Fashion and Music Photography: 5 Minutes with Rhiannon Banks
In her career as a photographer Rhiannon Banks has shot the likes of Palace, Visvim and Neighbourhood while working at the North East’s premier contemporary urban and streetwear store, END Clothing. More recently Rhiannon has worked with some of the up and coming streetwear brands right here in the North East such as Any Forty, CLSM and of course, Eighty6! We thought we would ask her a few questions for the Eighty6 Scene blog to find out what it’s like being a fashion and music photographer working here in the North East.
How long have you been a photographer?
Professionally about four years, but all together if you include being a bit of a hobbyist, around nine years.
How did you get into photography?
I started off going to a lot of local gigs as a kid and there was one show, I think it may have been a Kerrang tour show years and years ago. Anyway, there was this awesome looking girl, she had mad dreads, great dress sense, basically cool as hell, and she was in the pit taking photos and it dawned on me in that moment that that’s exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to be that girl in the pit taking photos of musicians that I absolutely loved. It kind of escalated from there. I ended up photographing loads of local bands to start of with, then I got into fashion. I was really bad looking back to then but I guess everyone has to start somewhere! Plus, at the time I didn’t have a mentor or anything.
What sort of work do you specialise in?
I’m now sort of a jack-of-all-trades! Freelance wise I mainly get work for live music photography and clothing companies for their look books. But my main specialism is fashion and product photography. I used to work for a high end men’s clothing company called END for like three and a half years, where I shot editorial and product photography every day. So I guess now that’s what I have ended up being known for.
How would you describe your style of photography?
Now this is a hard question! I think it’s hard to look at your own work and fully describe it. But I’d hope it would stand out from what else you see out there. I like to think that my live music work really brings the personality out of the musician and it has some life and soul to it. I hate seeing boring live music photography, there’s always something interesting to shoot or a moment that needs capturing.
But with my fashion work, it has a little bit of an edge, almost grungy at times. Again I’m all about personalities and when you put a garment on someone, yes it should show off that product but I think that you also need to get a vibe for the person wearing it too.
What or who inspires you?
So many different things inspire me. I actually mainly find inspiration from film and literature. I got a little obsessed with the beat generation literature like the obvious writers, like Jack Kerouac, Hunter S Thompson and Allen Ginsberg. I just think that the characters that they portrayed at the time were, lets say, slightly colourful and had their demons (but don’t we all?) I think I like their portrayals of human nature and that’s something that I would like to be able to show through my images. I also love art but there are so many artists and photographers to mention. I just like what I like and take inspiration from everything.
What was thinking behind the shoot you did for Eighty6?
Really wanted to have quite a simple idea to show off the clothing, because that’s what its all about! But I think choosing the location we did worked really well. It gave the shoot a street vibe, very chilled especially having our guest model the lovely Floyd the Frenchie. He was amazing, worked better than our actual model (haha sorry Jordan!) We also managed to find a location where the iconic Tyne bridge was hiding in the background which was just a subtle hint at our northern pride.
What do you love most about your job?
The people I get to work with. I have met so many amazing people doing what I do and I have met some friends for life. I love the fact I get to be creative, I think that’s one of the main things that makes me happy being creative and doing it with like minded people. Soppy I know, but thanks to everyone I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with over the years!
What would be your dream shoot?
I’d love to do a big editorial for NME (like a front cover would be amazing!) with one of my favourite musicians. I know they are a bit old school but id still love to photograph Robert Smith from the Cure or Debbie Harry from Blondie. They were huge influences for me when I was younger.
Where can people see more of your work?
I post a lot on Instagram especially from the shoots that I do. I also have a website so if you want to check out any of my work or get in touch with me go to www.rhiannonbanks.com
My instagram is @rcabphoto.