Interview with photographer Ella “Snot Face” Woods.
Hi, Ella thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with us. When we saw your work, we all loved it and wanted to get an interview with you and share your work with our followers.
At Creative Young Souls, we’re keen to give exposure to new talent, and we’re excited to feature your work. Is this the first time you’ve had exposure like this?
Yes, it is. It’s really exciting to get the opportunity to do this, so thank you!
Have you had any photography training or have you taught yourself through research and experience?
My mum bought a photography day course as a Christmas gift which was really useful, but other than that I’ve just thrown myself into it and learnt as I’ve gone. I do have to say a massive thank you to Pete Waggy (tour manager and photographer for the band Ferocious Dog) who has given me unlimited hints, tips and advice. I refer to him as my Jedi Master, and he calls me his Padawan! Haha!
You capture the atmosphere of festivals and gigs in your photographs perfectly. Which came first, the love of photography or watching live music?
Live music came first – the atmosphere at gigs and festivals is beautiful and inspirational. My first gig was only in 2010, I went to see the Levellers with my dad in Luton – I’ve been in love with live music ever since. Thanks, Dad! ☺
I’ve heard some photographers say the lens is more important than the camera body. Is there a specific lens that you use for environments like inside a dark music venue or is it all in the settings?
I understand why people fixate on the lens, but it does also depend on the settings you use on your camera while taking photos. I often switch and change between lenses to get a variety of photos. I have two at the moment; a 70-300mm lens and an 18-55mm lens. I find that the 70-300mm lens lets me get some great close-up shots, but still getting great detail.
What camera do you use?
I use a Nikon D3200. I find it to be such a beauty to use!
I think I know what the answer will be to this one, but for those who don’t know your work which photograph are you most proud of and why?
I’m really proud of the photo I captured of Dan Booth from Ferocious Dog; it really shows off his tattoo of his brother Lee Bonsall. For those of you not familiar with his story, you should read up on it – and get yourself to a Ferocious Dog gig too. I recently auctioned canvas prints of this and one of lead singer Ken Bonsall, raising over £300 for the Wish Upon A Star and The Lee Bonsall Memorial Fund.
Your photos appear beautifully raw which is a rare quality these days with so many people using computer software to enhance and work with images. Do you use any software?
I tend to let my photographs speak for themselves but do indulge in editing a selection from each event when the mood takes me. If I do any editing I’ve recently started using Alien Skin Software – it’s a lot more straightforward to use than Photoshop!
You’ve had some well deserved and amazing feedback from the musicians you photograph and followers of those musicians. Is that something that provides a lot of your motivation for capturing images?
It really does help a great deal, and I thank every single one of them for the amazing support that they have shown me. It’s a real buzz when an artist you really admire chooses one of your photos for a Facebook profile picture, for example – and that’s happened quite a few times now. I also have a host of friends and family who give me loads of support. Especially my boyfriend, he is really supportive. Thank you, Alan ☺
Do you have a favourite festival that you like to photograph?
This is a really difficult one for me; I don’t think I would be able to choose a favourite. If I could pick two; it would be a close call but I would have to say Wistful Festival, which is run by a very close friend of mine, and Deerstock!
How important do you think it is for a budding photographer to focus on a subject or subjects that they feel passionate about?
I think it is REALLY important that you take photos of a subject or subjects which you are passionate about. It makes photography more of a passion than a chore. Without inspiration, the photos may not look so heartfelt and lack in emotion. The more you enjoy what you are taking photos of, the more photos you will take, the higher chance of you taking the ‘perfect shot.’
Have you used a variety of social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to expose your photographs and which seems to result in the biggest response?
Facebook tends to be the main channel as so many people use it which makes tagging and sharing easier – so I’ve set up a dedicated page for my photography which is currently just shy of 400 likes. I uploaded selected edits to Instagram and was already using this before taking up photography in earnest.
If you could be an official photographer behind the scenes and on stage for a night for any band or artist which would you choose?
I would love to take photos of the Levellers the most! They are such an inspirational band, and I have loved their music since I was little. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t think I would be where I am today!
Is filming something you might think about doing in the future or do you prefer to capture specific moments?
That’s a really good idea; it is something I would consider. Maybe that would be a new project for me next festival season. Watch this space!
What piece of advice would you give to all our creative young souls out there wanting to start out in photography?
Given the quality of the camera on many phones, these days for less challenging stuff than gig photography folk could easily get practice at framing and capturing images like this before investing in expensive equipment and training. Practice taking photos of Family and Friends first! Have a chat with friends who are already doing it, get advice, experiment, and just go for it – that’s what I did. I am more than happy to help anyone out if anyone needs any advice ☺
Finally, how did such a pretty face get a nickname like snot face?
It was actually coined by Ken Bonsall, Ferocious Dog’s singer. I bought myself a pair of green and black tartan trousers to wear to the Bodega gig, and it inspired him to call me Snotface. Snotface is what Fred in Drop Dead Fred calls Lizzie, and he wears a tartan suit! It’s stuck ever since; even my Dad calls me Snotface and my boyfriend calls me Snotty. The ironic thing is that when we went to see them play in Brixton earlier this year Ken was wearing green tartan trousers – I don’t see anyone calling him Snotface!
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