Wamfest and sexism in the music industry

November 05, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

It's been a pretty exciting week. A week ago I found out I was a finalist in the KISS MY CAMERA competition. It's a photography competition held by WAM. I found out by accident. A friend posted that he got in and I was happy for him but felt instantly deflated that I'd missed out yet again. Found a link to it about a bit of searching and there was my name on the page along with my photo in the banner of the page. I was that stoked to see my photo in the banner that I didn't even care what happened next. On Thursday the winners were announced and my friend messaged me incase I hadn't seen it (which I hadn't yet!) that we were the winners of the comp. I won Best Studio. We were having a laugh about it all. The three of us whose photos made the banner were the winners. Apparently the banner should have been a clue for us, but it wasn't! On top of that he was really hoping for a WAMCon pass but didn't get one, whereas I would have been content with 3rd place because that meant I'd get a polaroid camera. Priorities right? haha I get a voucher for Leederville cameras so I'll just buy my own. I just need to pick a colour and this here is why I still don't have one after 4 years of wanting one.

That afternoon I caught up with Kristie and we went down to PICA that night sitting there with a drink waiting to see the photos come up. As soon as it started our phones were out! I filmed a big chunk of it which includes alot of awful commentary on my part, so I cropped it down and put it on silent on instagram. Kristie ran around trying to take a selfie.

Friday I get an email from WAM about there still being work opportunities for anyone interested, and underneath is the email that was sent out to all the finalists to announce they were finalists. I never got it! So along with being a finalist meant you could get some paid work over WAMfest week. I let them know I was heading in Saturday anyway so I could do that. So Saturday I was at the WAMCon sessions from 10:30-4 then from 5-12 I was shooting gigs. It was so hot I was so happy to be home and showering by the end of it all. My feet were killing me on top of it. We were meant to shoot at all 11 venues if possible. A couple were far away so I said I'd do Badlands/Hens House and the other guy can do The Moon. So by the time we finished our meeting and I spent an hour at the first 2 venues waiting for bands to do their thing a couple of venues were officially over for the night. By the end of the night I only shot 8 bands, and when you see the huge list of acts playing everywhere you end up sitting there wondering what the fuck you did all night, but apart from a drink outside PICA (where I took some shots of a band playing) and grabbing dinner inbetween 2 other bands, it was fairly non-stop. I only watched two bands play their entire sets. 

It was a pretty cool day/night but it did end on a bit of a sour note. I had my first dose of sexism in 3 years. During the conferences there was talk a few times on how sexism is still a big deal in the music industry. Kristie is front woman of her band, gives a mad performance and owns the stage but while the guys in her band get complimented on their instrument skills she gets told she's hot. There aren't many girls in bands or girl bands in general, and this sort of attitude isn't cool. From my own experiences the rock/metal scene sexism is HUGE!! If you're female and at a gig you're someones girlfriend, you want to be someones girlfriend, you're basically nothing more than a sex object, it doesn't matter if you're there to watch bands or taking photos. The amount of guys who would hit me up for a one-night stand/friends with benefits (and seriously I would think you'd need to be friends for that to work!) that after two years of this crap I lashed out at the last guy who asked me on what it was that I was doing that made everyone think I would even be up for this. I felt a little bad afterwards, that guy was actually decent but I'd had enough. Since being part of the punk scene it's been amazing. I haven't had any problems at all, to the point where I wondered if anyone realised I was in fact female, but its awesome being in a scene where everyone is friends and there's no crap behaviour because you're a girl. I'm lucky that I've only been been victim of males at gigs twice, but once was at a Gyroscope show about 2-3 years ago where this guy right behind us kept bashing into us. In between songs the girl next to me and I tried to ask politely if he could cool it down a bit and I pointed at my camera. He started shouting and swearing at us and the rest of the night was him bashing into us on purpose harder than before, we had to brace ourselves against the feedback to stop from being completely knocked over. The band didn't care until this guy hit the microphone stand and they asked him to be careful otherwise they didn't care about what was happening directly in front of them. This whole attitude that girls shouldn't be in the moshpit isn't fair, we all love the music and all have the right to be able to stand up front and enjoy the band performing without being assaulted in one form or another. The other time involved a guy spiking my drink and a week later getting physical and hurting me and I was told I was over reacting. Last night though was a all genres of music covered and at the end of the night Aarom asks if I'd like a drink and he'll get me one. We run into the photographer on the way to the bar so he offers him one too. The bar had shut down already though so he apologised, then this guy joins saying he just used all his drink vouchers before the bar shut and hands Aarom a cider and then hands a cider to the other photographer (male) totally snubbing me. He didn't even look at me. Aarom automatically asks me if I like cider and gives it to me. The guy who gave him the drink says in a shitty tone you just couldn't miss "Are you sure?". Like what, am I not allowed a drink?! It was really awkward and it made me feel like crap. Then he turns to the other photographer thanking him for taking photos tonight. Again, not looking at me and I didn't get a thankyou. It really pissed me off but I kept my mouth shut because the other two guys were nice and you don't really want to make a scene in front of the guy who hired you and you just won Best Photo with. 

On a better note, I found out I can apply for music grants with my photography. A friend told me with this win that improves my chances of getting one as well. So my dream of being a tour photographer might actually be a reality!!P.S - This photo is from the final act of the Block Party at WAMFest last night. I can't show photos online until WAM put them up on Facebook, so here's a sneak peek!! 

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