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Photographer Nina Sandejas: Capturing the Magic Moment Onstage

April 4, 2014 | By: Leader Desslok       Meaningful Life

Rock photojournalists are some of the most talented visual artists in the world for they capture moments of unforgettable magic in the cathedral of a rock concert, both crowd and performer, the worshipping flock and the evangelist.  REACH had the chance to interview award winning rock photographer, Nina Sandejas about her passion, her gear, and what inspires women like her who find grace in the best work a journalist can ever have.   

Photo-Journalist Nina Sandejas

What is your most memorable work experience as a published photographer?  Before becoming a full time rock photographer, you were educated in fashion.   Can you give the readers an idea what you were doing prior to becoming the best rock photographer we have right now?

Working in Laneway Festival Singapore and seeing my work being published by different media from various countries in Asia.  I was a stylist for magazines and music videos, and killing time I practiced photography by shooting behind the scenes pictures from the set. They weren’t that good in the beginning but it challenged me to pursue photography.

Rico Blanco by Nina Sandejas

REACH:    Rock photography is one incredible career for anyone more so for a woman.  What inspired you to live the dream and make a career out of being a Rock journalist?  What are the most memorable rock concerts that you have attended that rocked your socks off and gave you your best pictures?

NINA:       I’ve somehow always wanted to be a journalist back in high school. Being young, fashion back then was more appealing, and when I was in fashion school I would actually end up documenting my classmates works and shows more than making my own stuff. I think I was born to be a reporter somehow.

What kind of rock music appeals most to female fans aside from Pinoy Rock which we all love?  Would you listen to Christian Rock and cover such an event?  How about an extreme metal concert?

NINA:       Rock is rock and music is universal. I don’t discriminate against any genre, that’s why I call myself a music photographer. I’ve shot Kanye West to Metallica and my fiancé Niño Avenido’s band Greyhoundz is basically rap metal.

Ely Buendia by Nina Sandejas

REACH:    Is local rock music dead now that kids' only access to music is via the internet and corporate radio?

NINA:       It’s only dead if you think it is. It’s all about the idea of the world we build for ourselves. If anything, the internet has helped bring out the best in musicians. Radio these days, is just there as usual.  Like how award shows are packaged now.  For bragging rights and maybe increase the odds of someone randomly being able to listen to a song you’re promoting.

REACH:    Nowadays anyone can use even the most basic rig and start a career as a freelance photographer, If one chooses to get into photography as either hobby or career, what kind of equipment would you recommend. What kind of costs will one incur if he or she chooses to invest in photography as a serious hobby?

NINA:       I actually wrote an article on Yahoo! Talking about the questions you need to ask yourself when pursuing photography. How serious are you? What inspired you to pick up a camera? What do other photographers use? Your habits and of course, your budget. You can read it here:  About Photography.

Bottomline, if you want the actual professional rig, you’re going to have to invest in a lot of money because photography is never cheap.

How do you do stay professional and get the job done while enjoying it at the same time?  Distractions are always present at every event, have you ever missed a moment?

NINA:       Because I love my job, it’s all I’ve ever known to do. It’s as natural to me as watching TV.  You always miss moments, that’s the fun of the game. You always strive to get those moments.  And when you do get them, it’s ultimately rewarding.

Ian Tayao by Nina Sandejas

REACH:    Aside from covering events, you also do travel photography.  What are the best places in the country that you have been to so far, and when you do visit such places, what tips do you have for people who want to capture the moment of being in a place?

NINA:       Whenever I’m abroad or out of town, I take snippets of the landscape here and there, but nothing interests me more than those places where there’s a human subject. So sometimes if I’m with a band I take photos of them in random touristy spots. I love beaches and I’m pretty sure any Filipino who reads this know the best places like Batangas or Palawan.

As a woman, how did you persevere in your craft and get as good as you are as a photographer?

NINA:       I never really thought that being a woman is both weakness and strength. You just do what you have to do as a person.

How do you take care of yourself, to avoid looking tired? What do you wear when you travel and shoot gigs?

NINA:       I don’t really think about what I wear, my closet is full of band merchandise. I wear Razorback hoodies, MUSE shirts, Greyhoundz shirts and jeans, pretty much the most laid back comfy wear you see in most gigs.

Do you read books? Do you have any plans of writing and publishing your own book on stories on the music scene?

NINA:       I read photography books by Jim Marshall, Annie Leibovitz. I have music biographies on The Rolling Stones, Metallica among other things. Maybe in the future when I have enough content I’ll make a book with photos I took of the music scene, but I’m still not thinking about it now, things are still happening.

What are you up to these days?  Any major events to cover?

NINA:       I have an exhibit this April 7 - 20 in Tiendesitas with images from artists like Karl Roy, Pepe Smith, Chickoy Pura, Francis Brew Reyes, Cooky Chua, from events performed in Tiendesitas and Greenhills since 2006. The images will be 20x30 prints courtesy of FANS Digital Philippines.

Photo Exhibit by NINA SANDEJAS
at TIENDESITAS  by FANS Digital Philippines
running APRIL 7 to APRIL 20 of  2014


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