16 September, 2019
It’s not always easy to translate the magic of live music into an image. Fortunately for us, Melbourne is full of incredible photographers and content creators doing just that. One of them is Duncan Jacob, or as we know him, Duncographic.
Continuing our chats with people working in music, we asked Duncan to tell us all about his job, what he’s spinning on a Friday night and what’s going to be big in music.
Plus, he shares some of his favourite pics and a playlist of his favourite tunes.
Tell us who you are and what you do?
I am a photographer grown in Tasmania and roasting in Melbourne. Among many things I predominantly photograph people expressing their most creative and passionate sides. This has mostly been through art, music and festivals for the best part of 12 years, whilst also DJing, working on a few architectural projects and dabbling in all sorts of graphic design work.
What do you love about your job?
Seeing people pour their heart and soul into something that they love is just such an amazing thing to witness, let alone being able to document in my own artistic manner as a response. As well as this, I love that no two performances are the same...I’m all about unique moments.
What’s the weirdest part of it?
The weirdest part which is I suppose the most wonderful part; the feeling that you’re doing something you love and people are really enjoying what you produce, but also to make a living out of it at the same time. Definitely feeling very lucky to be where I am.
What do you think makes a live music event really amazing?
The organisers, lighting, sound, venue, crowd and of course the musicians! Every moving part involved is just as important as the other in my eyes...Each element feeds off the energy of the other and everyone has to put 150% in. This always puts such a unique & quality flavour on the table. Bringing any idea (big or small) to life is no easy task.
What have been some of your favourite locations/artists to shoot so far?
LOCATIONS: I’ve always been a fan of the weird, off-kilter and unusual locations…It’s very hard to say my favourite artists and locations as there have been so many but I will try and list a few…
Dark Mofo Tasmania have some amazing spots and production is always next level. Cold, red, dark, loud, bassy, sensory overload (in a good way). Can’t recommend it highly enough.
House // secret location parties bring a certain level of uncontrolled mayhem that make for very interesting shoots and experiences.
Croatia: Massive Attack at the Pula Arena – part of Dimensions Festival shot for Resident Advisor.
Morocco: Traditional street performances are like nothing I’ve ever experienced.
A public square in Barcelona, I captured this scene: an old man on his old trumpet and his son on the piano playing 1920’s jazz. I just couldn’t leave.
Strawberry Fields Festival in Tocumwal, NSW: This is just a stunning spot in the world. An absolute dream to shoot some of the worlds top names out there.
ARTISTS: Grace Jones. I mean...wow. I photographed her at the Palace Theatre in St Kilda for The Operatives show held in 2018 and still at age 69 her presence brought a shiver or ten down the spine. Incredible.
Soichi Terada. An electronic producer responsible for 1980s game soundtracks such as King Kong. I photographed his performances live at strawberry 2017 and Dekmantel Amsterdam. Both times incredible. So genuine, so much emotion. A true artist.
Quite recently I photographed a show for the Melbourne International Jazz Festival with Ambrose Akinmusire - This was incredibly special.
What are your desert island albums?
Herb Ellis & Remo Palmier - Windflower
Khruangbin - Con Todo el Mundo
St Germain - Boulevard
Massive Attack - Blue Lines
What is your guilty pleasure album // song? Why do you love it?
I’m definitely guilty on The Style Council & Inxs. One that always gets me is "Rhythm of the Night" by Corona. Sorry, not sorry. And like many growing up in the 90’s, hip-hop was a pretty solid soundtrack to my everyday. My sister’s friend gave me at least 40 CDs of all his old favourite hip hop albums... So this really shaped up a lot of my guilty nostalgic tones.
What’s your musical hot-tip?
What/who was your first love in music? Why?
- Moby - Play: I had never heard anything like it and still haven't to this day. It created such a unique feeling that has just resonated.
- Rage Against the Machine - Battle of Los Angeles: The first CD I owned.... soo.... enough said.
Are you a jazz fan? If so, what’s your favourite jazz album/artist and why?
The Rookies - FUN JAZZ! These cats are the perfect amount of not taking it all too seriously. It’s just FUN. For everyone! But also very very knowledgeable and deep. a refreshing balance. BUT, an old absolute favourite has to be the Oscar Peterson Trio - no matter how many times I listen to these cats I always discover new things deep within.
What’s one thing people may not know about music photography?
- How long it actually takes to edit a collection photographs. Sometimes days, sometimes weeks!
- The content is only as good as what is put in front of the photographer. Dark gig, dark shots. Surprisingly a lot of people don't understand this.
- It takes years to know when shoot and when to just listen at a gig. One must be respectful but shoot all the key moments - it’s very hard to get the right balance.
What are you playing on a Friday night? What are you playing on a Sunday morning?
All depending on what kind of weekend I'm having, but...
Friday night: This probably varies from a weird broken beat tip like something from D.Tiffany or Apiento to something a bit more upbeat from Donalds House or Midnight Tenderness, sometimes I’ll dip into the classics just for some nostalgic play to keep me and everyone else on their toes...
Sunday morning: John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, some Turkish psych-folk, Hiroshi Sato, Laurie Anderson, Herb Ellis + Remo Palmier accompanied a big old black coffee.
It’s all fairly eclectic in flavour. Thanks to the nature of my work but mostly thanks to my old man for bringing me up with such diverse music tastes. Falling asleep to Laurie Anderson’s track “Oh Superman” is ingrained within my soul.