The Nightlife Photographers Tell All

The Nightlife Awards Photographers Tell All

NIC PAONE
Paone’s work has appeared in The L Magazine, as well as on numerous websites. It can also be found on his website, schroederx.com.

1. You can find me anywhere and everywhere! I love to shoot TRASH! at Rififi, Six Six Sick at Happy Ending, RebelRebel at Lit, M at darkroom, AtomicX at Beauty Bar and events like the Bowie Ball or The Drop Dead Gorgeous Pageant.

2. I have been shooting since I was a kid. I studied briefly and worked in the late 90s doing lots of concert photography, shooting bands like Everclear, Weezer and the Foo Fighters. I worked freelance in Los Angeles for a while (seven long years) but found it frustrating and returned to New York. The nightlife gig sort of came out of nowhere. I was at Beauty Bar one night and Mike, the owner, asked me who I was shooting for. Not knowing what to say and being slightly inebriated I said, “Go fuck yourself.com.” To my amazement he laughed and then bought me a drink! At that moment shots by boogotz! was born.

3. Lots of cleavage! Interesting folk is what I’m looking for. I love groovy, kooky people who I can pose and make do all the ridiculous things that pop into my nutty mind. I don’t photograph people with egos or people who annoy me, and worst of all are the people who keep asking me to take their frickin’ photo!

DANIELLE EZZO
Ezzo’s work can be found at danielleezzo.carbonmade.com, and has appeared in Planet Verge Magazine, Chorus and Verse Magazine, The L Magazine, NY Arts Magazine, The SOHO House 2008 Calendar, MF Magazine and at fleshbot.com. Her fine art photography has been shown at Like the Spice and Fuse Gallery.

1. I don’t shoot parties much anymore, so when I’m out you will most likely find me on the dance floor at TRASH! at Rififi and various nights at Lit Lounge. When I‘m shooting, Motherfucker has the most diverse and enjoyable crowd.

2. I originally went to school for fashion design. When I moved to NYC three years ago, I was designing lingerie and costumes for performers like The Pennyroyals and Fixer. I will always love design, but there’s something about fashion politics that repulses me. I’m intrigued by subcultures and the glue that binds them (regardless of how poorly) to society. When I left fashion, I took that philosophy and applied it to photography; the result was a better fit. Nightlife and band photography just happened to be the first area I experimented in.

3. It’s not that a partygoer is doing anything wrong. I just shoot what catches my eye. That usually means extravagant clothing and/or wild behavior. Based on that, if someone wants to grab my attention, I suggest wearing a monkey costume and swinging from the chandeliers.

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ISABEL BELFOR
Belfor’s work has appeared at isaphoto.com, nacotheque.com, nyremezcla.com and in Heeb magazine.

1. Most often at Lit on Tuesdays for RebelRebel, which is my favorite because it has that back room downstairs where people get comfortable and the lighting is ideal, which almost guarantees some very controversial photos. One of my more recent favorites is Fridays at Snitch. It’s more of a rock ‘n’ roll vibe than most parties and I’ve always been a rock ‘n’ roll type of girl. Also Nacotheque at Fontana’s every other Saturday, mostly because of the cute Latin men and music I’ve never heard before.

2. Photography is something I’ve always loved, but I never imagined it was something I could actually do — until I first picked up a camera. It was amazing to me that people were actually curious to know how things look through my eyes and always wanted to see more. When I got my first digital camera, I was so excited, I brought it out with me one night and started taking photos of random people. I posted them on Flickr and realized that people were a lot more interested in seeing themselves than random flowers. Now I’m hooked. Being out without my camera is the same as being out without my shoes.

3. If they’re not getting photographed, it means they’re not there. I notice a lot of the other photographers target good looking people, and then try to get them to take off their clothes, and of course the more scandalous the more fun it is to photograph, and more people will view the photos — but that’s not exactly how I work. When I’m there, I like to document everything I see, even if it’s some fat dude standing against the wall, bored. I like to make the viewers feel as if they’re re-living the party or make the people who weren’t there feel as if they were.

BRAD WALSH
Walsh’s work has appeared at misshapes.com, junk-mag.com, mtv.com, nme.com, on Gawker Media sites, and in Spin, The Village Voice, The L Magazine, HX and more.

1. I take photos every week for MisShapes (Saturdays), Ruff Club (Fridays), and, starting soon, Club NME (Thursdays). My favorite thing to shoot thus far is fashion week, but my favorite party to shoot was MisShapes. There’s an absolutely insane mix of people there, and usually people are cool with you taking their photo with no questions asked. They expect it. I don’t so much mind questions, I just hate answering the same ones over and over and over. “Who is this for?” “Who are you with?” “Where can I find this?” Innocent questions, but it gets old.

2. I’ve never taken any photography classes, but I’ve always taken lots of photos. When I moved to New York I shot a lot of my friends when we’d go out at night. And since I had a website already (junk-mag.com), I posted a few sets a month of that sort of stuff, just so I wouldn’t have to email photos to all my friends all the time. When other people, people who weren’t even at the parties, started to get into it... I started doing it more, with a purpose, and now I can’t go to a party without people stopping and posing in front of me. Sometimes I don’t even have a camera in my hand.

