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Interview: 7 Music Photographers and How They’re Coping During COVID-19

By: Curtis Sindrey –

BUFFALO, NY – FEB. 21 – PUP performs at Asbury Hall at Babeville in Buffalo, New York on Feb, 21 2020. (Photo: Lauren Garbutt/Aesthetic Magazine)

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to dominate the world, the music photography community, along with the music industry as a whole, has been heavily impacted as music venues close and tours are postponed. With an end not quite in sight, photographers are forced to adapt to this “new normal” as they struggle to make a living in a world without live music.

To get some insight into what it has been like to be a photographer during this pandemic, we spoke to seven accomplished photographers from across North America about how they’re adapting, what live music might look like post-COVID-19, and more!

Interview Subjects

Joanna Glezkos
Joanna Glezakos is a freelance photographer and videographer based in Toronto, ON. Joanna specializes in music, events and portraiture and she strives to capture bold and striking visuals. Joanna enjoys finding the magic in every-day life and aims to capture unforgettable moments; whether she’s on stage with an artist, behind the scenes of an event or capturing personalities in a portrait session. Website

Anton Mak
Anton Mak is a creative from Toronto, Canada. He specializes in the event space, working on content creation with brands from different industries; spanning from music and athletics, to weddings and conferences. A versatile individual capable of both still imagery and video production, he has years of experience working with diverse clientele. Mak’s work has brought him around the globe, and has put him in rapidly changing environments in which he excels in. His keen eyes for spotting and forming perfect moments, and his understanding of the fast-paced settings of social media makes him suitable for covering any and all events. Instagram

Lindsey Blane
Lindsey picked up a film camera at the age of 14, and have been obsessed with capturing the world around her ever since. Now, Lindsey works with incredible people to document every kind of project imaginable, and she aims to create a strong visual identity through her lens, whether it be using photography or videography. Website

Morgan Harris
Since graduating Humber’s Creative Photography program in 2013, Morgan has dedicated his career to capturing the unique and spontaneous moments that make live events so exciting. At first specializing in live music, Morgan has since broadened his work to cover all kinds of events. His work has taken him from film sets in Northern Ontario to Affordable Housing meetings in Etobicoke. Morgan is always ready to capture the best moments of the day. His work can currently be seen in Aesthetic Magazine and at www.momophoto.ca

Katrina Lat
Katrina Lat is a Toronto-based marketing/sales professional, photographer, music lover, traveler, writer, and constantly curious mind. In 2016, Katrina purchased her first DSLR, and dove head first into her latest and greatest side hustle – photography. Since then, Katrina has captured 450+ events, destinations, and other shutter-worthy encounters. Some past highlights include SXSW, CES, The Grammys, The Junos, MAMAs, Reeperbahn & Lollapalooza. Website

Roman Zugarazo
Roman Zugarazo is an experienced digital content producer and social media marketing specialist based in Vancouver, BC. Some of his clients include Sony Music Canada, Nettwerk Music Group, Warner Music Canada and Coalition Music. Roman currently works with 604 Records and specializes in music photography and video content for artists. He has worked as tour photographer/videographer on tours in Canada, U.S. and Europe with artists such as Marianas Trench, Ria Mae and Scott Helman. Instagram

Ruvan Wijesooriya
Ruvan’s documentary approach to photography explores a universal and nostalgic visual language of the world around us. His landscapes, portraits, aerial perspectives, nature series and journalistic work are motivated by his on-going study of beauty and the feminine. Website

To start, tell me a little bit about your background in photography, and how you got started. 

Joanna Glezakos: I studied photography at OCAD University. I got my start by reaching out to the band Mindless Self Indulgence when I was 17 and asked them to shoot their show at The Phoenix in Toronto. Surprisingly they said yes and I was one of three photographers in the pit that night. Feeling overwhelmed and underprepared but I just kept shooting and during the third song Jimmy Urine (lead singer) actually reached out his hand and pulled the photographers up on stage so we could shoot the next song from there. It was an unforgettable experience.

Anton Mak: I picked up my first camera years ago when I got into street and fashion photography. Soon after I realized that photography could be a vessel for me to get into live events, so I started building my portfolio covering local sports and concerts. One of the first shows I shot was at The Drake Hotel in Toronto where a friend of a friend was performing. With dim house lights paired with my crop frame sensor in the crowd, the photos did not come out great. I learned just how different shooting outdoors during the day compared to a dark basement really was.

