Brian Rasic: The Life of Brian
AAJ: How important is humor when you work?
BR: It can be, but usually I get lost in my work.
AAJ: Music journalists have to wrestle with the notion that writing about music is like "dancing about architecture," as music is something that is so intangible, and one cannot really express it as an experience. How do you go about expressing an experience of music in a picture?
From left: Noel Gallagher, Paul McCartney, Paul Weller
BR: Like I said earlier, I am there to capture what is given to me. Therefore, I don't find it difficult at all. First you take pictures, and then select the best. Selection is of huge importance, too. Less can be very often more.
AAJ: Is there a memorable image that you have taken that has become your favorite?
BR: Difficult to say, really. There is a shot of Liam Gallagher throwing beer into my camera that, according to my agency, is one of my most iconic images. There are two shots that capture British music in total: one with Jagger, Bowie and Townshend together, and the other of Noel Gallagher, McCartney and Paul Weller from the Beatles to Oasis. Love some Stones that I did; used to love photographing Prince. There's a gallery of images, as you can imagine, after 30 years of work.
AAJ: When photographing music, what's it like having a backstage pass and being right between the crowd and the artist?
BR: I guess I am used to that. The funny thing is that sometimes you have to sign the contract that you will never ever use any of what you saw there in anything that you do.
AAJ: Have you ever had to photograph someone you didn't particularly like? And, if so, how hard is it to be professional in those circumstances?
BR: Oh, that is no problem. I don't remember working with anybody I don't like, to be honest. I am not saying that I like everything either, but I do have respect for one's work, and that is crucial. I do my job, they do theirs. It's down to being professional, and I am.
AAJ: What advice would you give to a beginner, when it comes to photography?
BR: One has to follow his path. Every now and then, I am being interviewed by young students who are looking at my work as inspirational. They ask me the same kind of questions. I am an "old-school" [photographer]. Everything is so different today. Digital photography brought lots of good, but bad things too, in this business. All I know is that it's harder now than ever. But that doesn't mean that one should give up. Different times, different rules; but for sure, young people will find the way.
AAJ: How do unknown photographers get their work published?
BR: Same as above. To do a pic, you need to be there. How do you get there? Is it a chicken or an egg?
AAJ: On a technical level, what are the basics that you must ensure are in place with each image?
BR: It's all about light, really. Too much light is just as bad as too little. Think light; that is the basic. Composition comes next; don't butcher your object. Easier to do than to talk about it.
AAJ: As someone that has photographed so many concerts, how on earth do you manage what must be such a massive archive of photos?
BR: Most of my work is with my agency in their files. The film, that is. That is the only way they can sell. Some are in the attic, but more and more they are on external hard drives. The new stuff is there, as the past few years, it's all digital. Then some old work is being scanned to digital, as that is the normal way today.
AAJ: What makes a great image?
BR: Million Dollar question. Still in search of that one.
AAJ: With such an impressive career behind you, what challenges remain? What do you have left to achieve as a photographer?
BR: I really don't know. I am always looking for more work. I still love it, and I'm still here. I do believe in surprises, too. Things will happen as I work, for sure.
All Photos Courtesy of Brian Rasić