I love photography, especially to see younger photographers coming into the scene and see their great work online. One of those photographers is Rhian Poole from UK who has been shooting gigs for few years now. We have been trying to put this interview together for a few months, we have been in / out of touch for a while and finally we were able to pull this for you and share with like minded folks who love to discover some more details about people from the scene and their work who are hiding behind their camera.
All the photos in the interview are shot by Rhian, some have personal comment from Rhian.
Q. What are you currently doing?
R. Honestly, day dreaming. Was looking out the window.
Q. Did you see anything interesting while looking out of the window? What was you day dreaming about?
R: Artsy ideas, find them easy to visualize, struggle with how to get to the end product however. I have been pressing flowers, collaging making marble art recently and would really love to get into screen printing.
Q. Where you from and how old are you?
R. I am 27 and from Ealing. I went to University in Norfolk and found out that I was bred there.
Q. What is the first memory from your childhood you remember?
R. I don’t remember much from my childhood and what I do isn’t very happy. So would prefer not to share.
Q. Fair enough. Do you remember your first toy?
R. I remember having this really cool art thing, where you put a piece of card in and it spins. While it spins you squirt paint on it to make these beautiful pieces of artwork. Should have made it into the Tate for sure.
Q. Do you remember what made you angry when you were little?
R. My mum said she had to stop taking me to the supermarket. I used to cause too many scenes when she took me out, stomping my feet on the floor. Terrible!
Q. I bet its better now, hm. What kind of art you into apart photography? Do you have any favorite artist or photographers you follow their work, dead or alive ones?
R: I have really enjoyed going to art galleries the past few years with my dad. I have been to Bonnard, Klimt & Schiele, Modigliani, Edvard Munch and all were absolutely glorious. Think Edvard Munch is definitely one of my favorite. We also went to the Don McCullin photography exhibit, which was incredible, but the guy witnessed a lot of trauma and was left feeling quite scarred by his work, when he finally moved home. I go to the Sony photography, wildlife photographer and astronomy photographer every year now. It inspires me to want to make art at home, as I try to incorporate things I have seen.
Q. Are you more introvert or extravert kind of person and what kind of crowd you feel comfortable and safe around?
R: I would say there has been a drastic change over the years. With age I have gone from being an extrovert to being much more of an introvert. I am becoming more conscientious about who I spend my time with and how I spend my time. I use to go out quite a lot, but I work long hours and it leaves me sleepy. So I tend to go out more now during the holiday periods. I think now I want to save to travel though, I really enjoy wildlife photography as I can take my time with it. Tastes are changing! I love my group of friends, there are some musical heads, animal lovers, artistic poets, foodies, green fingered gems and in the thick of it all I know they’d have my back if I needed them (even when I can sometimes be a pickle).
Q. How did you get into punk?
R. I moved away from home in 2010 to go to University in Norfolk. A friend of mine Sarah from high-school lived up there and she was friends with the Uni-Anarchists and generally quite punky alternative individuals. They were all really sound people, knowledgeable and had obviously extensive music tastes. Drunken nights in, karaoke nights, nights out think I experienced all sorts of new music punk, psy trance, breaks, jungle, gypsy swing, electro and techno attended my first festival, Outlook festival and then I started dating a guy, who was really into inner terrestrials, started attending gigs with him and continued after we split. Met some really lovely people through the underground scenes be it punk or techno parties.
Q. Where do you feel more comfortable? Being around the techno or punk scene? Are there any noticeable differences you picked on?
R: Well noticeable differences ladies’ toilets cubicle walls graffiti is pretty different to graffiti at techno parties. Lots of lady empowerment things on the walls of the toilets. I want to say there are elements of the punk scene that say they are all accepting and non-judgmental but it feels clique still, whereas the techno scene isn’t so like that or it’s more subtle or people care about it less. Who knows? When does being proud of being a certain way or having certain values turn into being egotistical about it?
Q. Do you remember your first punk record and your feelings listening to it?
R. I collect CDs more than records, however when I move this may change. Gosh, probably Anthrax or The Lost cheers.. , when music is good, is sort of just washes all over you. Feel like it allows my brain to stop churning out thoughts. Peace comes with heavy riffs.
Q. What attracted you to punk scene?
R. That’s a difficult question. I don’t know. I enjoy taking photos, the energy at some of the gigs I have attended over the years has been incredible, but I guess people I’ve met on the underground scene are very different from my family. There is an open mindedness and lack of judgment or it’s at least less prominent.
Q. Is punk rock some kind of escapism for you? What is it you are running from?
R: Perhaps, but I would more so say my head and inner monologue. I absolutely love my job, but find the working week to be highly stressful and pressured by Friday I am tense and need to either go to the gym or go to a gig. In addition, being bipolar can mean I get a lot of thoughts and so going to a gig can just empty my head listening to the riffs and feeling the tunes vibrate through your body, it’s just otherworldly. I don’t really do mosh pits anymore, but love the energies at gigs and capturing it on camera.
Q. What are your favorite bands which makes your feet dance?
R. I reckon the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is top of them all, Xray specs – Warrior in Woolworths, Petrol girls, Nekra, Perkie, Miserable wretch, Prowler, Pussy liquor, Autonomads, Days and daze, Knuckledust and Shooting daggers (more recently) for the first time.
Q. Pretty good taste you have going across various styles. I love Shooting Daggers too, a newish band on the scene. Band with strong feminism lyrics. Is it what attracts you to them? Pussy liquor and Nekra have strong female element in them too?
R: I think I would agree with that, some of my favorite bands are female led or made up of mostly female members. Pussy liquor, Petrol girls, Bikini kill…
Q: What about you and feminism then?
