Christelle Duvenage is well known on the live band photography circuit for her capabilities to capture the raw expressive emotions with her camera of the artist on stage. She does it in such a manner that conveys the authenticity and honesty of the live performance. She received her B. Tech in Commercial Photography in 2007 and has been shooting at most of the major music festivals and live music venues around Gauteng ever since.
Christelle has a huge personal love and appreciation for the alternative music scene and the seemingly endless supply of extraordinary talent entwined there within. She has mastered the art of black and white photography through her meticulous attention to detail, unifying the realm of photography and fine art. There’s no doubt that she is really good at what she does and she wishes that with her photography she can contribute positively to the growth and well-being of the scene of which she hopes to still be a part of for many years to come.
Just check out some of her photos that are posted throughout this article and you’ll see that she’s definitely one of the most talented photographers in South Africa.
I recently had the opportunity to speak to Christelle Duvenage and ask her a few questions, this is what she had to say
What would you say fascinates you the most about the South African music scene and why?
I suppose it is the sincerity of the live performance. You can see people fake it off stage, wearing their masks, trying their best to make people believe they are something they are not, but you can’t hide from yourself on stage. Or at least that is what I have found (most of the time) photographing live band photography over the last couple of years.
Furthermore I just love the raw talent we have in South Africa. I love that I am standing on the forefront of where it is all happening. I don’t believe most South Africans realise just how blessed we are when it comes to our bands’ high standard of performance delivery and purely based on the effort most of them put into their live performances, the respect they have for their audiences. I can promise you that very few overseas bands can compare.
Who are the most difficult artist / artist(s) to capture while they are performing on stage and why?
The most difficult ones to capture are the ones that move around the most, but at the same time they also make for the best photos. I’m thinking of someone like George from Taxi Violence and pretty much every member in the band Choking Heartbeat. But those are the kind of shoots I also enjoy the most.
What is your favourite live music venue in Gauteng and why?
I have two. The first one being Arcade Empire in Pretoria; they have a beautiful stage with beautiful stage lights, which makes my job a little bit easier. The second venue is Schivas Rock, also in Pretoria. I love shooting there mostly because they don’t have a stage at all, you get to look the band members in the eye, and you get to stand next to them while they interact with the crowd. No stage = no band and crowd separation, which really makes for some beautiful moments.
If you could give any aspirant live band photographers out there hints, what would they be?
I have a favourite poem that I turn to whenever life throws me a curved ball, and it has the best advice I could ever give anyone:
“If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time… Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” (from Desiderate by Max Ehrman)
That being said, keep on shooting! There’s no better way to learn than to go out and see what works.
Where do you see yourself as a live band photographer 5 years from now?
Tough one, hopefully I will still be standing at the stage capturing those awesome musical moments. Maybe I will have a couple of big exhibitions under my belt. Hopefully by then it will also be easier for me to get media access to big events, and with that I mean that I’ll be receiving invites to shoot at big festivals instead of applying to shoot. I would definitely not mind to be the Marcus Maschwitz of South Africa by then (I know he is South African, but if I’m not mistaken, he is no longer based here).
There you have it, some wisdom out of an awesome photographer’s mouth. You can follow Christelle Duvenage via @StellaTeleur on Twitter, check out her Photography page on Facebook or check out her official website if you want more information.
Watch this space for regular updates in the Fun Corner on the Junk Mail Blog.