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May/June 2023

FromThePit 2023: Shelley Te Haara

FromThePit 2023: Shelley Te Haara

Celebrating five years of local music photography exhibition FromThePit, an exceptional collection of iconic contemporary live snaps was chosen to be on digital display across publicly accessible screens of Aotearoa in May 2023, including a placement in the Parliament visitor centre at the Beehive. This is Tāmaki Makaurau photographer Shelley Te Haara who submitted a photo of metalcore legends Antagonist AD.

antagonist fromthepit shelley te haara

What’s your name, where are you from and how did you get into photography?

Kia Ora! My name is Shelley Te Haara. I am from a small town in the Far North called Ohaeawai but I am currently based in Tamaki Makaurau. I got in to photography by the encouragement of others honestly. Live shows are my favourite thing in the world and I used to take a basic point-and-shoot camera to shows. After a creative endeavour didn’t work out, friends encouraged me to try gig photography as they said “I had an eye” etc. So I bought a Canon 750D (which I still have & use) and began shooting. It has now become a passion and career which I enjoy!

What’s your philosophy around taking photos?

To me, it is always about capturing emotion, feeling and energy. If my photos of can show the viewer all of that or make them relive those feelings from the show or that moment, I have done my job.

Which Kiwi act do you enjoy taking photos of most and why?

Ohhhhh, there are quite a few artists I have documented more than once. I will miss documenting Dead Beat Boys, they were a fun time. I also love my hardcore and metal bands because that’s just chaotic mosh pit fun. Otherwise, if I chose an artist specifically, I would say Diggy Dupé. I have documented him for some years now and I feel the shows are always different but the community and energy in his shows (and music obviously) are just really something to experience.

If you could pick one camera, one lens and one flash, which ones would you pick, and why?

  • CAMERA: I would choose my Sony A6400. I have a Sony A7RIII and it was my dream camera for a while. But my Sony A6400 is my compact all-rounder for a lot of local shows.
  • LENS: I would choose my 16mm combined with my fisheye attachment. To be able to have a sharp wide shot or a fun fish eye on the one lens is just a fun time!
  • FLASH: The general rules of shooting most shows are first three, from the pit, no flash. So I hardly use a flash and if I do it’s the one built into my Sony A6400. I do own a separate Canon Flash but use it rarely.