IGimme Noise has selected 20 finalists in our Twin Cities music photographers 2014 showcase. Read all of the profiles here.
Kasey Jean Noll has been toiling away in photo pits since her college days, and has since built a business around her passion. Her work has appeared in several publications in the region.
Name: Kasey Jean Noll
How and when did you get involved with music photography?
Oh lord. By my senior year of high school, I was already doing athletic promo/event coverage for surrounding colleges. I already had a passion for photos well before music photography stole my heart. I had always attended concerts growing up -- Evanescence, Bullet for My Valentine, A Perfect Circle, Korn, In This Moment, Slipknot, Disturbed, All That Remains -- you get the idea.
So, when my friends invited me to a music festival that Flyleaf was headlining I was obviously stoked to go. I brought my camera to document the entire day. What I didn't expect was getting invited into the pit. I remember asking, "Don't I need a pass?" I was totally caught off guard when this awesome security guard offered me a place in the pit for the third song. Obviously he shouldn't have done that, but he saw me with my camera and he gave me a chance. So I walked right in there, joined the other photogs and walked away with some incredible shots.
Total bliss aside, a few months later it was college time. I packed my things and was Duluth-bound. One of my favorite things about the College of Saint Scholastica is that they recognize the importance of music. A week after classes started, I was offered a student staff spot to photograph their concerts because of my Flyleaf photos. Through CSS one of the first artists I was able to photograph was Sara Bareilles. Once my three-song limit was up for Bareilles, I walked away knowing I needed to change my major.
Regardless of my time commitments, I made time for photography. I sat every day and made it a point to teach myself something new about my DSLR and Photoshop until I was able to find a place more suitable for my artistic needs. I transferred schools, majored in marketing communications and have been living solely off of my photography ever since. My emphasis to this day is music, fight, and wedding coverage.
What are some highlights of your professional photography experience?
My personal favorite is that I met my fiance through photographing All That Remains and Plain White T's in 2011. Also, Vans Warped Tour, Journey's Backyard BBQ Tour, Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, Minnesota State Fair, and 93X/94X's X Fest. Also, promo work for Hollywood Undead, Deuce & My Darkest Days.
Where can people find your work (exhibits, album covers, publications, etc.)?
ThrillCall.com, OnMilwaukee.com, The Artist Spotlight, Star Tribune, Alternative Press Magazine... and... I'm going to direct you to the full list on my website, haha.
What is your favorite part of music photography?
I'd have to say it is a tie between being so close to some of my biggest heroes and interacting with the fans.
The amount of awesome people I have met at shows is truly incredible. Heck, one of my wedding photographers is a gal I first met while she was fan-girling to Mayday Parade while I was working Warped! I have this album on my Facebook photo page I named "Family of Strangers" because that's what fans are. We come together to support a common interest, we chit chat, we bond, exchange smiles, goofy looks -- and maybe even numbers. We become friends, and possibly even fall in love. Music creates this whole new family for its listeners. I've heard countless times how some feel most at home in a crowd of people they don't even know. Why? Because we accept each other. For this short moment in time we find love, bliss, and absolute peace.
It's also pretty cool to be up close and personal, talking to, and photographing someone you never could have imagined meeting as a kid. Skillet, Papa Roach, Avenged Sevenfold, Paramore, and Demi Lovato... I have loved all of these artists for years. I am pretty sure after photographing each of these I cried like a baby. No shame in admitting that. To go from someone on the outside who watched and followed for so long to getting to ask some of the questions I've always had and sharing with them my photographs of their shows has been life-changing.
What dos/don'ts do you have for young photographers who would like to pursue this type of work?
Don't be a fan girl in the pit. Don't be whipping out your phone, jumping up and down, and screaming, "MARRY ME!!!!!" I've seen it. I don't like it. I think there's a certain level of professionalism that needs to be brought back into the pit. Save the celebration for afterwards. Smile, laugh, interact, have a good time doing what you love, but essentially you're there to work. Once your three songs are up, then you can go put your hands up in the air and party like its nobody's business. But when you're shooting, get the shots you were hired to get.
Don't Give Up. People will try to say you're not as good as so and so, and hey you don't have x amount of "likes." The value of your work can only be decided by you. At the end of the day, if you don't love your work, do the research, practice, and try again. If you don't give up, you can get there. I'm not where I want to be yet - but that doesn't mean I don't celebrate the success I have had. Hold your head high. If you have naysayers, it means you're doing something right.
Get out there, achieve your dreams - and if they're too easy, aim higher. Do that, and I'm a fan of yours already. Thanks for reading. If you love what I do, please vote, lovelies. My name is Kasey Jean Noll.
Kasey Jean Noll