Lindsay Blaine: I started off just by going to shows when I was a teenager and I would want to play music, but I knew that I was never really that good at it so I picked up a camera. I got my first DSLR at 16, and then I realized I could combine my passion for music with my passion for photography. I’ve been shooting shows since I was like 17, so for about 10 years, starting out in Victoria and now I’m based in Vancouver.

Morgan Harris: When it comes to photography, I do a bit of everything: portraits, product, film set stills, etc, but I have found a nice niche as an event photographer. There’s just something about capturing those candid split second moments I find so exciting. I’ve been working as a photo assistant for the past few years that has taken me to some really interesting places. From film sets up in Sudbury to backstage at the Rogers Centre, I’ve had some incredible opportunities to work with and learn from some amazing photographers.

I started shooting concerts when I was 17 years old. I played in a band at the time but quickly discovered that I was better at taking pictures of musicians rather than actually being one myself. The first show I ever photographed was for a local band’s album release party. I think they were called Night Safari. The photos turned out awful, but I loved it. After that night I knew that I was going to spend a lot of time behind a camera.

Katrina Lat: My formal photography training consists of a Grade 10 film photography unit… which I failed. In 2015, I decided to give it another try – I purchased a DSLR, fired off a few cold emails to local music publications, and scoured the internet for advice on how to operate a camera. Two days after the camera arrived, I shot my first ever show (The Bros. Ladreth @ The Great Hall in Toronto). When I look back at those photos, I can’t help but critique my colour correction, focusing, and framing… but the adrenaline of throwing myself right in there was incredible, as was the feeling that I was creating something of value rather than just being a passive observer at a show. A month later, I was accepted as a member of the SXSW Photography Crew. The 10-day mega festival was the ultimate bootcamp in event photography.

Drake performs with DVSN at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto on July 2, 2017. (Photo: Anton Mak/Aesthetic Magazine)

Drake performs with DVSN at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto on July 2, 2017. (Photo: Anton Mak/Aesthetic Magazine)

Roman Zugarazo: It started probably about I would say more than five years ago. I started touring locally shooting some concerts, so I would just go to the concerts and just do it for myself. I did that for about two years, and then at the same time I was still a drummer, so I was playing music with different people, and an opportunity came up to play with Ria Mae in Winnipeg.

After the show we were hanging out and started talking and I was like, “Hey, I do photos, and I would like to work with you some time.” And nothing happened for six months, almost a year, I think. But then I saw that she released some tour dates and the first show was in Vancouver, so I reached out and asked, “Hey, not sure if you remember me, but, I would like to come to your show and take some photos.” And she was like, “okay, but I’m not sure if we have a budget for that.” So I decided to go and take some photos and some video, and I went back home after the show and edited everything right away and sent it to her.

She emailed me a couple of hours later in the morning, and she was like, “Hey, would you like to come on tour? You would have to fly to Calgary tomorrow.” I said yes, and so the next day they sent me a plane ticket and I was on my way there. That was my first touring gig, and it was a cross Canada tour with Ria Mae, and Coleman Hell. And that evolved into doing a couple more tours, including a European tour with Tegan and Sara too.

After that I started working here and there with other artists where they would hire me for one-off shows. I did a bunch of stuff with Scott Hellman and I was freelancing for the longest time. I was working with different labels like Sony, and Warner, where they were just sending me to these shows and they were like, “Oh, we need content with this fan or we need content with another fan,” so it was a bit all over the place. But that turned out into working with The Tea Party, Our Lady Peace, Simo, and Banners, so it was a lot of small jobs, but I was still constantly touring.

Ruvan Wijesooriya: [I got my start around] 2000, probably 2002, 2001, and I started taking pictures, but I initially met a woman on a plane who was a fashion stylist, and I very randomly convinced her to give me a job. She was working with Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson and a lot of these very image-driven, image-heavy bands. After that, I gradually fell into doing music reviews for magazines and did some pictures and interviews. That kind of launched my career for a long time, and that lasted awhile until I started working exclusively with bands from New York as these bands became more successful.

I still have a very rock and roll aesthetic in fashion. At the time that LCD Soundsystem was breaking up, my book about them came out at the same time, so I was working exclusively with them for three months in London. There was a lot of crossover happening and so I transitioned out of exclusively doing music. I basically found that I enjoyed being a music photographer or photographing more than I enjoyed being a writer. [I felt that] having a camera made people feel less reserved about telling me about their lives, so the kind of people who I worked for include: Beastie Boys, The Prodigy, Futureheads, LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture, and Gnarls Barkley.

What was the last show or tour that you photographed?

Joanna Glezakos: Oh man, I had to look this up its been too long. The last concert I shot was Black Lips at Lee’s Palace in Toronto on February 29th, 2020.

Anton Mak: The last tour I was on was The Ignorant Forever Tour – NA with Saint Jhn. Lots of memorable moments working with Saint, one that stands out is the time we got arrested at the border. We had a show the night before in Worcester, Massachusetts, and we were travelling to Montreal for a show that night. At the border, we got off the bus to get our passport checked, very normal procedure. What wasn’t normal was how long they were taking to verify our documents. I couldn’t tell if it was the rapper stereotype or the Quebecois mentality, but they decided to flip the bus and go through our belongings. Don’t know how they got on the bus (or if they were even ours, idk), but some substances were found. We were arrested for well over five hours, lawyers were called and statements were taken. They eventually let us go, and we barely made the show in Montreal that night. The best part about that day had to be this picture.

Lindsay Blaine: The first week of March I was at Refused at The Commodore. And I did shoot The Strokes, and that was officially the last show.

Morgan Harris: Ironically enough the last show I covered is directly related to the first show I covered. One of the members of Night Safari, Jean Paul De Roover, was playing The Horseshoe Tavern in early March and I was hired to covered it. I always love covering Jean Paul and have been photographing him from literally the start of my career. Part of me wanted to retire from concert photography when everything shut down since it would act as a nice little bookend to my career, but I still have to photograph Bruce Springsteen, so as long as that’s on my to do list I don’t see myself giving up shooting concerts. The last show I covered for a magazine was Knuckle Puck at Sneaky Dee’s way back in February. My back is still sore from the mosh pit.

During the lockdown, the band I work with most frequently is called Goodnight, Sunrise, who hired me to photograph one of their livestream concerts. It was definitely an interesting experience. But they’re always so much fun to photograph so it was all in all a great project to be a part of.

TORONTO, ON: The Anti-Queens pose for a portrait in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo: Katrina Lat/Aesthetic Magazine)

Katrina Lat: Nyzzy Nyce at ScratcHouse in Austin, Texas on March 14. I was scheduled to cover SXSW 2020, but the festival was cancelled, so I decided to make the trek down to Austin anyways to visit friends, spend time in the city, and check out some of the unofficial SXSW events that were still scheduled. With things escalating quickly, I cut my trip short, and flew home the next day.

Roman Zugarazo: The last show that I shot Marianas Trench in Cologne at a venue called Luxor. I usually go back to my Instagram since that’s the best way for me to track because I still really forget everything and everywhere I’ve been.

Have you had any tours/shows postponed or canceled?

Joanna Glezakos: I was supposed to head to Austin for SXSW in March, and we started hearing rumors it might get cancelled. We were planning on driving from Toronto to Austin, leaving on the 11th but decided to wait a few days in case more news came out and two days later they cancelled it. I’m glad I wasn’t on the road when I found that out.

Anton Mak: I think everyone in the live music industry has been affected. Everything is postponed. Festivals, tours, concerts. We might not see another concert with an audience until the end of next year. Time to get used to IG live concerts and pre-recorded content.

Lindsay Blaine: Yeah, not too much tours, since I’m kind of in like a weird limbo since some artists are off-cycle or doing stuff later in the year. But definitely a lot of one-off shows, like I was suppose to cover a festival with Dear Rouge, stuff like that. So a lot of those one-off kind of things have obviously been canceled. I also had some stuff that was supposed to be in March, that’s now in June, but who knows if that will even happened. I also work for a lot of music festivals in Victoria, like Rifflandia, and Rock The Shores, which I don’t even know if it still exists, so now there’s a lot of uncertainty of whether or not these events are gonna happen. It’s just kind of like a weird limbo phase right now where we’re all kind of just waiting to see, the results of social distancing and how soon we can get back to normal.

Morgan Harris: I was supposed to go to SXSW for the first time this year, but COVID had other plans. That one hurt since SXSW is something I’ve always wanted to do, but I’ll have to wait another year before I can get that notch on my belt.

Katrina Lat:The biggest cancellation for me was SXSW. It would have been my fifth consecutive year in attendance, and I’d spent over six months preparing for the event by crafting spreadsheets and listening to the entire 1500+ artist lineup. I had also been scheduled for Great Escape, Governors Ball, and Osheaga.

Roman Zugarazo: I was supposed to be out with Marianas Trench in Australia for a week of shows but that was postponed for September. I’m not sure if that’s actually happening anymore because we keep getting bad news and we don’t know when live shows will go back to normal. I was also going to be out with them in Hawaii at the end of April but that was cancelled, It’s very unfortunate.

