Making Noise 006: Emily Marcovecchio, photographer and founder of 'Noisy Women' podcast
Hi Em! Thank you so much for answering my questions, how are you?
No worries at all! I’m very well thank you for asking - life is very busy somehow, despite a national lockdown.
For those who don’t know you, can you give them a little intro?
I’m Em, a Photographer and Creative living and working in Falmouth, a small seaside town in Cornwall, UK. I also have a podcast called ‘Noisy Women’ and work within many online spaces such as graphics, web creation. My newest endeavour is being cast as a presenter on a new TV style music show! I do a lot of different things which makes my job so fun.
Did you always want to work in music? How did you start?
I never grew up with a strong music scene around me, it wasn’t till I was 18 and I went to Reading Festival for the first time with one of my closest friends from school, Andy, that I began falling head over heels in love with live music. I have always attended theatre shows and grown-up within musical theatre, but never bands or live music in the way that I work now. From there I began seeing lots and lots of bands live, but it wasn’t until I went to university at 19 that I began shooting shows and becoming friends with musicians – which has essentially led to where I am now.
What was the first camera you ever picked up? Do you still use it?
My first camera was a Canon 40D which was a hand-me-down from my Mum. I later sold it on eBay and with the money I bought a Canon 700D which I used religiously for many years, before upgrading to a 70D, and then a 5D mark iv, which is what I use now.
What is your current go to equipment?
For me it depends on whether I’m shooting live music or portraiture. I recently bought a 50mm 1.2 lens which made my bank account cry, however it’s been one of the best purchases I have ever made.
Who was one of the first bands you ever photographed?
I actually think the first band that I shot live was Fickle Friends or The Amazons, shot on my point and shoot, front row at TRNSMT Festival in Glasgow, Scotland. In terms of gigs that I was there to shoot specifically for an artist or publication, I believe that was a small scale local show!
What does photography mean to you?
Photography for me is a way of documenting an event or a person as they want to be portrayed. I don’t shoot much personal work therefore I don’t I’ve photography as a way of trying to say something myself, however I love using it to document people that I’ve met at a specific time. For me, it is an essential tool in meeting wonderful, talented, creative individuals, who I have an excuse to meet through being somewhere with my camera.
What do you believe is the most difficult thing about being a music photographer?
At the moment it’s trying to learn how to work in a world where Covid exists. Before that, it was about not comparing yourself to the many other talented people on the scene.
Is there any other type of photography you would want to delve in?
I’ve actually done a bit of everything! I do a lot of food photography on the side which I don’t really share online. I also shoot a lot of content for brands and makers. I have a background in weddings, I used to work in a wedding dress shop and my mum owns her own bridal boutique. I’ve always wanted to shoot a wedding, just to see whether I like it!
Besides photography, you also have a podcast called Noisy Women! What inspired you to create it?
The podcast came about because I became really sick of seeing my really talented female friends, be belittled by members of the music industry who identify as male. It was my way of trying to open the conversation into the gender divide within the music industry. This issue stems way further than just gender however, it extends into race, ethnicity and many more areas. I wanted to help somehow.
You’ve worked with a bunch of incredible bands/artists, who do you want to work with next?
Oh my goodness the list is probably endless. I think the Japanese House is simply magical. After touring with Lauran supporting The Regrettes, I would love to tour and document their live shows too. Baby Queen is killing it, when live music begins again I’d love to hit the road with her.
What drives your determination and ambition when it comes to your creativity when taking photos?
I have always been an incredibly go getting individual, it’s caused me to lose friendships and relationships because I am very driven and know what I want to be doing, within my work life. I find it hard to switch off and stop working because I love networking and connecting with others so much. It’s hard to pinpoint where this comes from, I’m glad the feeling exists because making myself proud is why I get up in the morning (wow that turned very deep very quickly).
Do you prefer to go on tour or getting booked for shoots with bands?
THATS SO HARD!!! I love the feeling of getting to know a band/artist and doing their portrait/promotional work which leads to a tour. I think I’d feel quite daunted if I went on tour with the band that I didn’t know extremely well. The artists that I’ve toured with are people that I’ve met numerous amounts of times, so I’ve always felt safe and respected.
What would you say is the most difficult thing about being a music photographer?
It’s hard not to feel burnt out and keep motivated. It’s really tough, everyone thinks it’s quite a glamorous job but it’s really not. It’s a lot of late nights and early mornings. I wouldn’t change it for the world, but it is hard.
What would you consider to be a highlight of your career so far?
Oooooo, very hard one indeed. There are a couple that come to mind: Graduating from University with a first-class degree, with 93% in my final practical module – when I opened my grade paper I never expected to have done so well. I still feel over the moon and so incredibly proud that I did that. I found academics at school really hard, so to succeed in something creative, in an educational sense, was very rewarding.
Receiving funding from Arts Council England – I’m part of a graduate start up programme, called Cultivator, which is based in Cornwall. To make it onto the programme was a huge achievement, but to receive funding for my studio space was a huge feat, something I am so proud to talk about!
You’ve been working with Lauran Hibberd for about 2 years, how did you guys start working together?
So, I’m a firm believer of contacting people you want to work with and showing them your portfolio. Lauran and I met at Isle of Wight festival in 2018, I was a volunteer and she was playing. I loved her set and we had a chat after the show. I just kept tabs on her really, not in a weird stalker way, but struck a conversation before her tour with Hippo Campus. I shot a show for her, which lead to more shows later on that year, which led to promotional imagery, and touring.
If you could photograph any band or artist, who would it be?
I don’t have a hit list anymore, more because I feel so lucky to work with many artists on multiple levels. I’ve always wanted to shoot for Reading Festival, so I guess being on the photo team would be a dream come true.
How did you go about finding your style? Is there any particular you look for while taking a photo?
To be honest, I think there is a lot of pressure for young creatives to find a style of image making they like. I was brought up using lots of different mediums, but film photography was a huge influence in my work. This meant that my live imagery has a naturally large amount of grain within it, and my portrait imagery generally has a very low depth of field to allow as much natural light into the camera as possible.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos in a live environment?
I began shooting gigs in very dark and grainy venues, I wasn't exposed to nice lighting and the ability to actually see those onstage, until about a year after I started shooting live gigs. To any up and coming photographers who have been lucky to shoot in nice lighting, I think being exposed to different gig environments allowed my style to grow. If I was placed in a venue with poor lighting and dark ceilings, I still felt incredibly confident in the work that I would produce!
If you could give advice to someone who wants to be a music photographer, what would it be?
Begin with shooting bands and music that you love, don't get into it for the money or for the glamour because it's neither of those things. It's gritty and tiring and a lot of work, but it's also incredibly rewarding, and you meet some of the most amazing people whilst doing it. Expose yourself to as many different people as possible, but also ensure that you understand your camera like the back of your hand. Finally, don’t be scared to approach other creatives in your field.
If you could give me a recommendation on who to interview next for Making Noise, who would it be?
Hmm, I have a lot of up and coming incredible creatives in my network at the moment because I'm in the process of working on the second season of the podcast. I'm going to go for a lady that I have a lot of admiration for; I interviewed her for the first season of my podcast, she's also a local lady to me and someone who I really admire and have done for many years. Sarah Gosling is a presenter for BBC Radio Devon, she’s often on Radio 1, BBC Spotlight and hosts BBC Introducing in the South West of England every Saturday night. She is a huge talent, someone I am so grateful to know!
Huge thank you to Em for taking the time to chat with us for our latest installment of Making Noise! She can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and her website. "Noisy Women" can be streamed on Spotify and Apple Podcasts!