Jacob Pedersen interviewed by Zakariyya Paruk
Jacob Pedersen, also known as Alterego Visuals is a photographer and videographer based out of Brisbane, Australia. He studied Bachelor of Multimedia, majoring in Film at Griffith University. Coming from a background of film, Jacob had always turned down photography opportunities until he decided to shoot some photos with friends in order to develop his skills. He believed that having the prior camera knowledge through film helped him to achieve a quicker learning curve, compared to the usual time it takes to learn photography. He is now a very competent photographer who shoots many professional applications, most notably his stage and music photography. Jacob also plays a role in content creation for one of Brisbane’s best lifestyle and fashion blogs, DopeKoto.
What first drew you to photography and how did you discover it?
What first drew me to photography would have to be more of a personal drive to develop my skills and offer more versatility in my career and field. I started off shooting video when I got my first camera, a Canon 7d and then I used to always turn down photo opportunities until I decided to shoot some photos with a few friends and try to develop my skills.
I think the fact I had shot video prior made my learning curve a bit quicker.
In your opinion what makes a memorable photograph?
A memorable photograph to me would be one that captures a moment or a feeling, if someone can look at a photo and have a reaction then I think the image has served its purpose. As long as the viewer receives a message or can interpret the photo in a certain way or it makes them feel something then that would make it memorable for me as a viewer and I hope my images portray this to people too.
What do you think are some clichés in photography these days and how do you try to steer yourself away from them?
Clichés at the current time I think would include the subject matter people are choosing lately, there seems to be a lot of people picking up a DSLR and taking photos of people on the street randomly, processing the image into black and white and calling it street photography. I try to make my images interesting or have something else to them than the usual. When shooting live music I try to pick certain shots that no one else shoots or experiment with different lenses which has lead me to some really interesting images where I’ve held my camera with my 11-16mm Tokina lens on it as close as 1 metre from an international artists face and managed to get a really unique photo from that, although it seemed a little intrusive at the time I think it was worth it.
What got you into stage/live photography?
A few people I’ve shot video work with before started getting better live gigs and I started to offer to come along and shoot for them. From there I ended up getting in contact with a publication or two and just went from there. Although there’s no real money in stage or live music photography unless you’re one of the best, I still see the value in getting to attend shows I would most likely be paying to go and getting one of the best seats in the house for part or all of the show for free.
What do you think is the politic behind your work? What do you want to tell the audience?
I want to immerse the audience in my images and have them feel like they were part of that moment or at that location, I have never thought too deep into messages behind my work. As I think most of my work is dependant on reacting to the subject or location rather than a planned message or concept behind a photo or planned shoot.
Do you want to tell a story with your photography?
Of course I think that’s most photographers aim in the end is to portray a story or an emotion to whoever is viewing their images. I take pride when I get a gallery from a live show together and there’s a few images in there that you can show to someone and have them nearly feel like they were there themselves. I think this is a reason why video is making strides and becoming more important also as it offers a more immersive experience.
Have any photographers influenced you? Mentor?
I look up to a lot of people actually and I think I’m lucky enough to have been in contact with a number of the people I consider the best live music photographers in Australia. Tristan Stuart Eduardo and Pat Stevenson are two Sydney based guys that are really connected and shoot huge shows and do a great job at it too. Matsu Photography is a Perth based guy who produces his own style on his images and is a photoshop wizard. Local guys I look up to are Mitch Lowe and Isaac Sharp and I’m lucky enough to call those two guys friends. In terms of other photography like portraits or street photography some friends and I have a group that we always share our images and discuss tips and critique each others work and I definitely look up to those guys too, Kebun, Litshotz, Theives / Ricky Collier are a few guys who really push themselves to improve every time they pick up a camera. I think that kind of environment has helped me improve a lot and also sending some of my work through to the others mentioned earlier and asking for tips or improvements has been a big help too.
How do you get yourself inspired for a photoshoot?
Depending what sort of shoot it is, if it’s portrait stuff I usually try to look for examples on poses to try out and try to find locations that are unique and not used too much by others. Live music is something I don’t think you can really get inspired for as it tends to be more of a reaction type of photography, not much planning can go into it as you have to work with what the artists give you on stage. I sometimes listen to an artists music if I am shooting a gig of theirs coming up to try to be able to feel it a bit more and I think that helps a little.
Can you describe what your post-process workflow is like?
Most of my editing is done in lightroom and I use a pretty basic workflow. I usually go through end delete all the bad images that I know are no good and then work my way through and correct any colours as best I can on certain images and use those corrections as presets across the best images with similar colours and lighting. Sometimes I will export and edit too many images so have to cull back a few of the ones I feel are least impressive to maintain a strong final gallery of work.
What was the defining moment that you think launched your career in photography?
I honestly don’t think I’ve reached that point yet that’s really launched a proper career out of my photography. A few chance meetings have helped and make you really understand that a big part of the business is networking and proving the worth of your work to someone. I think one big moment would be shooting Listen Out in Brisbane last year, I met a lot of music photographers while shooting which was good for networking but I ended up with a really strong gallery of images which I then used to obtain bigger and better shows.
If you could take your art in any direction without fear of failure or rejection, where would it lead? What type of new things would you try?
That’s such a broad concept, I think photography is still an art form so I don’t really consider there to be failures, only chances to improve in future. If I had nothing to fear though I’d really push for bigger shows and bigger artists and put together a strong gallery to land gigs touring with artists
Do you have a specific favourite photo / photoset?
I took a trip to Japan last year and photographed literally everything so there’s a huge set of photos from that trip that I really like, I think more the fact that it was a whole new experience for me and the fact I could capture those moments really play a part in that. I have a few live music photos that I really like also and my Listen Out Gallery is still a favourite of mine along with images I took of A$AP Rocky on his recent tour.
Alter Ego Visuals – https://alteregovisuals.co/