Smac Photography

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By Kenada Quinlan

5 minutes with Music Photographer Silvana Macarone of Smac Photography

Silvana Macarone has been taking live shots of local Brisbane artists and major national and international acts for over 8 years. From humble student beginnings to a Sydney relocation and back again, this music professional has survived many a mosh pit in the line of duty. 4ZZZ catches up with the visual artist about the highlights, hard work and occupational hazards of being on the frontline.

 

Ben Kweller

 

 

 

When and how did you start your career?

I began shooting live music early on, basically bringing my camera to any gig they’d let me shoot at. I set up my business Smac Photography and was first published in 2002. I completed a Bachelor of Photography at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University in 2003 but I was already published in BLUNT Magazine, Australian Guitar and various local mags by then.

While continuing to shoot for BLUNT and Australian Guitar, I also went on to shoot for Rolling Stone Australia, plus zines Bizoo, Utopia, as well as various non-music related Magazines, also covering LIVID, Splendour In The Grass, The Woodford Folk Festival, M1 for MMM, East Coast Blues and Roots Festival, eventually moving to Sydney in 2004. There were more opportunities in Sydney and I was able to expand into CD Covers, promos and touring with bands including The Bronx and The Art.

What happened next?

After moving back to Brisbane in 2008, I continue to freelance. Contributing weekly to Time Off Magazine and covering gigs for other live music hubs like Life Music Media, as well as expanding my events folio to include the Northern Brisbane Rollers Derby bouts, I’ve also returned to the Studio. I head back to Sydney yearly to cover the Monster Sessions MS Fundraiser held by Zombie Dog Entertainment, which is old Punk bands reforming to fundraise for MS. It’s a great cause and is always good fun.

 

SpitFireLiar

 

 

When was the moment that you decided you wanted to be a rock photographer?

There wasn’t really a particular inspirational moment – it was more of a natural progression, combining my two loves, music and photography.

What is your most memorable show you’ve photographed?

I’d have to say The Divinyls headlining Homebake in 2007.  The Divinyls have been one of my favourite bands since I was a kid.  Seeing them reform and having the opportunity not only to see them live, but to photograph them, was amazing.

Have there been any roadblocks along the way?

In 2005 my house was broken into.  My computer and equipment were stolen as well as boxes full of negatives, most of my folio.  I was new to Sydney and so it came as quite a blow.  I was essentially back at square one, having to shell out for new equipment and build up my folio again. And of course, there are those precious images I’ll never get back.

As for other challenges… well, getting kicked in the head is an occupational hazard, because you’re working with your back to the crowd, so the random boot of a crowd surfer pulled down over the barricade by security has more than once made contact with the back of my head.  Then there was the time I nearly got my head taken off by some pyrotechnics at a Muse gig in Sydney.

Slash

The less romantic side of photography…

Well, the equipment tends to get heavy after lugging it around for a while, which is great for your back.  Then there’s getting rained out at festivals, with said heavy equipment, dodging all the water and the mud.  And camping at said festival, in said mud and water, with said heavy equipment, and no dry clothes left.  But the highs far outweigh the lows.

Do you have any advice for anyone who is considering becoming a music photographer?

It’s more than just point and click. You’d think that was obvious, but you’d be surprised.  It’s definitely a ‘for the love’ job, not ‘for the money’.

What are you most looking forward to coming up in the next 6 months?

I will be participating in a fundraising exhibition on December 2 for the Northern Brisbane Rollers, my Roller Derby league. The series I’m exhibiting is called Derby Dolls. I have taken some of the derby girls and turned them into fifties pinups, and will exhibit them alongside live images from this year’s bouts.

 

Northern Brisbane Rollers

 

 

View live shots of Slash, Metallica, SpitFireLiar, Murder Junkies, Brisbane Roller Derby and more at the Smac Photography online gallery.

For updates see Smac Photography on Facebook.

Next Events:
Northern Brisbane Roller Derby, Convention Centre, Southbank, Saturday November 20 – Facebook Event Page

Northern Brisbane Rollers Fundraiser Exhibition, Woolloongabba Art Gallery Thursday December 2 @ 6:30pm – Photography, performance art, bands and raffle – one night only! For updates keep tabs on Smac Photography

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