Interview with Jake Chamseddine, music photographer

I had a chat with Jake Chamseddine, a concert photographer, about his experiences within the field and advice that he has for aspiring photographers.

Jake Chamseddine is a touring music photographer who has worked with artists such as Panic! at the Disco, Lorde, Marshmello and more, and is currently nominated for iHeart Radio’s Tour Photographer of the Year.

Firstly, please introduce yourself to the reader.

Hi there! My name is Jake Chamseddine and I'm a photographer and videographer based out of Portland, Oregon.

How did your interest in photography begin?

I've had a camera in my hand since I was super young. I think it initially started when I wanted to make videos of myself and my friends skating and snowboarding. Music/concert photography didn't really start until I got into college. 

What does concert photography involve? What does your typical day look like?

Obviously concert photography is going to differentiate between which artist you are shooting or if you are on the tour, or only shooting a single show, etc. But my normal day on tour consists of me waking up on the tour bus in a new city, heading inside the venue to get ready for the day, then it just goes straight into documentation mode. I’m shooting anything and everything going on during the day with BTS [behind the scenes] content – stage getting ready, band/artists getting ready for the show, etc. Then the show happens, which is obviously the best part of the tour. Each show is so different and I love challenging myself to make each night look different. Then I go straight to editing!

How have you managed to stay creatively inspired during lockdown?

Honestly, it has been super difficult. I personally have been trying to find home projects to get done. Organization, cleaning, getting rid of things that clutter my space, etc. As for the creative, or rather, photography side of staying creative, I have been editing old photos and brainstorming ideas for when this is all over. I also have been working on a book for a year or so now, so hopefully I can get that out. 

What are some common misconceptions about having a career in photography?'

I think people believe that it is a constant party or rage while we are on tour, like we are always partying and drinking all day. But to be totally honest it's totally the opposite. It's a lot of hard work and at the end of the day it is a super well oiled machine. Very professional on all ends.

Who are some of your inspirations in photography? How have they shaped your photos?

This one is hard to say. I get inspiration from so many different things. Movies, old images, day to day life – and everything in between. I think most of my inspiration comes from personal experiences nowadays. I try to create images that feel real to the moment, making them stand out in my style but also creating a sense of reality in them.

Your camera has taken you all over the world - what has been your favourite place to visit?

I'm so lucky to be able to say I have been able to go to all the places I have been to. So many stand out to me when I get asked this question, so it's hard to say. But with that being said places like Japan, New York City, Banff Canada, New Zealand and Iceland have been massive stand outs to me. It’s hard to explain why exactly, but it has something to do with how the culture meets the beauty. 

What are some highlights from the tours you have been on?

I think just having the opportunity to be trusted with the task of documenting these moments and experiences these artists go through is my all-time highlight of touring. To be the one person the artist chooses to take on tour and to be the one person that can have a camera on them at ALL times. That is a huge privilege to me. 

Do you have any tips for young aspiring photographers?

Keep shooting. Think less, create more. That is some advice that I have to give myself every single day. I still struggle with it. Especially in the world of social media today. 

Finally, where can people find you online?

They can find me on twitter/Instagram/500px @jakechams. I also stream live on Twitch! Come say hey! 

Header Image Credit: Jake Chamseddine

Author

Rosa Todd

Rosa Todd Voice Contributor

I'm a student from London, interested in all things film, theatre, music, literature and inclusivity within creative industries.

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