She Is Aphrodite Interview - Opposite and Unique
Meet She Is Aphrodite, one of Australia’s leading music photographers. The Melbourne based creative has built a distinctive and instantly recognisable aesthetic in all her work. She Is Aphrodite is behind the images of some of the most recognisable Australian music photography, working with the likes of Vera Blue, Kult Kyss, Samsaruh, WAFIA, Eves Karydas, and many more! We had a chat to Michelle Pitiris, the legend behind the lens about her photography, constructing a brand, and working in music.
Futuremag Music: Hi Michelle, how’s life the universe and everything?
She Is Aphrodite: Greetings and salutations! Life, the universe and everything is just fine and dandy thank you!
Futuremag Music: Can you talk us through your relationship with music over the years? How does this inter-tie with your photography work?
She Is Aphrodite: Well without music, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I took an interest in music from a young age and I definitely think that it had a cellular effect on me. But since I can’t sing or play an instrument, I had to find another way to get into the industry and be surrounded by music because I knew that it made me happy.
Futuremag Music: You’re also a stylist, how do you source the outfits, props, location and attire for your shoots? What goes into the planning and organising for a press shoot?
She Is Aphrodite: I’m very meticulous about my shoots. If all of those factors -outfits, location etc- aren’t aligned in my head and I can’t envision it, it won’t work for me. As for sourcing outfits, there’s no great secret. EVERYONE has the tool in their very own hands for that- INSTAGRAM! Same goes for location ideas, props etc. I get all my inspo from Instagram and Pinterest and then find a way to adapt the elements I like into my own shoots. In saying that, some of my best shots have come from being completely unprepared and shooting spur of the moment with what I’ve got in front of me!
Futuremag Music: You have such a robust and identifiable brand and style. How did you build your personal and photography brand? How do you differentiate yourself in the photography and music spheres?
She Is Aphrodite: Why thank you! It takes time to develop, experiment and grow to figure out what your brand is, so it’s just been a matter of trial and error and doing lots of unpaid shit just to get the practice in. So when it comes to the big opportunities that matter, I’m prepared and confident in my ability to deliver. I guess the way I see myself as differentiating from the onslaught of music photographers is that I always try to look at what everyone is doing, and then do the complete opposite, hahaah.
Futuremag Music: For those currently forging a brand identity, what are some key points to address? What do you look for in a brand?
She Is Aphrodite: I believe forging a brand comes with consistency, stamina and finding what that thing is that you do really well, and then amplifying that. What I personally look for in a brand is the purple elephant in the room. Are they different from everyone else and are the strong in what their message is.
Futuremag Music: Is personal authenticity important or does a strategically manufactured image play a larger role?
She Is Aphrodite: I think it’s a healthy combination of the two. You need to roll out a strategic and “manufactured” image that HAS your personal authenticity to it. Otherwise you won’t be able to maintain the facade and it will seem all the more manufactured. Presenting a doctored representation of who you are without authenticity will always be transparent.
Futuremag Music: In regard to musicians, where does the showmanship stop, and their authentic personality begin? What side of the façade do you work with when shooting?
She Is Aphrodite: I’ve found that 99% of the time, the stage persona of a musician is exactly that- a stage persona. They aren’t nearly as showy and confident off the stage, usually completely self conscious so when I’m shooting, I am working to try and bring that stage persona out of them so they’re confident and comfortable and it translates into the image.
Futuremag Music: How would you like the music scene to evolve in the future?
She Is Aphrodite: More revenue for musicians. Higher return for streams. So, so, SO many talented musicians out there making shit all because streaming has sapped their sales. Music is bigger than us and far more powerful than people realise, and musicians should be paid accordingly for bringing this joy into the world.
Futuremag Music: A light-hearted one to wrap it up. If you were a cocktail, what would be in it to best describe yourself and your work?
She Is Aphrodite: Well, since I don’t drink I would have to be a mocktail. I’d be a coffee mocktail with cinnamon sprinkled on top and sugar on the rim and it would be called “Diabetes” (much like my work). It’s sweet, but can give you heart palpitations! hahaha