Tag Archives: Keira Cullinane

Keira Anee: photographer of a scene – interview by Kris Smith

Keira at work - Neil Anderson-1

How long have you been a photographer, and how did you get started?

Since I’m enjoying the attention, I’ll go for the long answer! I remember watching my dad take photos when I was young, and in some way I think the control he had over people – to mould them in some small way for the photo, was what first got me interested. I asked for a camera for my 7th birthday, and can remember every Christmas and birthday after that asking to have a film developed, and loving the anticipation of seeing the prints.

I’ve been working professionally since I finished studying (photography!) and rather than the early influence I had of ‘moulding’ a photograph, I prefer to leave that to the frame rather than the subjects and prefer candid shots, a big one being live music photography.

Petrol Girls at LOUD WOMEN Fest 2016 - (c) Keira Anee
Petrol Girls at LOUD WOMEN Fest 2016 – (c) Keira Anee

Is photography a hobby, a career, or something in between?
All three! It’s something I’ve never been without, although I wouldn’t know how to begin to summarise it. I know that when I was a teenager taking photos of things and people it helped me to realise how I felt about them, and also I suppose in some ways helped me to look at the people around me in more detail and understand them better. It has become very personal and a lot of myself goes into the photos. But having said that, most of my teenage photography was friends play fighting and smoking under bus shelters, so…

Can you tell us what equipment you use?
I use four main cameras, but each is not necessarily what I would be using if I had a better budget. All of my equipment is second hand, about from two budget prime lenses – a Canon 50mm and a YONGNUO 35mm. I shoot digitally on a Canon 5D mark ii with Canon speedlite 430 EXII, and on film a Canon 5 EOS, an Olympus Infinity Zoom 220 and a Mamiya RZ67 Pro. If I had a choice I’d be shooting on a Nikon D810, some version of a 35mm Leica and a Mamiya 7, but hey, one day!

Dream Nails at LOUD WOMEN Fest 2016 - (c) Keira Anee
Dream Nails at LOUD WOMEN Fest 2016 – (c) Keira Anee

We know you for ‘live’ band photography, but what else do you get up to?
“A bit of everything” would be accurate, but portraiture is my main area; band shoots included. I think you’ve probably seen some of my projects like ‘Lily; at a gig’ (over the

"Lily at a gig" - (c) Keira Anee
“Lily at a gig” – (c) Keira Anee

span of three years, seeing the same woman at gigs) and the Sour Sweets project (undecorated photos of peoples expressions whilst eating a sour sweet) and the untitled project (two photos of the same persons face. In one their clothes are off, unseen to the viewer. It’s to see the facial expression change, and how it differs for different genders). I am also Deputy Editor for 98 Wounds which a lot of photography goes into, and I pay the bills by doing weddings, baptisms and club nights!

I’m conscious of the dubious ‘man asking woman how it feels to be a woman’ line of questioning, but in your experience are women in photography still a minority, and if so does that come with any associated challenges?
This is actually a tough one, as all the male photographers know have been patronised or mistreated by people in the same way. However, I do feel that they do not feel the same threat that I do as a woman. Often I am expected to present my worth in the form of my equipment, or get double looks with the line, ‘that’s a big lens!’

Generally speaking, the photo community in London is very supportive of each other, and I would say being a female photographer has many of the same disadvantages as being a woman in many other fields; perhaps the biggest being that my size is rarely accounted for in big gigs.

I am lucky to know so many incredible photographers. Sara Amroussi Gilissen and Carolina Faruolo are just two of the amazing women regularly blowing my mind.

Are there any particular highlights of your time behind the camera?
Ahhhhh so many! But it’s always THE BEST feeling taking a photo of someone and them feeling it represents them well, being happy with the results. It can sometimes feel that you’ve managed to show someone just how amazing they are through my eyes, it’s a great connection.

The highlight for me is making people feel comfortable with the camera and bringing their personalities out for it, whether at a small gig, a wedding, or just in form of a snapshot.

What are your current favourite bands and records?
There have been some really great compilations out this last year – the ‘We Can Do It’ first compilation was how I first discovered Krush Puppies, and the Loud Women compilation opened my eyes to many great bands too. But to answer your question, I cannot stop listening to Big & the Fat, Calva Louise, Syrra, Meatraffle, HUSSY, Ghum and Indian Queens. As well as the latest USA Nails album…

Deux Furieuses at the launch of LOUD WOMEN Volume One - (c) Keira Anee
Deux Furieuses at the launch of LOUD WOMEN Volume One – (c) Keira Anee

Where would you like your photography to take you in the future?
I love touring with bands, so would be wonderful to go abroad and explore gigs outside of the UK! (I’m confident that wherever I go, Lily will be there).

Finally, can you show us some of the photos you’re most proud of,  and tell us a bit about them?
I’ve been trying for more than ten years now to put a definitive portfolio together, and I‘ve been too harsh a self-critic to ever manage it. So here are a few I’m liking at the moment!

I’d like to tell you about them and as I’m sure you know, I can talk forever… But I hope that looking at them tells you what you need to know (else cancel everything, I’ve failed miserably).