Ruvan Wijesooriya: Yeah, I mean there’s three different bands I was supposed to shoot since everything got canceled. I don’t know how the fuck they’re going to go on tour. I doubt it. So there’s been like all these kinds of Zoom video raves and things like this, but it’ll really be interesting to see what really starts to develop and how people adapt. And how people started to like change how music is consumed. Because I think right now there’s a lot of old modes of everything that aren’t going to be overwhelmed or underwhelmed, but they’re going to change.

TORONTO, ON – JULY 07: CHVRCHES performs at Rebel in Toronto on July 07, 2019. (Photo: Joanna Glezakos/Aesthetic Magazine)

How has the pandemic impacted your business? 

Joanna Glezakos: All of my shoots have either been cancelled or postponed till later this year.

Anton Mak: Definitely need to find new ways to use my camera during quarantine. I actually dropped by my friend’s place and got a couple pictures of him, posing through his window. Facetime shoots might be a wave but some of the photos I’ve seen from it aren’t bad.

Lindsay Blaine: Honestly right now, I have zero income because I can’t shoot since it’s not really allowed right now. So I think the thing that I can do the most right now is to kind of plan for when things are back to normal in the form of taking care of stuff I’ve been neglecting like working on my website and just working on creative ideas whenever I can. But in terms of actual work, I do have an online shop, so that’s one way that I’ve been involved to kind of transition a little bit. Obviously it’s not making the same amount of money as I would be shooting, but that is one way that you can kind of supplement your income a little bit as a photographer selling some prints or whatever. Apart from that, I’m just kind of working on ideas because that’s all I can really do right now.

Morgan Harris: At the moment my photography business is non-existent. On March 14, I lost an entire month’s worth of work in the span of three hours. Email after email of cancelled gigs and cancelled events. March-June is a surprisingly busy run of events for me, and all of that disappeared in the blink of an eye.

Katrina Lat: All of the events I had lined up for the next few months have been postponed, or cancelled. However, I have seen a slight uptick in the number of requests I’ve received for photo prints.

Roman Zugarazo: About a year and a half ago I started working full-time with 604 Records, which is the record label for Marianas Trench so luckily, I’m still working from home. On the other hand, my freelance work has definitely been impacted, but not to the extent that I’m losing a whole lot of money, but I am losing money because all of those other side gigs that I do photos and videos for are on hold right now, and some of them are not happening anymore. In terms of touring, all the shows that I mentioned are canceled for now but hopefully happening later in the year.

Right now, my job with Marianas Trench is basically like, “okay, we have to be creative. We have to come up with a bunch of new ideas to keep the fans entertained at this moment.” So it’s been a lot of like, “okay, what kind of things do we have through previous tours, and what content can we come up with, what can we do?”

How have you been able to adapt with the lack of concerts?

Joanna Glezakos: I’ve been working on personal photo and video projects I didn’t have time for before and building websites and social media strategies for clients.

Anton Mak: I think most concert photographers are pretty hard workers. We have to go to the show, stay up afterwards to edit, and then wake up the next day and do whatever we need to do. I definitely wasn’t getting enough sleep or taking care of myself, so this quarantine has given me some time recover. The mass amount of artists hopping on live to do a set have definitely helped. Finding old live streamed festivals too.

Lindsay Blaine: I’ve thought about that [filming photography tutorial videos], but I think that it has to come from a genuine place, you know? And I just feel like right now if I jumped on that trend, I’m just doing it for the sake of doing it. I love being able to share my knowledge and wisdom and stuff like that, but right now it just doesn’t feel authentic to me at a time where there’s so much uncertainty. If people want to send me a message and hit me up, I’m obviously gonna share what I know, but I feel a little bit like it’s just putting content out there. I just feel like there’s so many people doing that right now that it just feels like a lot of work for me and not a lot of payoff.

Morgan Harris: I’ve been trying to keep myself busy and giving myself projects to work on that are still related to the work I do shooting concerts. I was able to create a zine of my work that I’ll be publishing once things calm down and return to normal. It’s a project I’ve wanted to do for a while, but until now I never really made time for it. I’ve also been working on ways to expand my business once this lockdown is over. I started working on some music video pitches and even turned part of my bedroom into a photo studio. Also, Animal Crossing has been helping A LOT.

