Life behind the camera! Interview with Hannah Meadows, Taylor Momsen's music photographer!
I don't think anyone will argue that playing in a band must be challenging but extremely rewarding. But to be able to make a career out of it is the dream of many aspiring musicians. However, what I feel is often forgotten is the hard work done by band photographers who work and follow musicians behind the scenes. They are extremely talented to take some of the most iconic musician photos we've all seen and loved, especially all over social media today.
I was very fortunate to interview the lovely and talented Hannah Meadows, whose social links I have left down below! Today, Hannah works closely with the brilliant Taylor Momsen from The Pretty Reckless.
So what is the secret into getting to where Hannah is now?
Hannah said she got into it by: 'A lot of persistent but polite requests, whether it be to band members, to other photographers to get me under their wing, to management and beyond. I had my heart set on doing this for a long, long time so I wasn’t wasting any time expecting it all to fall on my lap, I had to just get myself out there and just jump straight in. I guess it’s the only way you’ll make a splash!'
She added: I always knew I wanted to be a photographer and with my love of going to concerts, the two just came hand in hand. I always got so excited when I was younger to go to a concert and I would watch the photographers in the pit taking photos and I just thought it was awesome!'
Naturally, the job comes with many perks and fantastic experiences some of us can only dream of!
I asked Hannah what is the best part of the job: 'The exhilarating moment the lights dip at the gig and you’re just so excited to start capturing the evening. Whether it’s the first 3 songs or it’s the whole gig I’m photographing, that rush of feeling never changes.'
She added: 'I feel like I never stop learning on the job and gaining new experiences, whether it’s making sure that that the photos are looking the best they can at the gig, to having a quick turn-around time to getting the photos ready to give out.'
Along with the great perks of music photography, comes equal challenges and obstacles you could expect from something quite competitive.
Hannah explains: 'I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to get into, I knew it was really competitive and now once I’m in, I just have to be really on the ball. I think I have a bit of a competitive streak as back in the day when I’d go to concerts and gaze at the other photographers in the pit, I never saw any female photographers there, so I wanted to get stuck in and try and get better photos than everyone there and I’m still like that now. If you think that every gig is just an audition for the next, then you’re in competition with yourself and that’s great.'
Of course, photographing bands and musicians come with the exciting experience of working directly with the artist. This is the case with Hannah who had been photographing The Pretty Reckless front-woman, Taylor Momsen, for years. However, this year they began working closer together. I asked Hannah about how it came to be that she'd be working with one of the most iconic women in rock today.
'I guess it all started when my fiancé, Rob Ellershaw['s] previous band, Heaven’s Basement was touring as their support band, they became great friends on tour. So when the band went on to become The Cruel Knives and I was taking photos of them on tour, it was on one of the dates in the UK where I took photos of The Pretty Reckless’ first 3 songs. Then that went onto do the whole set at the next gig, then it went on to being able to go on stage and creep about taking photos. We got on really well and they asked me if I could go to Paris with them and stay for the rest of the tour, after that I just kind of stuck!'
Hannah added that: '[Taylor is] just fantastic, what a wonderful soul and a truly lovely person and not only that, she’s so much fun!'
As for the future, I was keen to hear what Hannah has planned.
She said: 'I’m currently taking over the role from Alie who was Taylor’s Personal Assistant for quite some time, so I’ll be doing that role and also being their photographer. So my plans for the future are; to get the best photographs I can, to make sure everyone is happy with what I’m doing and to make sure I have fun!'
Follow the incredible Hannah here:
I have attached a slideshow featuring lots of other artists Hannah has photographed and their links!