Lauren Connelly, music photographer at the award-winning city recording studio Ghostnote, tells CityMag musicians should value their image just as highly as their musical output.
The importance of image with music photographer Lauren Connelly
Although musicians, like the rest of us, scroll endlessly through Instagram and Facebook feeds, Adelaide photographer Lauren Connelly reckons most don’t realise how valuable the curated content they’re seeing can be.
“Your image is the thing that’s going to pop out at people,” Lauren tells CityMag.
“Because they’re going to look at you before they hear your record.
“A lot of bands who approach me will be like, ‘I need photos next week and I have no idea what I want.’ That’s okay, but to me that’s not enough. You’re not putting enough importance on your image.”
Since then, she’s been nominated for another National Live Music Awards gong, and recently launched LALA.Studio inside Ghostnote Recording Studios on Gunston Street, which was awarded Best Studio at the 2020 SAM Awards.
At the beginning of the year, Lauren’s career stalled as the coronavirus pandemic pressed pause on Australia’s live music industry. This meant a significant percentage of Lauren’s photography work evaporated.
Instead of stopping in her tracks, Lauren took the opportunity to “get my shit together,” she says.
“All my jobs were cancelled, and all my other jobs were at the Crown & Anchor as a bartender, and I got stood down from there,” Lauren explains.
“I was like, ‘Well, shit, I guess I got to do something.’ My main gig is live music and that kind of went to shit, so I actually did the NEIS program to kick this [studio space] off. I think the COVID thing actually kicked me up the arse a bit.”
Lauren finally had the time and space to do something she’s always wanted to do: launch her own private studio. By August, she had completed the NEIS program and joined the award-winning Ghostnote Recording Studios
The space is owned by Lauren’s friend, chief engineer Jimmy Balderston, whose past clients include the likes of Luca Brasi, Grinspoon and the Grenadiers.
The building is filled with more members of the South Australian music industry, such as engineer Colby Robertson, technician Josh Battersby (of bands West Thebarton and Horror My Friend), producer Jack Hartley, and in-house muso Jarrad Lee Jackson.
“We all get along really well,” Lauren says, “and I needed my own space.
“And I just thought, what better place to do it than in here, where we can make a hub that’s a one-stop shop, where you can come in and you can do your recording and get your photo taken.”
Lauren offers a range of photography services, such as headshots and portraits, as well as the documentation of a band or artist’s music-making process when recording at Ghostnote.
“That was another reason why I wanted to come in here,” Lauren says. “Bands only come in here for a few days at a time and they don’t often have a photographer with them, but again, I don’t even think these guys realise how much the content matters.
“But the more you’ve got, the better off you are; the more interest and more engagement you’re getting.”
CityMag asks Lauren if shooting bands downstairs is just a stand-in for the music festival photography she used to do, while we’re in this time of pandemic.
She laughs and explains her career goal is simple.
“I’d just really like to be in a position where I’d never have to work in a nine-to-five ever again.”