Gimme Noise has selected 20 finalists in our Twin Cities music photographers 2014 showcase. Read all of the profiles here.
Anna Gulbrandsen has earned a reputation as a dedicated visual storyteller within the Twin Cities electronic music community. In addition to her work with Sound in Motion, she's covered everything from Bassgasm to Soundset to Rock the Garden for City Pages too.
Name: Anna Gulbrandsen
How and when did you get involved with music photography?
I've been carrying a camera around since I was a little kid, but it wasn't until my grandfather gave me an old Canon AV-1 for a photo class in high school that I became more serious about photography. I decided to pursue a studio art degree in college; after graduating, I quickly got involved in the electronic music scene in Minneapolis, becoming active on a local forum. I came to know a lot of great promoters and DJs and was eventually hired to take photos for some of the events at which I had become a regular.
What are some highlights of your professional photography experience?
After joining Sound in Motion in 2008, my first gig was Ferry Corsten at Epic. It was exhilarating to take photos on stage of a producer I'd been listening to for years. Another surreal experience for me was Crystal Castles in 2012 at First Avenue. Instead of the typical "first three songs from the pit, no flash" rule, I was informed I'd be taking photos of the first three songs from on stage. Her tour manager added a last minute tip, "Alice will probably throw her mic stand at you, I'll do my best to intercept it. She can be a bit erratic." There have been many highlights over the years, but I can always count on festivals such as Summer Set and Rock the Garden to be thrilling (albeit exhausting) gigs.
Where can people find your work (exhibits, album covers, publications, etc.)?
City Pages, the SIMshows archives, and collecting e-dust on my hard drives :)
What is your favorite part of music photography?
That feeling of being in the pit, the energy's high and the pressure's on, and knowing you got "the shot." There's nothing quite like it.
What dos/don'ts do you have for young photographers who would like to pursue this type of work?
This job is not for the timid! First of all, there are venue rules and a photo pit etiquette to follow. You can't be too unassertive, otherwise you won't get the shots you want and need. You also can't be too aggressive either, or you'll lose respect with your peers, the venue, or even the artist on stage. Second of all, approaching people for snapshots of the crowd can be daunting, but can be an essential part of capturing the mood of an event. And perhaps most importantly, networking is key to getting yourself known in the scene as well as getting to know those who will support you as a photographer.
Kasey Jean Noll