R: Feminism is the belief of equality between the sexes, I agree with that, but I don’t think it is occurring necessarily in all aspects of life.
Q: Do you feel safe in the scene as woman or is it already too patronizing questions already?
R: I feel that meeting people in the scene mostly been treated as an equal. I think it’s more my own paranoia that makes me question things a lot of the time…training your inner monologue to be kind is a skill.
Q: Sometimes I am getting lost what is and what is not right to say as the keyboard warriors can get you for any mistake or misinterpretation you make…
R: I feel I don’t trust people so would be wary of this anyway. Life has taught me to be wary what you share with the world… and bipolar has taught me to be aware of when I am oversharing 😊 The world we live in you will forever be left questioning whether things are right or if you made a mistake, but knowing some key things like that everything is temporary can be really helpful, so that you don’t feel overpowered by the thoughts that eat at you.
Q. What do you like about the scene in general?
R. I like how multicultural it is, I like the venues, the areas of London the gigs take place in, the people that attend.
Q. What do you hate about scene, question to balance the Universe?
R. How drama gets written over bathroom walls, how some friendships can turn out to be superficial, the weird hierarchy that is somehow present even in this scene where everything is about community and supporting one another…
Q. That is interesting point you made about the hierarchy, as I noticed it too. Like there are people and people and some have weird privileges, but I guess it’s all about knowing people, “taking advantage” or shy away from it or go fully against the wall towards issues and see what happens. What is it in the hierarchy you mean pointing out?
R: I think taking advantage isn’t the right way to say that because you aren’t using someone’s kindness as an advantage to you, it’s a mutual understanding between creative or friends. I am undecided if I am confusing cliques and hierarchy or if they are the same thing in this situation. The scene feels like it judges you perhaps when it isn’t…Perhaps it’s a mirage and it’s all down to self-worth and confidence at the end of the day?
Q. Why have you decided to take pictures of the bands?
R: Honestly I just wanted to learn to use my camera and I enjoyed music so thought that was probably a good place to start. On reflection I find it quite tricky as there is a lot of movement in some quite dark venues.
Q: What was your motivation behind?
R: I enjoy capturing realness and people release a lot of built up tension, express themselves through dance and style. I just love all the individuality, feel like it would be hard to get bored. I have started taking pictures because I was making paper zine and wanted to have all the articles and pictures coming from me and not others. Having it all DIY from the beginning till the end. What was yours?
Q: I used to have straight edge diy zine back in the 90s and pretty much needed photos for my zine. But the urge to be creative and capture the energy of the gigs I saw in UK was the main drive to buy better camera and get into pit, we got pretty much the same urge when it comes to photography.
How do you prepare for a gig?
R: Depends sometimes I will pre-drink and get all dolled up. I feel perhaps if I wanted to do this more professionally I would need to consider this a little more deeply as currently I just appear at the venue with enough time for camera to acclimatize to the room.
Q: And what kind of bands you enjoy shooting?
R: I think mostly I enjoy taking photos of female fronted bands, utterly inspires me seeing women bursting with confidence. I also really enjoy some of the hardcore shows as the energy is just so heightened, the music gets everyone moving.
Q: Are there any issues you would like to point out as a shooter of a gigs?
R: Feel like sometimes it’s considered a lesser art form by some minorities. Everywhere there is going to be some sort of disparity in perception about the importance of things…just doesn’t need to make you a prick about it.
I got my first camera smashed at a gig when a guy launched into me. I feel I need to better understand how to protect my baby. I bought my first camera while at university and just would point and shoot, I began to take it a little more seriously when I moved home and realised some of my shots were alright! I am better with the technical editing side rather than the technical understanding of my camera. Started practicing at gigs, discovered editing and all the glitch art techniques and found much enjoyment from producing art. Thought one day the pictures I have taken at parties will be looked back on as history 😊 I take photos and would love to make a career out of it.
Q. You said you work as teacher at primary school?
Q. How did you get to this job?
R. I went to Uni for 3 years and have a degree in English and American Literature. After that I did a PGCE at UCL.
Q. Hard work for sure. What made you go into education job?
R: I did an English and American literature degree and teaching assistant work was the first thing I found when I moved home. I also worked as a care worker. However, being an agency worker there isn’t much protection if something goes wrong at work. I decided to do a PGCE as I feel I am good with children and wasn’t sure what else to do. I discovered photography later, which is a shame. I consider how cool it would have been to go to Uni to work in film or journalism.
Q: Did you enjoy school?
R. I didn’t enjoy school, I think I eventually want to work in a not necessarily academic school environment, maybe a hospital school or counselling eventually.
Q. Do you like the job so far? What are the obstacles you have to overcome as somebody who did not like school at younger age, but coming into the education job.
R: Yes I really love working with children and especially at the current age group as they are beginning to make sense of the world and question things and we are sort of teaching them skills to not take everything at face value. I remember being bullied at school and being identified as odd or a little strange and now as an adult experience anxiety and am bipolar, so I identify I feel with some of the children in my class who have anxiety or who have some issues making friends. There is a little girl in my class and she went around trying to play a game with younger children, but it really freaked them out. She was pretending to lure them in with ice-cream and then telling them she was going to murder them…. She just isn’t at the same age as my children hasn’t experienced socialization in the same ways. My parents also split when I was little, there is another child in my class, who is right in the middle of it all, listening to some of their stories is sad and but for a child a burden shared truly is a burden halved. For us adults, not sure that is the truth.
Q: For sure, that is tough to process in general. It is hard job mentally to overcome all the stress and emotions.
Thank you Rhian for your honest answers and good luck with shooting gigs, art and photography in general. Keep posting your work so others can see and enjoy it.