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interview: The Nyx

Interview and photos by Keira Cullinane, exclusively for LOUD WOMEN

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The Nyx are incredible. They are also known as Collette (on drums), Becky and Simone (on V’s and G’s) and Ruby (on bass), and they’re playing for loud Women and the Veg Bar in Brixton on Friday december 2nd.

First of all – the first date stuff. Where did you meet, when did The Nyx get together and is it an equal relationship??

Becky: We used to be in an old band called Rouge, wanted something different and added Collette on drums. That’s when it became The Nyx and got really exciting!

Who, or what, was your inspiration for being in this band and when did you realise you wanted to do it yourself?

Collette: Not necessarily a drummer, but, Annie Lennox for me? She is so inspirational – not even just music; politics, social stuff – she was just such an icon.

Becky: I think i’ve always just loved Janis Joplin. It’s not even really from a musical perspective, she’s an amazing musician, but it’s not that aspect that attracted me to her. More the attitude, the emotion and rawness and authenticity. She’s just being herself, she doesn’t give a shit what everyone thinks, she’s gonna do it anyway, a sort of ruthlessness! Just completely being herself and expressing herself which made me think, ‘that’s what rock ‘n’ roll’s about.’  Not necessarily about writing a song to a certain structure, but living it. But growing up, I listened to a lot of hard rock bands, like ACDC, Nirvana – all male bands. It was no one influence, but these sort of bands made me want to do it.

Simone: For me it’s similar to Becky, like Nirvana, I guess male dominated rock. Then the Spice Girls, I was kind of a mix between Sporty Spice and Crazy Spice.

Ruby: …There wasn’t a Crazy Spice

Simone: Was she not crazy? What was she??

Then I got into Skunk Anansie, and that for me was a mix between the crazy and the sporty.

Ruby: Growing up, everyone says Foo Fighters. Again, there weren’t that many female bands on the scene when we were growing up if you were into rock. But the first female in a rock band was probably Haley Williams from Paramore. I wouldn’t say she was necessarily an inspiration, but she was the first person I really saw doing it in a rock band, that was in Kerrang! Magazine and was in a mainstream capacity.

Becky: Yeah, I don’t think I had that pivotal moment when I was a kid, of thinking (or seeing) “look at that girl go!” I didn’t get that inspiration from women, it was always GUYS. When I first started going to gigs it was 2001 and there was a massive hard core scene. So all I was seeing at that age when I was a sponge waiting for inspiration was guys with long side partings, screaming into a microphone, without melodies. I was there thinking, “Is this what rock music is like?” I had to sort of forge it for myself.

We discuss the platform (or previous lack of) for women making rock music and people like Courtney Love’s fame being divided between a talented musician and being seen as ‘Kurt Cobain’s Wife’.

Simone: I used to buy cd’s from a guy at school who used to download music from the internet, and i think without any background to what i was listening to, it through you more into the music side of it.

So how did you all find music, and how do you find new music now?

Becky: It used to be the portable CD players! But definitely CDs. Late at night with it under my pillow.

Simone: Or running with it, and it skipping!

Becky: There just wasn’t any cool music, I was listening to the P!nk album and S Club 7, that’s what it was like for a kid in the noughties, it was a horrible time! (All laugh)

Collette: I’m a little bit older than you guys and at college I used to go to gigs, and speak to friends older brothers and sisters about music. I used to go to little independant festivals, like the local ‘Dog and Duck’ down the road, and it just kind of ripples through; every now and then something would come out of it.

Becky: ..I suppose guys screaming into a microphone isn’t necessarily true – where we grew up, in High Wycombe, there was such a cool little scene when we were growing up. We were just too young to really experience it properly. When I started putting on my own shows at 15, it was like the scene had kind of died. I feel kind of let down!

As a band, if you had the opportunity to record a double A side with another band or musician, or record a song with them, who would you choose?

Simone: I’d say personally, probably Sufjen Stevens? I just really like his kind of despondent music.

Becky: Amy Winehouse or Jeff Buckley

Collette: That’s a really, really difficult question! I might even say someone like Jonathan Davis or something, because ‘Queen Of The Damned’ is one of my favourite films of all time and he did the soundtrack. He can branch out into so many different genres and still bring it back and make it authentic. It would be the right kind of vibe, and he also has that kind of flexibility within the genre.

Ruby: I’ve been listening to Queens Of The Stone Age a lot again recently and would say Josh Homme. It’s the same sort of style of music and he can collab with other people too! And he’s with Brody Dalle too..

Collette: She was my first girl crush.. I saw them (The Distillers) at Reading when i was 16 she was in this leather onesie, like a motorcycle get up.

We tail off talking about moon cups (top tip; make sure to buy the right size!)

About intersectional politics, and about how apart from a few exceptions, the bands ‘rock’ influences have come largely from white males in the mainstream. We discuss an article I read [by Stephanie Phillips] in the ‘Intersectional Politics For Punx Zine’ about Brody Dalle, from the perspective of a black female growing up listening to rock music.