Artist Reviews

Q&A with NIC BEZZINA + MUSIC PHOTOGRAPHY BOOK LAUNCH ‘RELEASE THE CROWD’

Written by Dave Bruce

Read: 309 time(s)

by LIAM PETHICK
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Award-winning Australian photographer Nic Bezzina will bring his arresting works to exhibitions in Melbourne and Sydney this month to launch his crowd-funded debut photography book: RELEASE THE CROWD.
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Nic Bezzina

Photo by NIC BEZZINA

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Published thanks to a successful crowd-funding project, ‘Release the Crowd‘ turns the lens away from the characters onstage, focusing in on the mad lives and good times of thousands of thrilled music lovers across five countries and eleven huge major festivals. It boasts over one hundred luscious black and white prints.

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Live music is an intimate rite of passage for so many young people across the world. Just one day can manufacture memories that will last long after the stages are dismantled and the bands have moved on. This series captures the individuals in the crowd. And their emotions are visceral and enthralling. It is a stunning portfolio that is a timeless testament to the persistent power of live music.
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Nic Bezzina

Photo by NIC BEZZINA

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Nic, Great to have the chance to have a chat mate.

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First up, congratulations on the completion of your book, and the upcoming release, it must be a relief to finally have it all organised and set in stone? Plus 5 years, 5 countries, over 11 music festivals. It’s fair to say that this book hasn’t being whipped up over night, and is something that you’ve put a lot of time and effort into. Would you mind talking us through the process of having this idea, to its final execution?

Self-publishing a book like this certainly is a long process and it really cannot be rushed.  It was printed in Italy based on a number of recommendations that they are some of the best B&W printers in the world. There were a few hurdles along the way, mostly with meeting printing deadlines because of the amount of time it takes to ship proofs back and forth, however I like to think of it as lessons learned for the next book. I’m very happy with the end result and the printing is gorgeous.

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Surely along the way you experienced a few ups and downs, whether they be creative / publishing / copyright blocks due to the content. How did you manage to push through and overcome these?

I seek inspiration from a number of fields: photography, film, music, etc.  In the case of Release The Crowd, the fans and my own experiences as a live music fan inspired me.

As a live music photographer it is easy to get caught up in the glamour and performance of the bands but all around you are people expressing themselves with pure emotion. The festival crowd offered me something real and spontaneous to capture.

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You mention that part of the reason you started this project, was because you hadn’t seen anything similar being done. Due to this, I was curious as to who you looked at for inspiration, whether that be portrait photographers, or artists from an entire different field?

My camera at the time was battle-ready, wrapped in gaffer tape and with most rubber elements torn or melted off by the sun. Entering these situations without any fear of damaging my gear (or myself) allowed me to capture these shots.

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Nic Bezzina

Release The Crowd Book Promo from Nic Bezzina on Vimeo.

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As we can see from the nature of your shots, you clearly don’t shy away from the action. You’re constantly right in the midst of it, putting both yourself and your gear at risk. In doing so, have you ever landed yourself in a sticky situation, whether that be injuring yourself or damaging your gear?

My gear was a pretty simple setup – 1 DLSR and a 24-70mm lens.  It was important to keep light and mobile as I’m dealing with crowd surfers, mosh pits, walls of death and the other crazy things you run into.

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On the subject of gear, talk us through your process of shooting a festival. What does your pack consist of, and how do you go about editing your photos?

I haven’t looked into the WIFI on current DSLR’s and it’s not something I’m interested in. That approach seems to favor quantity over quality and I think being pressured to pump out content so quickly doesn’t allow the photographer to do their job properly, and that’s to choose a tight edit of the best possible shots. Use your photography to say something; no one has time to look at dozens of average images.

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Nowadays, with cameras and memory cards capable of wifi, it seems that bands are uploading photos from their set immediately after its finished, or even sometimes whilst they’re still playing. I was interested to hear your stance on this, considering what you said in regards to having your book printed, as oppose to the “images just living on the internet”.

