Photographer Pooneh Ghana has hit concerts around the world snapping leading musicians and capturing them in her trademark intimate style. Swide finds out more about her and those pictures of The Kills...
We love an insider and we believe we've virtually stumbled on a photographer insider set for big things.
Pooneh Ghana is a photographer - who literally lives & breathes her work. Describing her life as "Traveling around the globe to feed my unhealthy addiction to both (music & film photography) are the main reasons why i'm currently broke as f!@k. Not that i'm complaining... "
Swide got in touch to find out more and to take a closer look at her amazing images of The Kills in concert.
Growing up I was the fat, awkward girl in school with the funny name. Apparently my parents forgot 'Pooneh' is not very common in the states, and that most people don't know it translates to some sort of flower in farsi. They initially wanted to name me Roshanak, but were afraid the kids would call me 'Roach'. So they thought Pooneh would be less harsh...really.
Anyway, considering I had a lot of free time in high school, I wanted to find something fun to do to keep me busy, and if all went well, possibly pursue more seriously. Tried volleyball, but that tendency I have ...trip...became an issue. Basketball? Same thing. Seriously, just because i'm 5'11” doesn't mean i'm some sort of athletic prodigy. I can hardly play thumb war for 45 seconds without getting some sort of cramp in my body.
At 16, I went to my two of my first shows in Austin (besides ACL, which were The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys within a four day span), dropped 60 pounds, graduated early the next year, bought a Holga, and this whole music photography craze kind of went from there. Though it wasn't until early 2008 when I bought my first polaroid camera, and fell in love with the idea of band polaroids.
STRANGEST PLACE YOU'VE PHOTOGRAPHED FROM/MET A BAND?
Probably my Vampire Weekend polaroids from Italy. The venue was in the middle of some sort of deserted carnival. It had the big rides and arcade and everything, all in a stand still. There wasn't anyone there except my friend and I, the band and their crew, and a lady with her son playing around the site. It felt a bit eerie all around.
HAVE YOU EVER PHOTOGRAPHED UNDER THE INFLUENCE AND REGRETTED IT?
I've only photographed once under the influence. Though it may not always come off so, I do get nervous whenever I meet new people, like some of my favorite musicians or whatever, and have a polaroid taken. And I usually feel bad asking for more than one or two photos. It's weird though, even when I'm not nervous I act nervous, I don't know why. Maybe it's all the Mountain Dew.
But anyway, this one time I had a wee bit to drink, and I just didn't care and took like a million photos of the band I was with. They were the more candid shots, which are the ones I like doing. I was obviously more relaxed than usual, which makes it all around less awkward for me to approach people and carry a conversation, even more so stick a giant camera in their face.
FOR ANY BUDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS - WHAT'S YOUR ADVICE ON MAKING IT WORK?
Especially in this day and age, I think the most important piece of advice for anyone who wants to pursue photography is that you need to find an 'edge'. If you really want people to notice your work, create your own style, or do something that you think makes you different from the millions of other people in the world today who own a camera and post their photos freely on the internet (and who are probably taking photos of the same things you are). Another piece of advice is to just KEEP TAKING PHOTOS! See where you need to improve, and personally just become more comfortable with handling a camera. Sorry I know this is all cliché, but it's true.
A LIFE IN THE DAY OF A PHOTO-BLOGGER
I'm actually a full time student right now, and at times I do have my laptop with me during class. It's a great way to defeat boredom during a one hour lecture on antiderivatives.
So many people assume you all are somebody sat in their pyjamas with a coffee. Or is this in fact true?
Ha! This is 100% true. Atleast for me, almost all of the stuff I have posted on the internet at some point involved me in a pair of plaid pajamas, sitting on the futon with a case of mountain dew (great knowing this drink is banned in some places in Europe, thanks college for this my new caffeine addiction), then uploading and editing my photos while watching comedy central. It's awesome.
ONLINE IS A WAY OF WIFE - DO YOU OPT FOR A NON-WIFI SPOT IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
I find it the more people post work online (photos, blogs, whatever), the more time we spend on the internet pressing f5 like a crackwhore. “Yes, another view! Let's look at my stats.”, “Whoa, why are my photos being linked from a Miley Cyrus forum? Time to investigate.” “Hm, should I google myself today?”
Or is that just me?
In all seriousness, I do try to find other things to do in my spare time, but they're usually photography or music related anyway. Sometimes just walking around outside for an hour, not really going anywhere, is a great thing. I realized how much I took it for granted after the countless hours spent sitting in front of a computer each day.
DO YOU STILL READ PRINT MAGAZINES?
Not as much as i'd like to, sadly. I would if I could afford the subscriptions. Sometimes they give away those free year subscriptions to SPIN at SXSW or Coachella, which is amazing. There are a lot of cool foreign publications, such as Fault Magazine. I really enjoy looking their photos.
WHAT'S BEEN YOUR MOST SUCCESSFUL PHOTOGRAPH
By FAR, my Caleb Followill polaroid (featured above). I don't even think it's that good of a polaroid, it's only because it's Caleb Followill that's it's so popular. I think it's gotten around 15,000 views now on flickr? There was a span of a few months where that photo was averaging over 100 views a day, which is completely insane. Really all my Kings of Leon polaroids, apparently they've become a regular choice amongst the whole wallpaper/avatar world. The Kills and MGMT ones are pretty popular as well.
Take a closer look at Pooneh's work here:
With special thanks to Pooneh Ghana
**CLICK BACK LATER IN THE WEEK AS WE FEATURE MORE OF POONEH'S WORK**
Source & All Photo Credits: Pooneh Ghana