the industry, platforms like Instagram are essential.
You’re based in Melbourne, so what do you think makes the local music scene so unique?
I am indeed, and coming into the Melbourne scene as an outsider (as I’m originally from the UK) I noticed quite a few things immediately. The first being the passion, bands are so dedicated to perfecting and expanding their craft, the experimentation and genre-mashing is so, so interesting, just look at a couple of local acts like Ocean Grove or Luboku to see what I mean. The second thing you notice is the pride, artists from Melbourne are fiercely proud of being from Melbourne and I love that.
What music are you listening to while editing?
This really depends what mood I’m in and how much I have to concentrate (lol), for example if I’m editing photos I’ll usually listen to easy-listening or throwback 00’s, or more recently I listen to a lot of podcasts, mainly from the HowStuffWorks network (Behind the Bastards, Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know, Stuff You Should Know, etc).
Any new bands coming up that you’re excited to be working with?
As mentioned earlier, I’ve been working with the UK band Creeper for around four years now and they still manage to excite me on a near-daily basis, the creativity and ability to think outside of the box never ceases to amaze me. In terms of newer artists, my newly-launched agency has recently started working with an incredible emo outfit from Adelaide called Pemberton and they really are the brightest light on the Australian music scene horizon right now, watch this space!
What other projects are coming up for you in the next year?
Since February this year my partner and I have been working on a content agency called Bad Seed, we work primarily within the entertainment sector and it has been keeping us both sooo busy. Since our inception, we’ve been fortunate enough to work on a diverse selection of projects, from working with Live Nation to promote the likes of Bruno Mars, P!nk, Vidcon and many more, Melbourne-based booking agents 123 Agency, VVV Management (Kingswood, Between You & Me, Caravana Sun, and more), and many other exciting projects. Apart from this, we also run a project called Don’t Fret Club, a positive mental health initiative, tasked with promoting positive conversations around mental health in the music industry, and beyond! We have a lot of podcasts, zine fairs, special events, talks and more coming up so right now all of my time is taken up by these and I wouldn’t want it any other way!!
See more of Jay’s work and follow him at Instagram.com/Jaywennington.
Photos: Jay Wennington