This is part one of Creative Conversations, a series featuring photographers, designers and creators within the music industry beyond the artists to share their stories.
Katrina Barber, is a photographer whose work I have admired since I've entered the Austin music scene as a writer and photographer. She recently was awarded Austin's Best Live Music Photographer 2018 by the Austin Music Industry Awards. Her genuine personality and energy in person, just attributes more to her photos that tell amazing stories.
ET: So tell me what's your story. Where did the music photography journey begin for you?
KB: I was a high school writer, and all I wanted to do was write for Alternative Press. Like I carried diaries, and I would run to Barnes and Noble to get the newest issue. I was obsessed with Senses Fail and bands like that. My first interview was with this band called Young Love when I was 14. I began just writing and taking pictures, which then turned into learning layout and design. Now I'm a full-time graphic designer for music festivals. I lead design on four festivals including Shaky Knees, Shaky Beats, Music Midtown and a new festival in New Jersey that will be released soon. I assist on ACL, Voodoo Fest, and twelve other festivals.
ET: Tell me about your first shoot? Anything funny or embarrassing happen?
KB: I went to every single show of this band called Driver F, now Drive friendly. I still follow them all on Instagram and am like "I still want to be your friends!" I interviewed them so many times.
ET: Did they ever remember you?
KB: No they never did! One of the band members, Andy Lane, I am still in love with secretly. I remember when they played this mini festival at St. Edwards, so I brought my tape recorder and my friend from Cedar Park, which was a long drive back in the day. We ended up recording on her video camera and set it up and pointed it at the wall using the audio. My friend had to take over the interview because I was so nervous. I just stood there nodding and smiling. (Laughs)
ET: How would you describe your photography style? I always feel like it's a super authentic moment when I see your photos. I love that you capture that.
KB: I try to show the artist in their lifestyle and behind the scenes, in an authentic, complimentary way. If they're sitting on a chair, I'll tell them to turn if it will look good. I want to show the fans of the band that these are real people. They're authentic dudes and women who are following their own passion and doing what they love. I try to show as authentically as I can, especially when I get the access to bands and events that I want to get into. I show humans as humans, not superstars. The humans who are artists and creatives.
ET: How do you hope your photography impacts others or makes them feel?
KB: So typically I shoot for the artist and for myself. I don't shoot for the fans. I know what I want to portray and I know what the artists wants to portray to the fans. Man, I hope I just empower the people I shoot. Like the dudes in Duncan Fellows. They are so down to earth and so talented. They don't realize how much they impact their fans. I want artists to know you are here and you are kicking ass and to realize it. For fans, I want them to see your idol is just a human doing what they are good at on stage. You can do that too by asking yourself "what am I good at?" I hope to uplift and empower my friends and bring fans down to earth.
ET: What advice do you have for others who are beginning to shoot and work with artists?
KB: Look for the angles that no one else is shooting in. Move around. Ask questions to the managers and people who work the venues. Slide into DM's and build relationships by offering trade for what you can do.
After finishing a few beers at Lazarus, Katrina gave me a tour of the C3 office, where I was able to snap some photos of her work space, her polaroid book including artists: Bishop Briggs, Cage The Elephant and a personal photograph of her and her favorite photographer, Danny Clinch.