TORONTO, ON – JULY 29: Slash feat. Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators performs at Rebel in Toronto on July 29, 2019. (Photo: Joanna Glezakos/Aesthetic Magazine)

Katrina Lat: I began 2020 with the decision that I wanted to cut down on my concert-going frequency (for reference, I attended 171 shows in 2019). So, while the sudden erasure of concerts in my life is definitely a shock to the system, this mindframe helped soften the blow. My days used to be jam-packed from shooting shows, editing photos, and working my day job. Nowadays, I’m grateful for this time to think, read, cook, play my instruments, write, learn, and edit old photos.

Roman Zugarazo: For a band like Marianas Trench, they have such a long career that it’s easy for them to do a lot of throwbacks or go back and repurpose content. In terms of coming up with new content, we’ve been talking to the guys about doing things like livestreams, guitar lessons, reaction videos to old performances, story time, etc.

Recently I started doing a video series with the lead singer Josh Ramsay. He likes cooking so we started a YouTube channel called “Rock and Roll Kitchen,” and hopefully we can keep that going and maybe have guests over video calls. It’s a lot of experimenting and coming up with new ideas at the moment. The other idea I’m excited about is the music video they want to put together. We want to have fans involved so the idea is to have everyone film from home and submit their videos so we can edit it later.

Ruvan Wijesooriya: I don’t feel backdraft right now. I feel like, “Oh, there’s like a million new opportunities,” but I think that’s only because of it focused on new media and how to make my own voice in new media, if that makes sense. Whereas I think if you’re familiar to the grind on going out and being in crowds and taking pictures and that’s the only thing that you know how to do and if you’ve been making money off of that for the last five years, then you’re in a really fucking tough place. I don’t know if that’s going to happen with this, but I’ve been selling a lot of abstract work and selling a lot of prints and in some ways that replaced the income that I was formerly making in editorial because I didn’t feel like it was editorial. They just didn’t pay as much as I could make doing other things, but it wasn’t as fun as it used to be because it’s just so overwhelming and a lot of people who hire me who tell me too much about what to do and then just like, I already want to do this, you know?

TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 23: Brittany Howard performs at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto on September 23, 2019. (Photo: Katrina Lat/Aesthetic Magazine)

How effectively do you think the live music industry will recover from this pandemic?

Joanna Glezakos: I’m not sure how effectively the music industry can recover. It will depend on the people. Maybe this time away will make people miss the feeling of being in a crowded room with a bunch of strangers singing their favourite songs or maybe this makes people realize they don’t need to leave the comfort of their own home to listen to live music with how livestreaming has taken off.

Anton Mak: I think until there is a vaccine to the coronavirus, people will remain scared of congregating in large groups. Even then, there will probably remain fear of contracting the virus. It really comes down to the star power of the artist because at the end of the day if a fan’s attachment to the artist is strong enough, people will show up. The pandemic will probably affect the shows of newer, up and coming artists, more than the established artists.

I think this break in live music will allow the industry to make some alterations to their operations. Money will always be made, but I think livestreaming shows will become more popular, and the addition of VR will be heavily implemented. The artists will be able to reach all their fans at once, and sell unlimited virtual tickets. They could even do multiple shows and separate fans by geography. The downside will be the lowering of in person shows, affecting the venues and their staff. The vanishing of music venues have already started. Who knows, but mark my words if I’m right.

Morgan Harris: I think we can pretty much expect to see no major concerts or events for the rest of 2020. We finally got Rage Against the Machine and My Chemical Romance reunions and I doubt we won’t actually see them until 2021 at the earliest. Eventually the music industry will recover, but I think we are a couple of years away from seeing massive festival crowds. When this is over, people are going to be scared and they’ll be nervous about being in large crowds. Even when social distancing orders are relaxed, I think we will see a real reluctance from concert goers about wanting to be in a space with that many people, and eventually their trepidation will pass but it won’t be right away.

In the short-term, the live music industry will definitely shrink. Once the lockdown ends I can see a lot of talented people switching careers. Longer term is hard to say. Venues in Toronto already have such a hard time keeping their doors open with all of them being dark for months I’m worried we are going to see a lot of venues shut their doors for good. What makes the Toronto live music scene so great is the number of venues we have and the wide range of artists playing across the city each night. But if we start losing even more venues we could lose a lot of what makes Toronto such a great city to live in.

Katrina Lat: It will be tough, and it will take time. The live music industry is among the hardest hit. Even once it’s allowed to operate again, the economic blowback from this pandemic will leave many people without disposable income for shows or events. However, there are many smart, capable, and determined individuals who are behind the wheel – people who have both a financial and personal incentive to course correct things. After all, you don’t get involved in the music industry unless it’s something you are passionate about.

