Interview: Chubbs By Design – Photography
Chubbs is a freelance designer whose work ranges from websites to shopfronts and everything in between. Amidst that creative melting pot, live music photography is his passion and a favourite form of personal expression. This month, Mojo Junction was lucky enough to chat with him and feature some of his recent photos taken at Mullumbimby Music Festival, and earlier this year at Byron Bluesfest.
Tell us about the Chubbs By Design Instagram account.
I started the Chubbs By Design account at the start of 2015. As a designer I always find it especially difficult to put out my own work. With client work, there are always constraints, and the job is to achieve the best outcome within those constraints. But what if there were no constraints? If you could make anything, what would you make? What is a true representation of you?
Visual design is always going to be a subjective subject; it is much the same as music. Everyone has their own personal opinion and will like different things for different reasons. During a live performance an artist is exposing their raw creative emotion, feeling, and talent to the world. Everyone who hears and sees the performance has their own unique way of interpreting it; the photos I take are simply my interpretation.
What sort of camera/s do you use?
Canon 5D Mark II. All of my music photography is using a Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8. I definitely wouldn’t say it’s the best setup for live music—there have been plenty of shots I’ve missed because of lighting, but there are other shots that look beautiful because of the set up. From a one-hour set I am trying to capture a 1/200-of-a-second moment in time.
Do you get media passes and stand up close in the nose bleed or are you pulling this magical genius from the back of the room?
I haven’t had any special access to take the photos, it’s just about working with what you’ve got. Life is about circumstance, it’s about moments in time, it’s about that feeling that you get deep inside yourself … it is all the things you can’t describe. What I am simply trying to do is capture just a few of those moments. Every gig is different, even the same band in the same venue on each individual night will be different. That’s what makes it special.
How can you fully convey the emotion of a performance in a single image? For example, listening to Jo Jo Smith, you only get a small fraction of seeing her live, the presence she has, the way she holds herself in a room, the glowing beam of light that seems to radiate from her. You can take a photo of her singing one of her songs and get none of that, but to capture when she throws a cheeky grin to the drummer, to capture that raw moment, conveys some of the feeling.
Do you have any favourite photographers or Instagram accounts?
I just started following @bjornsphoto. Awesome shots coming through on my feed, definitely inspiration to pick up the camera and get back out there!
Do you do videography? If so, do you have a fav—videography or photography?
I do filming, editing and some After Effects. My favourite video is probably a clip I did at the start of the year, as it was the first collaboration with my brother. He was the sound engineer recording some live demos for PLTS at Double Bassment so I tagged along and set up some cameras. We ended up with a clip.
All these photos on the ‘Chubbs By Design’ Instagram account are of live gigs—do you enjoy taking other shots? Do you have another account you wanna share?
Living in the Northern Rivers we are truly blessed with the amount of amazingly talented musicians who reside in this area, not to mention the artists who travel past, the Chubbs By Design account is just a reflection of that.
Who would be a dream gig to photograph?
There is always a decision whether to enjoy the moment or to capture it. You can enjoy capturing the moment but to do that you have a level of disconnect from being in the moment. There are so many gigs I’d like to shoot but I’d be just as likely to be busting it out on the dance floor.
What inspires you?
The musicians putting their creative essence out for the world to see, hear and enjoy who have inspired me to create the photographs. I would love my photographs to pass on that inspiration to someone else so they create, enjoy and inspire too.
Photography has a beautiful connection with the music. I find that live performances are very much like taking the photos themselves. The musicians’ emotions, energy and positioning is mirrored by framing, arrangement and timing.
Check out more of Chubbs’ work here
Interview by Shelly Brown