Interview by Ocean Trimboli
Recently, I caught up with 23-year-old Perth photographer, Max Fairclough, only hours before he was flying out to join Taylor Swift on her 1989 World Tour. Sharing with us his journey and hopes for the future, we get an real insight into having a career in his industry.
Ever since I was young, I have always been a creative person. I was always interested in graphic design, drawing, and all different elements of creativity, whether it be music or arts. So I think photography was more a natural progression towards the job I wanted. Both my parents are photographers as well and so growing up with such creative family members, I was always involved in different creative outlets in one way or another. Photography just happened to be one of the things I landed on.
10 PAST 6
I am a portrait and music photographer, and music photography came about because I was playing music at the time; but never pursued playing in a band. When I started taking pictures, naturally the things I wanted to photograph were the things I wanted to fall in love with and that was being in a band, going on tour, and working with other musicians. It made sense for me to document the things I wanted to be and the things I wanted to pursue.
Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance
Tell us about the first music gigs you photographed.
The first gig I photographed was a local Australian hardcore band, Break Even. I met their vocalist, Mark, outside a club in Fremantle, as they were a support act for the Canadian band Alexisonfire. I went up to him, saying how great their band was and then we got speaking for awhile. One thing lead to another and I was telling him that I take pictures; that I was interested in doing music photography. He then invited me to document their show two weeks later at a place called Amplifier Bar in Perth. It just worked out, meeting someone who found an interest in something that I did.
Was it difficult to get started?
Sometimes it was just luck. With my second gig, I got thrown into the deep end when I got a phone call from a venue saying their in-house photographer had called in sick, and so I had to cover the event. And I didn’t know what exactly I was supposed to do, I thought I was just photographing people in a nightclub and taking social photos. It wasn’t until I arrived at the venue, that I realised I had to take photos backstage of Panic At The Disco, Yellowcard, All Time Low – all pretty big, well-known bands now. It was all quite surreal.
Dan Flint – You Me At Six
In amidst all the success you’ve had, what struggles have you faced getting to where you are now?
Photography is definitely a slow and patient craft to get to do the things that I do. For me the biggest struggle was being impatient about it all and getting knocked back; I used to send 30 to 40 emails a day trying to get jobs. I didn’t have a portfolio; I didn’t have a name for myself. The beginning was hard, but you have to go through the trials and tribulations of failure to really master the craft.
What current projects are you working on, we’ve heard you will be touring with Taylor Swift?
It’s actually quite funny, I am about to leave to go to the airport and fly to Washington DC to join the tour. I had previously worked with another artist, Vance Joy, and he got offered the main support for Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour. When he was offered the support gig, I approached Vance Joy’s manager and said I’d be interested in documenting this tour, could I be involved and since they knew what I could do, they said yes.
I am used to photographing artists playing in arenas of around twelve thousand people, and now we’ll be touring football stadiums, which is about 70 000 people. It will be a really interesting, cool experience to document something at a level that is so insane. I don’t really know what to expect and I am really looking forward to what comes of the tour.
Jake Taylor – In Hearts Wake
Where do you hope to see yourself, as a photographer, in the future?
I’d like to stay quite relevant in the music scene, but I am branching out to more commercial and advertising work. I hope to work with major agencies that represent clients looking to do big campaigns, like Virgin Airlines or HBO. I’d like to dream big and tackle the massive advertising world. I am also looking to reach out to the entertainment industry, and do portraits of actors. I think with music I will always be in it and I love photographing portraits of musicians, but to keep moving forward I do need to branch out to other things. I think in the future I will have more personal projects in the works and less touring with artists; the goal is to not be touring by the time I am 26.
Alex Ga Skarth – All Time Low
What piece of advice would you give to young people interested in having a career in photography?
Be conscious that any information you want know about photography can be found on the internet, you don’t have to necessarily go to university to get jobs or know how a camera works. Photography is all about perseverance. You have to push forward and accept that people aren’t always going to reply, some people will hate on your work and know that you have to persevere through that. Have confidence in your work and getting yourself out there, and never stop learning.
Check out Max’s entire portfolio here!
TODD MEYN – NIKE 6.0