Previously, very few events opted for insurance that would cover them during a pandemic. Similarly to how post 9/11 events started opting in for terrorism insurance, COVID-19 will prompt organizers to purchase pandemic insurance. Livestreams, which are more popular than ever nowadays, will continue to be prevalent even in a post-pandemic world, as artists and fans better understand the value of the platform. The industry will become further consolidated. Independent festivals, promoters, and music venues will be hit heavily by the pandemic. Many will cease to exist, or be purchased by larger players. Artists, who might typically rely on live performances for a large portion of their revenue, will look to achieve greater income diversification. This could be through sync licensing, sponsorship, e-commerce merchandise sales, Patreon, etc. On a more positive note, sales of musical instruments have increased, so maybe more new music and technical proficiency will arise from this.

Ruvan Wijesooriya: How people experience music is going to have to change. I don’t know what it’s going to change into, but I think that you can see people gravitating more and more towards digital solutions and engaging in that, but what that’s going to turn into, I have no idea, but I have a feeling that creative people are going to have to have to turn that way. If you’re an event photographer, what the fuck are you going to take picture of? Because getting portraits of different people, I don’t know how that’s going to work because sending people back and forth to people’s homes and shit isn’t going to happen. But I mean, that’s fair because I also think that magazines and shit aren’t as interesting as they used to be and probably not as necessary anymore. Other platforms will emerge.

ELORA, ON - AUGUST 17: July Talk performs at Riverfest Elora in Elora, Ontario on August 17, 2018. (Photo: Morgan Harris/Aesthetic Magazine)

ELORA, ON – AUGUST 17: July Talk performs at Riverfest Elora in Elora, Ontario on August 17, 2018. (Photo: Morgan Harris/Aesthetic Magazine)

What would be your advice for other photographers looking to keep busy during this pandemic?

Joanna Glezakos: First, don’t feel pressured to stay busy. If you’re feeling like you want to do something but not sure what, take a course, watch Youtube tutorials, learn new skills, practice lighting with stuff around your house. Take the time to fall back in love with photography without any requirements.

Anton Mak: Stay hungry. Go back to old photos and rework them. We live in the age where everything is at the tip of our fingers. Infinite amounts of knowledge can be found on the internet. I’m not telling anyone what to do with their time, but if you find yourself will some downtime during quarantine, improve on yourself or your craft, and come out better.

Lindsay Blaine: What would be a better thing for a lot of photographers is take this time to learn video. Because honestly, half of the jobs that I’ve gotten, I wouldn’t have gotten if I didn’t also know how to do video. Take the time to learn a new skill.  You don’t have to be good at it right away, but we have all of this time. You can record around your house, you can learn about frame rates, and color grading and how to put stuff together. Even if you’re not shooting a show, you can still learn, and then you can apply that later to something else.

Morgan Harris: Honestly it’s a global pandemic and we’re all scared. There’s no shame in not being as productive as possible when the entire world is shut down. Take your time and work as much or as little as you want. If you’re trying to stay busy, I would recommend trying out a new style of photography you haven’t really tried before. Maybe set up a little studio in your kitchen and practice some food photography, or take a walk and try your hand at street photography. When we’re working, it’s so easy to find ourselves pigeonholed into one style. This is a great time to try something new with no expectations and no pressure. For example, I learned I am not very good at all at architectural photography.

Katrina Lat: Spend some time revisiting your old material. As we’re usually running to shows every week, we get caught up in the hustle of processing and sharing new shots. It’s usually tough to find the time to look back, and we have a tendency to prioritize our most recent material versus old photos that might no longer be “relevant”.

Roman Zugarazo: Learn new skills like video editing or animation, anything that will make you more hireable. See the opportunity that is presenting right now. And instead of being like, “Oh God, I lost my job,” reach out to the bands that you’ve been working with because I can guarantee you that every single band is looking for content right now. Find new ways to help them and to bring up new projects and try to just bring new ideas. Find a way to keep yourself busy. Give yourself some training in video, and try to bring up video ideas for bands because a lot of bands don’t have that ability to record themselves or they don’t have that idea to edit videos or edit photos or stuff like that. So that’s when you come in and you can be that creative person helping the band.