3. I don’t think a person needs to dress wildly or perfect a pose. I always take pictures of all kinds of people and I don’t mind when someone asks me to take their picture. Some photographers think that is the ultimate faux pas, but if you want your photo taken, and you see the party photographer right there, what’s wrong with going up to him and saying, “Hey! Can you take our photo?” Just shows you know what’s up, I think. It’s kinda cliché to say this, but I think there’s beauty and something interesting in every face. Maybe not every outfit. But definitely every face.

JULIAN GILBERT
Gilbert’s work has appeared at misshapes.com, myopenbar.com, juliangilbert.blogspot.com, and flickmasterflash.com

1. The now-defunct Ruff Kids basement parties at Annex on Friday nights… M at darkroom and Six Six Sick at Happy Ending are probably my favorite current parties.

2. I started taking pictures at pop-punk shows seven years ago. Everything has just naturally progressed from there, I suppose. How did I start in nightlife? I started going out about three years ago, thanks to my roommates. Made a bunch of friends. Got a digital camera and started bringing it out so I could remember my nights better and friends would get awesome new MySpace photos out of it.

3. It’s not about posing people or contrived pictures. If the party’s good and everyone’s having a good time it comes out in the pictures. If the party sucks, the pictures are usually still good but not as interesting. If a person’s not being photographed, they’re trying too hard. Or they’re asking to get their photo taken.

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NIKOLA TAMINDZIC
Tamindzic is Gawker’s resident photographer, and his work can also be found at his website, ambrel.net, and thehomeofthevain.com.

1. All over the place, although most of my nightlife-related work is done outside bars — my favorite recent one was of TRASH! — I shot the entire party in the street, in black and white, and it was a much-loved set of photos. And of course, there are many private house parties — those are far more interesting, but not exactly something that can be easily shared online… more as material for a future book on New York nightlife.

2. Before I moved to New York, I was shooting some parties in Chicago for about a year, but that was not at all serious — it was just a way to interact with people. Once I moved here, I randomly ended up at Nick Denton’s (owner of Gawker Media) Halloween party, disguised as a photographer, and once Nick saw the photos, he hired me on the spot. And that shot me into nightlife photography.

3. If they’re not trying to grab my attention, they have a better shot at being photographed. People who tug on your sleeve to have a picture taken are usually the least interesting people in the venue. There has to be something: attitude, style, something that genuinely makes you stick out, something that makes me feel that the person is willing and eager to contribute something to the photo, in one way or another, rather than posing goofily for a high-school dance snapshot.

NATE IGOR SMITH
Smith’s work has appeared in Stern Magazine and can be found at his website, drivenbyboredom.com.

1. I tend to shoot the same parties every week, but I’m a little sick of it. I need to get out of my comfort zone and start shooting some new faces. My favorite parties to shoot are TRASH! and High Voltage, because I always know everyone and can get great photos out of my friends. But that is just lazy. I need to move on artistically.

2. I started when I was 15, to document the Washington, DC, punk scene. I spent eight years shooting nothing but bands. At some point I got sick of it and just started shooting people... the nightlife stuff is just an extension of that. Actually, in 1999 I had a nightlife photo blog that was hugely popular at my college. It got so popular that I had to quit it because people started harassing me at 9am on the way to class. After that I shot some of my friends at house parties and things, but I didn’t really do nightlife again until last March. I bring my point-and-shoot everywhere, but one day in March I took my real camera with me, had a blast, and now I can’t party without it.

3. I look for bright colors, hot girls, weird looking people, cleavage and really drunk people. If you’re pouring a bottle of Grey Goose down your throat while standing on a table, chances are I’m going to point my camera in your direction. I’m basically looking for people having a good time, because I want to make all the parties I shoot look like they were the greatest party that ever existed.

NICK RHODES
Rhodes’ work can be found at the website NickyDigital.com and in the magazines Fader, Spin, L Magazine, Radar, Out and more.

1. Mondays at Darkroom, Tuesdays at Black & White and Happy Ending and 205, Wednesdays at Lit and 200 Orchard, Thursdays at Hiro Ballroom, Fridays at Lotus, Saturdays at Highline Ballroom and The Annex, Sundays at Sway.

2. I’ve always shot as far back as I can remember. I got my first camera at age nine and continued to study photography through college. I’ve always been a fan of nightlife and music, so it came together pretty naturally.

3. Look but don’t touch. I dislike it when someone grabs me to try to get me to snap a shot of them because it usually means ruining the shot they don’t even realize I’m working on.

JEFF MELTZ
Meltz’s work has appeared at musicslut.com, brooklynvegan.com, stereogum.com and more, and can be found at his website, thecultureofme.com.

1. I don’t have a “stomping ground” that I stick to, but I love High Voltage, Rated X, Motherfucker, TRASH!, Cheeky Bastard and MONDO.

2. When I was at university, I shot a ton of video of my friends and those kinds of parties, but got tired of it really quickly. I’ve been shooting stills of my friends and the little shindigs I throw at my place for the past year or so pretty heavily, so that got me more into party photos and “nightlife.” I’ve only been seriously shooting parties for about six months, so I’m a freshman compared to some of the other cats featured in these pages.

3. It’s hard to say. I don’t like shooting the “superstars.” You know, the kids who’ll end up on every single photographer’s radar. But if you’re nonchalant about it and don’t look douchebag-y, I’ll probably ask to take your photo. The kids who act like I should be taking their photos are the ones whose photos I don’t take. We’re all there to have a great time and party, so just don’t act like you’re the shit, and we’ll all get along fine.

 
 
 
 

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