Adele Sakey

How long have you been doing photography for? 

I’ve been actively focusing my attention on photography for three years; however it has always been something that peaked my interest. 

What made you want to pursue it? 

When I was younger I moved across the state; Massachusetts is by no means a large state so in reality I was only about 2 hours from where I grew up – but I hated it. I was depressed, and anxious, and not very optimistic about anything. In a way I turned to photography to distance myself from my negative biases and reconnect with my environment. From then on, I began to gain interest in music related photography – and now here we are! 

What’s the most difficult part of your career been so far? 

The most prevalent issue has been self doubt. I think this is common in virtually any field, especially creative ones. But because there are so many music photographers I constantly call into question the validity and merit of my work. It’s taken me awhile to stop thinking of everyone as “competition” and instead think of them as peers. Once you reframe that narrative, relationships turn less toxic and more symbiotic, and the work becomes more enjoyable. 

Do you have a favorite show you’ve shot? What was it? 

I got a press email last fall inviting my to photograph Eden and Elohim – two separate musicians although their names are very complimentary. To be honest, I’d never heard of either of them but figured I’d check out the show. It ended up being an amazing concert. That’s one of the things I love most about concert photography: getting to discover music I would have never otherwise been exposed to. 

Is there a show you’d love to shoot again? 

I photographed Young the Giant (one of my favorite bands) last fall in Boston. That’s a show I would jump at the chance of shooting again, simply because I feel my photography has progressed so much since. It would be cool to visually observe that progress. 

How would you describe your personal style? 

I really don’t know. A lot of people ask me how I edit my photos (I rely so much on editing) and I never know how to answer; not because I’m so vain that I don’t want people “copying” me but because I literally have no idea. I kind of just guess and check with editing until I get something I can live with. I also think my style tends to vary based upon who I’m photographing. I like to attempt to incorporate the aesthetic of the band or musician into the photos. I love concert photography because to me it is a way to capture a sound in a visual format so I really try to allow the artist’s personality to come through. Additionally, I think I’m still growing as a photographer so my own style hasn’t quite matured yet. 

Has being a woman in your field been difficult for you? Have you dealt with any effects on sexism in your career? How did you handle it? 

Being a woman in a male dominated field definitely tends to fuel my social anxiety. I often feel alienated from the rest of the back, even if no one is directly degrading or excluding me. On another note, I have been made uncomfortable by treatment from security at certain venues which is ironic as they are supposed to be keeping people safe. But for the most part people are chill, and if I encounter someone who isn’t I try to remove myself from the situation in whatever way possible. 

What other photographers have had a big impact on you? 

My favorite photographer of all time is Nan Goldin. She’s not a concert photographer but the way in which she captures the human form whilst still preserving her subject’s unique character is awe inspiring. She has this journal called The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, which was originally a presentation composed of nearly a thousand images with a music soundtrack. I think that’s so cool when artists integrate different disciplines into their photography. I am also grateful to call many amazing photographers my friends. My favorites on the scene right now are Cina Nguyen, Sophia Ragomo, and Sara Feign. They all have such different styles but inspire me equally. 

Best work you’ve ever done? 

I’d say my best work would be my photos of Bleachers at their show at the Sinclair in Cambridge, MA. I don’t know if they are actually my best photos, but they are the ones that hold the most emotional significance to me. I also love my Portugal. The Man photos because their lighting was difficult to shoot through, but that just made the satisfaction of getting cool photos all the greater. 

Any advice for aspiring photographers? 

Just do it. There are going to be a lot of people telling you that you aren’t a real photographer because you don’t have this canon camera or this sigma lens or your aesthetic ventures away from the norm. But none of that matters. If you follow the path that makes you the happiest, your work will reflect that.