TORONTO, ON - JULY 22: Brendon Urie of Panic at the Disco performs at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on July 22, 2018. (Photo: Katrina Lat/Aesthetic Magazine)

TORONTO, ON – JULY 22: Brendon Urie of Panic at the Disco performs at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on July 22, 2018. (Photo: Katrina Lat/Aesthetic Magazine)

Ruvan Wijesooriya: I have no idea. Obviously everything’s moving really quickly into video content just because with the bands that they work with, and if your goal was to capture that moment and share it with other people, you know, sometimes the music photographers just want an excuse to be there and be shooting and whatever, right? But there’s other people who are really trying to like convey this thing and whatever else. I think it was probably done way better before. Like Charles Peterson shooting Nirvana where those kind of pictures just don’t exist anymore. So something like Bob Gruen shooting Bob Dylan or Mick Rock shooting David Bowie, you know what I’m saying?

Anything having to do with events, all the event planners, all the wedding planners, all the weddings [will all be effected]. The idea of wedding photography can now expand into something that it’s never been before. And what that turns into, I mean usually people get portraits of them getting married, but if you can turn that into a larger story or something and turn it into like a pantomime thing and then make money off of it by distributing it to all the people who would have been invited to the wedding, you know, you almost have to become a director in order to figure out how to make it entertaining and cool and represent the love between two people. But if you figure that shit out, than you got a job.

What are some ways people can support photographers during the pandemic?

Joanna Glezakos: You can always support photographers for free by following their socials, liking and commenting or sharing their pics, this is always appreciated to help work be seen and get future jobs. And most photographers have a shop on their website where you can purchase prints, merch, or Lightroom presets if you want to play around with some photo techniques yourself!

Anton Mak: Check in on your friends and family. Give them a call and actually talk to them. Mental health is super important in times like this, make sure everyone’s doing alright. I know lots of creatives down on themselves without anything to do. Just remind them that humans are resilient. One of my friends had this great quote that went something along the lines of; “you create yourselves into opportunities. You can create your way in, you can also create your way out. But if you can’t create, you’re stuck.” Keep creating.

Lindsay Blaine: Honestly just sharing [a photographer’s] work makes such a huge impact. Even if you’re not financially able to support your favourite creator, you can still show their work and bring awareness to what they do and what’s cool about them and their work. So that’s still a really big asset. Not all support has to be monetary, you know. I don’t care about social media numbers, but ultimately it does make a difference. Your work being seen and shopping and all that stuff grabs the attention of people who may not have previously been aware of your work.

Morgan Harris: The easiest way is buying prints. But I understand that budgets are tight and lots of people are out of work. So another great way to show support would be to share your favourite photographers work. A Facebook or Twitter share could go a long way in introducing a photographer to new clients.

Katrina Lat: Many photographers have online stores where you can purchase their prints. Even if they don’t have a store, you can reach out to them directly and inquire about a photo that you’d love. They’ll likely be happy you appreciate their art, and can work something out for you.

Roman Zugarazo: I seen a lot of a lot of photographer friends selling prints of their own work right now. I’m personally not a big fan of that because I feel like you are kind of profiting from the band. There’s different thoughts about that, but I totally support it if people are doing it. I’ve seen a lot of photographers just trying to sell prints of their work which is a cool idea.

TORONTO, ON - JULY 24: Wiz Khalifa performs at Budweiser Stage in Toronto on July 24, 2018. (Photo: Anton Mak/Aesthetic Magazine)

TORONTO, ON – JULY 24: Wiz Khalifa performs at Budweiser Stage in Toronto on July 24, 2018. (Photo: Anton Mak/Aesthetic Magazine)

What kind of role do you think music will have to help us recover from this pandemic?

Joanna Glezakos: Music has always brought people together, it’ll be how we heal from all this.

Anton Mak: Music sets the tone of the type of day people have. If you listen to upbeat music, you may have a better day than listening to sad songs. Even if you’re passively listening, what you input into your ears affect alters your mood. You have to find ways to stay sane in quarantine, and music can help with that.

Lindsay Blaine: Talking about art, specifically related to this time period right now, it depends on if people are feeling creative because I know for a lot of people this kind of is really draining and it seems really hopeless because it’s like you don’t know when it’s going to end. I think that our usual ways of creating art are challenged right now.  I see a lot of photographers working on self portraits or doing photo sessions where people are on their front porch. It was just challenged by that concept that you can’t get close to your subjects and you can’t be in a large group or whatever. So, I mean, I personally haven’t really been creating very much right now. I think I’ve channeled my creativity into other mediums like video games, and just considering different kinds of creative skills. So I think a lot of people are finding other creative outlets, not just their traditional medium they work in.

