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Weekly Women Wednesday Vol. XLII - An Interview with Wrenne Evans

September 11, 2019

 

For years now I have been endlessly inspired by tour photographer, Wrenne Evans. The way she is able to capture the soft and somber moments both on and off of tour has shaped my entire view on photography, making me strive to seek out these splinters of time where everything is quiet among all the chaos, and embody that in my own work. She has recently been on tour with Maggie Rogers, making even the massive moments of a her set at Glastonbury feel so close and tangible. Recently, we were lucky enough to have a chat with Wrenne, and talk everything from her brand new photo book 'Saturation' (which I just got my hands on, and will never stop looking at), to our frustrations with the industry.

 

Be sure to keep up with Wrenne on Instagram and Twitter, and check out her website here

Hope you enjoy, all my love, Trin.

 

Tuesday: We want to start off by saying thank you for taking the time to chat with us! We know you’ve had a really busy schedule as of late, what have the last couple months looked like for you? 

Wrenne: Of course! Past few months have been the most insane touring of my life. Australia, UK, Europe!  I would have never thought I would get to go to Australia for work. I haven’t stopped moving so it’s been hard to sit back and reflect but I am trying to get better at that. I am so tired all the time. But the gratitude is immense though. 

 

When you aren’t on the road, you split your time between Nashville and New York, how have the creative atmospheres of these cities affected you as an artist? Do you feel like their culture has shaped your creative process? 

Nashville is where I grew up, so it feels a bit too familiar for me to feel creative there. But that’s where my whole journey began. I have been spending summers in NY since 2015 but right after college I moved to New York to work for Annie Leibovitz. A lot of my creative process started to take form after that job. I was taking notes but also challenging myself to take notes of my own eye, like what do I actually feel drawn to?  I still feel that creative jolt when I am there. I am about to get on a flight back to Nashville right now actually. I still get sad when I have to leave, I’m just always thinking creatively there. It’s a combination of the people and the landscape. I tend to take some of that back with me to Nashville.

 

You’ve been hopping on tours for years now and have captured moments in venues of all sizes all around the world. How has your creative process adjusted over time as you’re being brought onto these massive tours and photographing huge spaces v.s clubs and theaters? 

It can be super overwhelming to walk into big venues or festivals! I definitely miss the small clubs and the intimacy of that. It brings out intimacy in photos too. But I cannot complain, I get to shoot at Radio City next month. The challenge has been: how do I make this space feel intimate? I love finding weird corners of venues to shoot Maggie or a band member in. As the venues get bigger, there is more to explore to keep the day-to-day stuff interesting.

 

Throughout your career, you’ve put together and showcased your photos in multiple exhibitions around Nashville– including ‘Work in Transit’, which I absolutely adore. What is it like working in these more formal and controlled spaces, compared to the often chaotic moments of tour? 

Wow! Feeling some research got done here. I am used to the chaos of tour so a break from that to get to the *heart and soul* of my art or whatever, is so nice. I love the process of an exhibition and its super rewarding to see your work hung up. Working on my next show right now actually, I’m super stoked on that. 

 

When did you get your start in live music photography? Did you always know that this was the job for you? 

I think I was like, 16? Shooting friends’ bands. I definitely fell into it because it was the environment I was surrounded by. And I realized it was a great way to cope with anxiety at shows as I got older. But I truly always wanted to be a photographer. You can ask my best friend from when I was in elementary school. How insane is that?

 

Seeing your photos feels like peeking into your memory, stepping into that moment in time for just a second. What are some of your favorite moments you’ve captured on the road?  

Thank you! Wow. I think some really special moments on the Maggie Rogers tour have been on our days off with the whole band and crew just hanging out in weird Walmart parking lots. But a few specific things that come to mind are Glastonbury and this amazing beach me and Maggie found in Oregon. 

 

It’s clear you have fallen in love with shooting on film, what drew you to this format?

You work for it. And have no idea what it will look like til you get it back from the lab or process it yourself. Hands down the best feeling in the entire world is that gratification. 

 

Is there a sector of photography/videography that you’d love to delve into deeper? A type of format, style, or piece of gear you’d love to play around with and get to know better?

 I want to work on film sets. Or do key art for a TV show or movie. That is truly a dream next step for me. I love being on set. Kinda ingrained in me after working for Annie too. 

 

You seem to be really involved in a strong and supportive community of creatives, which is so important and special. Who are some photographers that you admire and feel deserve more support?

I feel like all my friends are so crazy creative and smart which certainly keeps me motivated and inspired.  I could go on and on, I am obsessed with my friends’ art and I love that I get to hire a lot of them for Red Bull Music festivals. Natalie Somekh (@natsomphoto) is a young hustler and crushes the LA music photography game--also hilarious and I love her; Yana Yasuk is constantly blowing me away with her portrait work and sometimes I am just in awe of her attention to light; Sam Balaban (@sdotbalaban) this dude changed live music photography by putting some real art into it. We are E-Friends but man, I just love what he does. Ahad Subzwari (@aalisub) is my dude and we are constantly sharing work with each other that we are stoked on. He tours with Solange so….

 

You recently announced your upcoming photo book, ‘Saturation’. What was the process like in putting this collection of work together? (deciding which images to feature, any common themes/subjects, etc.)

It was an illuminating process. To collect work over four years was challenging but also the best thing I have ever done because I got to see my own growth through photos. Such a beautiful thing. It’s all about the in between moments that we are saturated in while on tour, or traveling but tend to overlook. Touring is so much about A to B, but this is what I see when I take the time. The book starts in 2014 and goes chronologically to 2018. I didn’t put any locations or words in it because I wanted to have discussions based around it. I want someone to flip through it and catch the themes or ask me about it. Like, even in the DM’s. When I first printed a draft, I showed it to some of my closest friends and had them mark it up with post-its. It felt like a project I wanted my friends to be involved with, the people in the book. I am so proud of it. 

 

As a woman in the industry, it’s unfortunately common to look around you in the photo pit and be one of very few women– if not the only. What would be your advice to the girls trying to get their foot in the door that may be disheartened at the lack of representation? 

I talk about this with my friend and photographer Nicole Fara Silver often. It can be really hard to be surrounded by middle-aged white dudes who ask you things like, “which member of this band are you trying to hook up with?”  You feel discouraged, especially when these bros are 5-10 inches taller than you and are still on one of those stools in a photo pit. There’s some metaphoric stuff going on there... What has always helped me is having a good group of female photo friends or a mentor. Friends like Nicole or my dearest pal, Pooneh Ghana are ladies I go to for venting or for photo advice. If there is someone you admire, straight up just DM them or email them!  And I also think it’s important to just focus on your own art and making it the best it can be, comparing yourself to others is a dangerous game. 

 

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