Behind The Lens: Leslie Kalohi
July 15, 2009 - Los Angeles, CA
Behind The Lens
If you attend a lot of concerts in Los Angeles, you've probably been to a show Leslie Kalohi has shot. Probably one of the most unassuming music photographers you'll ever meet, she lets her photography speak for itself. We asked Leslie some questions about her venture into concert photography, and she kindly shared some of her favorite photos with us.
Q & A
So Leslie, who do you shoot for?
I go back and forth between TheScenestar.com and LAist.com, but most people would recognize my photos from The Scenestar.
How did you get into music photography in the first place?
I used to go to A LOT of shows. I was the one that would show up before doors opened so I could be right up front. After awhile, I thought it may be wise to start documenting the amazing music I was seeing up close, so I started bringing along a disposable film camera. I liked the results so much that I quickly purchased a point-and-shoot film camera, which then turned into a digital point-and-shoot camera, and ultimately a "pro-sumer" grade SLR. I got a lot of practice in by shooting in-stores and at venues with lax camera policies. A friend, who worked on The Scenestar at the time, would often ask to use some of my images for the site. Eventually, I was shooting things specifically for the site with proper press credentials.
Do you have a favorite moment?
Getting to shoot Sigur Ros at the Greek Theatre last year. It was simply... amazing... and a dream come true for an uber-fan.
What's the coolest thing one of your photos has been used for?
A photo of mine was used in the CD packaging of the Eels' Useless Trinkets: B Sides, Soundtracks, Rarities and Unreleased compilation last year (see photo #11). I was actually notified about this from a European fan who had the CD and wanted to congratulate me about the use of the photo. However, record label had never actually contacted me for permission regarding the use of photo, nor did they compensate or credit me. It eventually got sorted out, but it did take a few months of going back-and-forth between Universal. Haha.
If you had to pick a favorite photo of yours, which one would it be?
There's this one photo of Feist at an Amoeba Records in-store about 4 years ago that I took while I was still just learning my SLR. It is mostly a result of an accident and dumb luck. It is not my most popular photo by Flickr standards, but I love the colors, the softness, and Feist's expression. I don't think I've been able to recreate a magical moment such as this since then, but have been trying my hardest ever since.
Music photography can be grueling at times, do you see yourself doing this much longer?
I'm definitely more picky these days about what assignments I choose to take, as I'm not the "spring chicken" I used to be, and I do this as a hobby, not as a source of income. I can't imagine still staying up late and being the "old person" at the show for years to come, haha. I say this now, but whenever I take an extended break, I find myself getting antsy and eager to get back into it.
Thanks Leslie. You can check out more of Leslie's photos on Flickr.