Morgan Harris: Music is one of the few things that really brings people together. From watching live streams over Zoom to just talking about new releases with your friends, music does a great job of reminding us that we aren’t alone. We may be getting annoyed with all the social media challenges making people post their favourite albums and tagging five friends, but honestly I’ve never known more about the musical tastes of my friends and that alone is pretty cool. We may be separated from the people we care about, but there’s always a livestream you can watch over Zoom or Instagram with your friends. It’s not the same as singing along with 2000 strangers to your favourite band, but for now it’ll have to do.

Katrina Lat: Music has always brought people together, soothed anxiety, and provided a cathartic outlet. Now, more than ever, we need all of these things.

Roman Zugarazo: Music in general is currently keeping everyone entertained and helping them to not go crazy during self isolation, I think music is one of those things that acts as a therapy for a lot of people. I’m happy to see musicians doing their part and popping up on live streams keeping their fan base entertained, it makes people forget a little bit about the crazy situation we are going through.

Ruvan Wijesooriya: I think the exciting thing is that there will be a change to the modes of [art] production and to somehow, create a synergy between the digital and what art is and how it can be consumed. We’re at a point where all those things are changing and I think people’s values are totally different. Like there are these people who I know who are very successful and they just launched a campaign to [for people to buy] this new print by so and so, and to me, I’m thinking that involves production. It involves budgets, whatever else. My guess is if the same curator wanted to, they could probably hit up every fucking artist that they know and have some something that’s already printed, donated, and do one crazy big ass show with all this shit that already exists rather than making all sorts of new stuff. And I think that that’s what I mean by modes of production and really figuring out what already exists and what can we use that we already have that we’re not looking at.

Last year I was working as a photographer at an event called Potato Head in Bali, and I was walking with one of the chefs, and they were foraging. Like they’d be walking by shit, and they’d be picking it up and eating it and half the stuff they’re doing was absolutely delicious. I had no idea that I was walking around all this really incredible food everytime I was going to the beach. So they take it home, fry it up, and it’s super yummy, so there’s a lot of stuff that’s around that’s valuable that we choose not to see because no one’s really told us that we can use certain things in new ways. I think that’s what art and creativity is going to pull out of this because I think that a lot of the formats were outmoded, a lot of creative people were kind of tired of how a lot of things were working. You know, how many great musicians do you know who don’t have like a presenter’s voice? They don’t have the same kind of viewership or appreciation as someone who in this culture right now has a very good presenters voice has. So are those things going to equalize out?

TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 07: Wu-Tang Clan performs at MattyFest in Toronto on September 07, 2019. (Photo: Morgan Harris/Aesthetic Magazine)

With social distancing measures in place, what kind of impact do you think that will have on concerts going forward?

Joanna Glezakos: Since reading that live shows might not resume till next fall, I’m feeling like well at least they’re thinking we can still get back into it but that’s a long time. I know I definitely can’t be a concert photographer without any concerts to shoot, this is definitely a time of major changes and shifts.

Anton Mak: Ticket prices are going up up up uppity.

Lindsay Blaine: Hopefully we’re going to kind of see smaller scale of events before we see big scale events return. I think people will be quite nervous to be in a large group because you don’t really know. So I think that people will probably start focusing on smaller local events if that doesn’t involve a lot of travel as well. So hopefully we’ll see more of a resurgence within local music industries in each city. That’s my hope for how things could go in terms of starting small and then when the virus has dissipated more we can get back to festivals and larger events.

Morgan Harris: For a little while we will probably lower the amount of tickets sold at a show. Instead of a sell out crowd being 1600 people, maybe they only release 1000 tickets. That will allow more space between concert goers and lower the risk of infection. On the other hand that will increase the ticket demand so we may see a large increase in ticket prices, which to begin with are not cheap. So maybe think about getting a camera. It’s not a bad way to get into shows for free.

Katrina Lat: I don’t think concerts will, or should, return until social distancing measures are no longer necessary. However, if the two ever coexist, strict measures should be put in place. Venue capacities will be decreased to limit exposure, fan meet-and-greets will be cancelled to keep artists safe, and screening checkpoints should be put in place to bar individuals displaying symptoms.

Roman Zugarazo: It will definitely take some time for people to be comfortable going to concerts again. The touring business won’t be back to normal until probably next year which means everyone working in the live entertainment industry will take a massive hit. I love the idea of having Drive-In concerts, maybe that’s the way to keep the live concerts alive until they find a solution to this problem.

Ruvan Wijesooriya: I think concerts will become smaller and more intimate since they can’t quite exist with social distancing. It will be quite a while until there’s another show at MSG or even a local venue.


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