With an expansive portfolio including iconic names such as Bishop Briggs, Grouplove, Temples, SWMRS, Foxygen, and many more, photographer Sophia Ragomo is completely taking over the music scene with her stunning and unique film-based photos. Personally, I’ve been a fan of her work for a while now and was ecstatic when she agreed to a feature on Pure Nowhere. Each photo perfectly captures the emotion and nostalgia of each show, and whether it be digital or Polaroid, she never ceases to amaze. In our interview she talks to us about why she got into photography, her top tips for photographers trying to break into the business, and her dream tour. It also includes a large collection of Sophia’s all time favorite photos, so read on!
1. Hi hello so how & when did you first get into photography? And what inspired you to start shooting concert photography specifically?
My earliest memory of photography is when my parents bought me a point-and-shoot digital camera when I was around 7 years old. It was Easter time and I remember taking photos of everything in my Easter basket. I didn’t do a lot of photography throughout the rest of elementary school and middle school, but in high school, I took a darkroom class and that’s what rekindled my interest in the medium. I went on to take digital photography and after that, I had the ability to join newspaper or yearbook as a photographer. I ended up doing newspaper for my junior and senior years of high school as a staff photographer and then photo editor. During senior year, we were putting together a piece on a band made up of students that attended our school called The Greeting Committee. We needed photos for the spread and the band was stopping through on tour with Kitten that night. I was able to go and take photos of the show and then I knew that music photography was what I wanted to pursue.
2. Who was the first band you ever took photos for and how was that experience?
The Greeting Committee was the first band I ever photographed, which was a really special experience for me because I had attended all of high school with them. After high school, I moved to New York and they got to open on tours with Misterwives, Andrew McMahon, and Judah and the Lion, so it was really cool to see how we both grew in our careers. This past summer, I met back up with them in Philadelphia while they were on tour and it was awesome to reconnect and take photos of them again.
3. At what point did you realize that this is your passion? Your photos are so incredibly amazing, do you plan on pursuing photography as a career? Or just a hobby?
If I could tour with any band in the world, it would be Foo Fighters. They are one of my all-time favorites and Dave Grohl seems like one of the most down-to-earth, honest people in music right now. Other bands that I would love to tour with would be Paramore, Sundara Karma, Grouplove, Courtney Barnett, The Lemon Twigs, PVRIS, The Orwells, or The Struts.
5. What’s your all time dream, like that one defining moment that would make you think “wow I made it”?
6. What would you tell someone trying to get into concert photography? Any tips or advice?
To people trying to get into concert photography — definitely shoot anything and everything you can. Many small venues have more relaxed camera policies, making it easier to build a portfolio. No opportunity is too small and you never know who you may meet on the job! Also, think about what makes your work different. Concert photography is a highly saturated market, so finding ways to distinguish yourself is key!
7. Who’s in your go to playlist!
My go-to playlist is a mix of my favorite British bands, such as Blossoms, The Amazons, Wolf Alice, and Blaenavon! I also have been really into Nothing But Thieves’ most recent album “Broken Machine” lately.
Huge thank you to Sophia for taking the time to talk to us and putting together this amazing collection of photos, and to you, for taking the time to read our articles and support artists all over the world. It amazes me, the amount of talented and dedicated people that are all around us. Here’s to helping them live their dreams.
(Also check out Sophia’s personal website here: http://www.sophiaragomo.com/)