Tatjana Hamilton Interview - A Camera Always In Arm's Reach
Tatjana Hamilton is one of Australia's rising stars in photography and cinematography. Over the years Tatjana has collected 10 cameras, taken over 20,000 images, and has been published in some of Australia's most renown press outlets; Acclaim magazine, Triple J, Pilerats, Purple Sneakers, Yewth Magazine, and The Music.
Meet the photographer behind some of the most recognisable music photos and videos in recent years.
Futuremag Music: What inspired you to choose photography as a career?
Tatjana Hamilton: Ever since I was a little girl I have always had a camera in arm's reach. My dad's an award winning photographer, and he is my biggest inspiration for photography to this day. He worked in photo journalism for a number of years and his work is incredible. It's candid and he just knows how to photograph people really well. I aim to do this with my behind the scenes music photography especially. It can be quite hard to make people feel at ease when you first meet them, especially if they're shy. But if you take the time to get to know them and genuinely have a great conversation with them in between the photo taking, they usually open up.I think growing up with my dad's photos around the house really tamed my eye to take a good photo and to not settle for average. You should never leave a shoot without a shot that you love.
Futuremag Music: If you had the opportunity to shoot at any major event, what would it be and why?
Tatjana Hamilton: I love shooting backstage and behind the scenes, because people usually don't get to see stuff like that. I would absolutely love to photograph candid's of The Grammy's or The Oscars. I would shoot on film because I love the look of film.
Futuremag Music: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
Tatjana Hamilton: Never give up. If you give up, you never know how close you are to success. I have had plenty of knock backs. But I never gave up. And if I did, I wouldn't be where I am now. Be confident in who you are, and your craft. Don't be too cocky. And lastly, constantly drive yourself to do better. Learn from others, learn from shooting.
Futuremag Music: As someone who uses a Polaroid camera themselves, did you ever have one during your childhood?
Tatjana Hamilton: I didn't have one in my childhood, however I bought a Polaroid 600 Spirit camera 2 years ago. I love it. It's not easy producing good photos with it though. Impossible Project's film is a little temperamental. I love using my Instax Mini 90. I would love to start taking more polaroid portraits of my friends and musicians that I work with. I love Tan Camera's (Kimi Selfridge) work. She shoots exclusively on film including 35mm and Polaroid. It takes serious skill to shoot the portraits that she takes.
Futuremag Music: Do you feel that since graduating from Queensland Academies Creative Industries Campus, it has helped build a solid career for you and get the attention from a wider community?
Tatjana Hamilton: Graduating from Queensland Academy of Creative Industries (QACI) has helped me in so many ways. It is such an amazing school that really nurtured my skills as a photographer and filmmaker. My film teacher in year 12 John Carozza, was just the most incredible teacher. He really delved deep into the symbolism of imagery in film and photographs. The opportunity to collaborate with other creatives is always there and I really enjoyed that. I am currently collaborating with a former student, Cameron Brunt and others. He started a creative agency called 98 Agency and it's doing really well. It provides a platform for me to showcase my photography and videography skills. I'm constantly shooting projects that inspire me.
Futuremag Music: What has been your favourite shoot in regards to the music scene?
Tatjana Hamilton: My favourite shoot so far would have to be going on tour with Yeo for his 'Got No Game' east coast tour with SAATSUMA and Take Your Time supporting. I got along with everyone on that tour and made so many new cool friends. I took some of my favourite photographs that I have taken to date on this tour. I think it's because I was in an inclusive, happy environment and I was capturing candid moments that people wouldn't notice if I wasn't taking the picture.
Shooting my first festival in January 2016 was also one of my favourite shoots. It was St Jerome's Laneway festival. I met a lot of photographers that I frequently see at other gigs. Lauren Mayberry from the band Chvrches shared one of my photos that I took of her at their show on social media. That was a pretty cool moment, considering I'm a fan of their music!
Futuremag Music: Is there any photographers you'll love to collaborate with?
Tatjana Hamilton: I would love to collaborate with Platon. He's a portrait photographer based in New York, USA. He shoots a lot of Time Magazine's cover portraits. I love how he utilises and shapes light. There are a lot of photographers I would collaborate with. But I would be typing for hours!
Futuremag Music: How do you find photographing music festivals and/or live shows?
Tatjana Hamilton: I love shooting festivals and live gigs, especially when it's for your friends!! I love helping my friends out, because they help me out too. Festivals are amazing, because there's so much great music in one day and everyone is really happy, that's a big part of taking great music photographs. I recently photographed The Big Pineapple Music festival for my second year in a row. I shot for Benson. That was so much fun. I love Ben's music and he's a great guy! Shooting for great people really makes it worthwhile, because not only am I creating work that I'm ecstatic about, but I'm meeting some really amazing new friends as well. I thrive on pressure, if I get a few photos that I'm happy with, then that's all the matters. I just love the atmosphere of a festival.
Futuremag Music: If you had to photograph a band or an artist during their tour, who would it be and why?
Tatjana Hamilton: That's such a great question. I would photograph for The WEEKND that would be cool. He has an aesthetic that is very unique. It's polished and his backstage photos are quite candid. And his shows have incredible lighting arrangements. I love good concert lighting.