EstherGirl Gaze Guangzhou
17 August 2018
Esther and I were in the same band in the summer of 2012. I played drums and she was the lead singer. Even though the band itself disbanded shortly after our first and final gig in Guangzhou, Esther and I kept in touch due to our similar interests, like photography. This spring in 2018, I went back to Guangzhou and invited Esther to be a guest on Girl Gaze Tokyo, Guangzhou edition.
Hi, Esther. Can you please introduce yourself?
Esther: It is always a difficult question for me to answer haha. I am Esther – also known as @shewilldestroyou. I was born and raised in Guangzhou, China.
In what industry do you work?
Esther: I’ve worked as a live concert photographer for a musical instrument company since I graduated from college. So I would say the music industry because I always work with musicians from all over the world.
Can you describe what it is like to work as a live concert photographer? What are the elements you look for when taking photos at a show?
Esther: Working as a live concert photographer is actually quite similar to working as a film photographer or director, I think. Because for me, before you start to capture the artists on stage, you first need to visualise the image inside your head, and then pay close attention to the change of lighting, especially when the artists are moving non-stop. Its some of the most exhausting work I’ve ever done! I always look for the expressions that are shown in their eyes and the motion of their bodies, but the eyes are the most important factor.
What are the things that motivate you to work as such?
Esther: Definitely music, I think. In 2014, I toured with a post-rock band from Malaysia in China, and I took a lot of pictures for them with only a phone haha. It was my very first time taking photos for a band. I was still a college student at the time. I really appreciated that they liked the pictures I took. After this spectacular experience, I realised I had interest in becoming a photographer – which is the beginning of everything, haha.
What is music to you personally?
Esther: Music is a gift from God. It saved my life, no question. It is a medium of artistic expression. Same as photography.
I completely agree with what you said about music and photography being mediums for artistic expression. Can you tell me what do you hope to convey through your work in music and photography?
Esther: Yes, besides photography, actually I also have my own electronic music project and the messages I want to convey through each my photographs and my music are vastly different. Music-wise, I tend to utilise multiple elements of sound, in which you can hear various styles in my songs. Overall, I’d say my music leans toward the genre of ambient music. Concerning my photography, I also take fine art photographs alongside my live show photography work. Most of this work so far is experimental.
For one of my recent photography projects, I observed some daily items and searched for an in-depth meaning behind them. With time, I was able to connect the meaning with Buddhist scriptures. As for a song I wrote not too long ago, the length of the song is fairly long, and the emotions embedded within the song are alternating continuously. Simply put, I want to manifest an atmosphere through my music, while my photographs present the object from an uncommon angle. They are telling different stories in an experimental way. That being said, I am still searching for and forming my [photographic and musical] style gradually.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Esther: I read books at home. Currently, I’ve been reading In Praise of Shadows (Tanizaki, 1933) and Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp (Cabanne, 1971), both have really inspired me.
Sometimes ideas just come to me while I’m walking on the street, just like how Wislawa Szymborska wrote in Love at First Sight, “They’re both convinced that a sudden passion joined them”.
So can you tell us a bit about your upcoming projects, if there are any?
Esther: Sure! My future project will not be limited to solely one song or a set of photographs, but rather an artwork consisting of multiple elements that is not restrained to one single medium. And this will set the tone for my future work as well.