I began my path in music photography because I wanted to become a music video director. When I realized that making videos takes lots of time, money and people, I decided to buy a cheap film camera, a good lens and start shooting at my local music venue, the Annandale Hotel. I took up a residency there and was lucky to photograph some incredible bands in such an intimate setting. After that I just hustled my way in to larger venues to shoot the gigs I wanted to see.

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Whilst this book has only taken 5 years to complete, you’ve been in the game of music photography for over 10 years. Would you mind offering up a little insight into how you got your start, and how you’ve managed to sustain such a successful career thus far? You’ve got quite the list of accolades, including winner of the V Raw Rolling Stone Magazine photographer, winner of Music category in Monster Children’s photography competition, and a finalist in a number of other national and international competitions. With the release of this book, and such a strong list of achievements, what’s the plan from this point onwards? In 5 years, where are we going to be seeing the name Nic Bezzina?

I have another book project ready for next year and I’m planning to shoot some new projects that I’m very excited about. I also hope to travel back to the Euro festivals that I shot to promote the book and to photograph more mosh pits.

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NIC BEZZINA

BOOK LAUNCH EXHIBITIONS 2016 

SYDNEY OPENING
Saturday December 10 – Goodspace Gallery

MELBOURNE OPENING
Sunday Decemer 18 – BSIDE Gallery

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About the book…

Title: Release The Crowd – Photographs by Nic Bezzina 
Photographs: approx. over 100 in B&W
Size: approx. 218mm wide x 292mm deep (8.58in wide x 11.49in deep) 
Retail Price: approx. AU$60

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AWARDS
2015 – Featured Exhibit – Head On Photo Festival
2014 – Capture Mag’s Emerging Photographer of the Year – Documentary
2012 – Recipient Sydney Council Matching Grant
2012 – Semi-Finalist – Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize
2011 – Winner of Music category – Monster Children photography competition
2011 – Finalist – PDN Music Moment Photography Competition
2011 – Recipient Marrickville Council Visual Arts Grants
2011 – Semi-Finalist – HeadOn Portrait Prize
2011 – Finalist – Top Emerging Photographer’s Awards: Portrait and Editorial categories
2010 – Finalist – Australia’s Top Emerging Photographer’s Awards: Portrait andDocumentary categories 2010 – Semi-Finalist – NME Music Photography Awards
2010 – Finalist – Spirit Of Youth Awards (SOYA)
2008 – Winner  – V Raw Rolling Stone Magazine photographer
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EXHIBITIONS
2015 – Release The Crowd – Gaffa Gallery
2014 – Shopkeepers of Newtown – State Library of NSW
2013 – Portfolio exhibition – Lo-Fi Gallery
2012 – Newtown Shopkeepers – Chrissie Cotter Gallery 
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SELECTED GROUP SHOWS
2015 – Cam Girls – Head On Photo Festival Featured Exhibit
2010 – NME Music Photography Awards, London
2010 – Polymorph Gallery, Sydney 2008 – Prints acquired by the Annandale Hotel
2007 – Three Songs No Flash, China Heights Gallery, Sydney

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Nic Bezzina

Photo by NIC BEZZINA

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AMNPLIFY – DB

Dave Bruce

December 7th, 2016

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Dave Bruce

My nickname is "The Amnplifier". Why? Because around here my focus is on being a conduit for providing greater outcomes than people come here for. My day to day "work" is living in the moment, and I love helping others concentrate on finding their connection to themselves through their experiences. Why start a music environment? The truth is I love music, I love writing, and I love life. I work with musicians every day, and I feel certain that I will be until they put me in the ground. I have been managing people in businesses of some sort for over thirty five years so along the way I have developed some "wisdom" from my regular and constant "observations". Amnplify your experience. That is what we want you to do here, and if you want to let me know why you do, or don't, you can always catch me on the Your Blog page. I have a regular spot there so let me know how you are going when you get the chance. Enjoy the new website, and enjoy the ride here as we keep introducing more all the time.

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