Just recently, I headed over to The Camera Museum in Penang to have a look at that French photographer aka Antoine Loncle’s exhibition, Blood | Sweat | Tears. I also had the chance to ask Antoine some quick questions. If you’re thinking, “Haiya, why this Viona always do interviews only one, dunno how to write other things meh,” trust me, I’m thinking the same, too. But being the only Penang kia in the bunch, it’s only reasonable that I, the only Penangite, have to cover this event right? So bear with me lah.
Tell us more about Blood | Sweat | Tears.
Um yeah, everyone here *waves at exhibit* is from local bands. And it’s basically people I’ve met over the past 2 years. Because well, I’m also part of the music scene. That’s how I got into this, I know these people and I also love photography. So, just putting two and two together. Um, most of this photos are from festivals. One big batch was from a festival in Penang, Indie PG, yeah, that was a big one. There was another called the Five° North Music Festival in December. It’s just a lot easier to get a bunch of photos when it’s festivals. And if you see all these with the white backgrounds, it was just something I did at random. For example, this one, of the band, The Color Noise, it was right after they finished their set at Indie Penang, and I was like, “Hey, would you mind if we took a quick photo?” and they were like “Yeah, sure.” So we went into like, this corridor, and just found a white wall, and I just took a photo of them. I only used one flash and a small LED light and it turned out really nice so I started doing a bunch of them. The point is that, it was all taken after they’ve just come out of stage, and they still have the energy. Like all of this were taken 5 minutes after they finish performing, and they’re all sweaty and… weird. *laughs*
You mentioned you’re in a band? What’s your band called?
Volatile. *points to shirt* I swear this wasn’t planned.
Wow, cool. So maybe you can tell us a bit about your band?
Yeah, sure. Our band is coming up to a little more than 3 years now. It was originally just me and my cousin, Jaime. We like music and at that time we were both getting into instruments. I play the drums, she plays the guitar. And we said that we should have a band for fun. So we played at like family gatherings and stuff like that. Eventually, we got more people. The first one was the singer, his name is Sean. He’s like, 15 now, and back then he was like, 13 or something, yeah he’s very young. We actually stole him from another band. *laughs* But that’s a story for another time. And we also got another friend, Wei Wen, he’s not with the band as much anymore, because he’s in KL doing Law and stuff, so it’s a bit hard.
What genre does Volatile play?
We do a lot of original songs. We’re like kind of in between Alternative Rock and Classic Rock. Something like Foo Fighters.
Alright, let’s get back to photography. When did you start taking photographs?
Um, photography itself was a big interest for a few years already. My dad and granddads are into photography and videos, so I got it from them. And then, I got my camera when I was like around 13. Then I just started taking photos. But photos of musicians and stuff, I started those around 3 years ago.
What is the inspiration behind this exhibit?
Well I’m fortunate enough to say that I know all these people personally. And I’ve had proper conversations with them, have sat down with them and spent time with them before or after a gig. They’re just really, really nice people. When you talk to them, they’re all really passionate about music, and it’s kinda all that they do, so I want to show that to people. Show the kind of feelings that goes into music, an art form that is not really seen as an art form. People often go, “Oh, you play music? That’s really cool,” and someone else makes a painting and they go, “Wow! That’s amazing. I’ll buy it for a million dollars.” So, yeah.
What else do you photograph besides music?
I’ve done a bit of Street photography around Georgetown. And I’ve done one or two weddings, but it’s not really my thing. Music is more my thing, it’s a lot of fun to photograph. I like Portraiture as well.
Any Malaysian photographers you look up to?
I know this one guy, Sherwynd Kessler, he’s pretty awesome. He’s kind of a rough acquaintance. He’s really good. He’s more into photojournalism, and he does a lot of stuff in Penang. His stuff always place in competitions, he’s really good. Another close friend of mine is John Cheong. He actually has a few photos out the back [of Camera Museum]. I met him about a year ago, and he’s pretty good.
How did you get this space?
It’s actually because I’m interning here. Every month, they have an exhibit. They didn’t really have anything for this April, so I asked if I could have some of my works up here and they said yes.
Do you have any advice for other photographers? How to, you know, have exhibitions and all that.
It’s really all up to you. Because you don’t have to go to an artsy place to do an exhibition. You can just go to like, a café around the corner or whatever. If your work sort of reflects the mood of the place, just ask if you can have an exhibition. A lot of people are okay with it because one, it brings in business for them, and two, it’s win-win. As long as there’s an equal amount of gain to both sides, the organizers will usually be okay with it. You just have to ask around, build a network.
Are you only based in Penang, or do you also travel around the country?
I’m working on travelling around. Well, I have to be able to get more gigs, in order to travel around. I’ve been to KL once or twice, and besides that, I haven’t really been to many other places because not a lot of people have asked, so. *laughs*
Would you say that your name is quite established in the music photography scene, or are you only just starting out?
Um, I’d like to think that, in this sort of music scene, my name is kind of in there. Quite a lot of people here knows me, but then again, they’re close friends so, I don’t know. I’d like to get a bit more into the international scene, like, when an international band comes down, it’d be cool to get a call. In terms of the local scene, I’m pretty alright, I’d like to think. *laughs*
What are your goals as a photographer?
Well, I look up to this one photographer. His name is Adam Elmakias. He’s exclusively a band photographer. What he does is, he goes around with bands as part of their crew, and he works as the photographer. Like, a band has the band, and then the roadies that carries the instruments and he sort of tags along as the official photographer. And he gets to go all over the world and be with the band, so, that’s like, the dream.
Do you have any advise for people who have just started going into photography like myself? Heh.
I don’t want to be the one that repeats all those cliché quotes like, hey, don’t give up, that kind of thing. But, it’s really true. There’s a famous quote, by
Ansel Adams I think Henri Cartier-Bresson*, it’s like, your first 10,000 photos are your worst, something like that. You just have to keep going out there. If you don’t go out and shoot, you won’t know what is bad and what is good. Yeah, and also a lot of people say, “I don’t have a good camera so I can’t take good photos.” But I started out with just a point-and-shoot camera. It’s your eyes that counts.
Great advise! Alright, that’s kind of it. Is there anything else you want to add?
Umm, not really. Follow me on Instagram, maybe? Hahah.