Behind The Lens with: CJ Harvey
"It seems that a lot of people my age try to be interesting by having problems or starting conflicts. I'd rather be interesting because I created something beautiful.” This quote is on your homepage of your website, can you elaborate on it?
I think this quote speaks for itself, but it was something I stumbled upon when I was in high school that just stuck with me as I started taking my photography more seriously.
When/how did you start photography? Why did you go into the music photography direction?
I remember sneaking my camera into shows when I was around 14 or so, and I'd throw it into the bottom of my bag and pile tampons on top of it so that venue security wouldn't say anything. I never had photo passes when I was first starting out, so I'd just shoot from the crowd and try to get at least one photo that I was happy with. I was always interested in music photography because I'd see people working with bands on tour and think their daily job must be so exciting. I'd get so bored if I had an office job, or even a studio photography job.
What was your first tour ever? How did you get on it?
The first band I ever toured with was Grizfolk from LA. I saw them once in New York with Smallpools, and met them again at Firefly the following summer. They let me photograph their set from the side of the stage and loved the photos so much that they agreed when I asked to go on their next tour with them. They picked me up after their NYC show, and took me all the way to Salt Lake!
What’s the best thing that happened while you were photographing a show?
I love being on stage while my friends are playing. On the last Cold Fronts tour I did, we had this bit where I'd get on stage for one song when Craig went into the crowd. I'd take his guitar that was left on silent and pretend that I was playing lead
guitar for the whole thing. One time I fake shredded so hard that I actually broke a string and felt really bad.
How important is it for you to capture those behind the scenes candids? How do you make it look so cool and easy to capture those moments?
I wouldn't say that they're more important than other types of photos, but they're just more fun for me personally. There's something special about having that kind of access to touring bands. You can capture these really honest moments before a show where, if the artist trusts you, they're not posing for the camera. They're genuinely warming up for their set and paying no attention to you. The less attention I get behind a camera in situations like that, the better the photos usually are.
Who’s an artist you would love to tour with and why?
I'd love to tour with either Lorde or Harry Styles one day. Both of them are wildly creative, positive, young people who work their asses off. I'd love to be thrown around that environment while exploring bigger venues than I'm used to.
How is it being a female photographer in the rock scene where most bands are all men?
Often times, it SUCKS. There are a lot of people who don't take me seriously as a young female artist, and I've been stuck in some pretty shitty situations because of that. At the end of the day though, I feel like I'm incredibly focused, and probably tougher because of it. It's important to push through to prove that women can do anything in the world.
What is one thing you wish bands did differently regarding having females in their teams?
I wish that bands utilized their platforms to normalize having women on their team (even if they aren't in the band). If a successful band begins to hire women for their mgmt / sound / pr / agencies / creative direction, it forces people in the industry to interact with women in a professional environment. That builds all of these relationships with women in music and makes the whole community stronger because of it.
What is one thing you want to achieve by the end of the year? Any future projects?
I want to put out two more zines from tours I've already done this year and hit the road with Daddy Issues and Ron Gallo.
What is your favourite photo you’ve ever taken while on tour?
That's a hard question because my style is constantly changing and my favorites are directly influenced by my relationship
to the person in the photo. So probably something more recent. I'm not sure!
Check out CJ Harvey's website for more photos: http://cjharveyart.com/ https://www.instagram.com/cjharvey2/