During one of the biggest shows I’ve ever covered, I was asked to exit the pit three different times by three different male security guards, while the man I was standing right next to with the same credentials as me was not.
ANTI-STANDARD, ANTI-STANDARD WHAT IS ANTI-STANDARD? Well like it’s like a high school reunion, where I rent out a VFW and we all huddle around one table eating tortilla chips, talking about art.
Anti-Standard #14 is a bit like a high school reunion, for me at least! Caroline and I graduated together and since then she’s been photographing concerts, writing poetry, and working on Troika Magazine, an online digital platform she and Renee Newman began. Here’s what we talked about!
T+P): Describe (in as much or as little detail as you’d like) your journey as a photographer.
CE): I first started taking photos in grade school because my parents would buy me a Kodak disposable film camera when we would go on trips (which I think was only a trick to keep me from getting bored and complaining about it), which turned into a love for taking pictures of everything everywhere I went. I focused on portraiture when I was about 14 and started doing senior portraits, which grew into the conceptual, boudoir and now music photography. I fell out of photography for a while because I saw people creating beautiful work and let it intimidate me, but now I just find joy in seeing myself grow as a creator. Some of my favorite work gets the least attention on social media and it took me way too long to find value in being proud of my own work without needing the validation of likes or retweets. I’ve learned that you have to put yourself into a headspace where you can still take inspiration from and hype up fellow creators without immediately comparing and putting yourself down.
T+P): What is the weirdest/craziest experience you’ve had in the photo pit at a show (or after/before a show)?
Honestly, I haven’t any “crazy experiences” to say. A lot of what public perception is of working in the music industry isn’t how things really are (in my own experience, at least). Usually, the craziest thing to happen in pits is getting kicked out of them, because oftentimes security sees a girl and assumes you’re a fangirl trying to sneak in, and I have to point out the clearly visible photo pass. During one of the biggest shows I’ve ever covered, I was asked to exit the pit three different times by three different male security guards, while the man I was standing right next to with the same credentials as me was not.
T+P): Which show that you’ve photographed would you like to photograph every night if you could and WHY?
CE): If I could go on tour with WSTR it would be a dream. I ended up at their show because I was photographing a local Connecticut band, Say What You Will, who was opening for them. These guys are amazing live performers and you can tell they were just born to be on stage. Even their touring photographer, Anthoni Grande, was seriously one of the nicest music photographers I have ever personally met. There’s, unfortunately, a lot of competition in this industry, so when you find musicians and photographers that are more than happy to make you feel welcome, rather than intimidated, they stand out. Not to mention I had been listening to their music for years now, so it was a really cool experience. That’s definitely my favorite show to date.
T+P): If you could go back and give your just-starting-out artist self one piece of advice what would it be?
CE): To my baby-music-photographer self, I would say that you don’t need to push yourself so hard. When I first started, I was trying to cram as many shows as possible into a week while working two jobs and taking classes. I absolutely loved it, but sleeping and eating were nowhere near the top of my priority list, which led to a lot of burnout. We live in a kind of dysfunctional “grind” work culture, especially in America, that insists if you aren’t putting all of your time into your dream, it won’t happen. Taking a day off won’t break your career. Getting a goodnight’s sleep and waiting to edit until the morning, rather than in the venue or on the drive home, won’t break your career. Stretching yourself too thin and going at full speed for months on end will hurt you more than taking a few days off ever will.
T+P): When it comes to writing, what inspires you the most?
CE): I started writing poetry during my junior year in high school after spending some time in a hospitalization program. It was a weird place in my life where I was struggling with coming out, was separated from my friends, and hated talking to anyone about what I was going through or feeling, and so I turned to writing to express that. When I published my first book, I mainly wrote about mental health, drawing from that experience. Now, I still draw from those feelings of alienation and identity, but a lot of my pieces revolve around sex and sexuality (specifically normalizing the diversity of both). I look back at the poetry I used to write and hate how I used to romanticize what was honestly killing me, but I think all artists learn from their past work (or at least I’ll tell myself that). Regardless, these topics are not discussed nearly enough, and I want to do my tiny part in trying to change that.
T+P): What current projects are you working on AND what is next for you?
CE): Right now, me and another talented photographer, Renee Newman, are working on expanding Troika, the online media outlet we launched last month. We have some cool collaborations in the works I’m really excited about! Leading a team of photographers and writers has forced me to take a step back from my usual routine, and I’m honestly improving as a result. I’m also finishing up another poetry chapbook about my experience growing into my identity and sense of self. I hope to get that out soon!
CHECK OUT CAROLINE’S LINKS: