FromThePit 2023: Stephanie Cartwright

FromThePit 2023: Stephanie Cartwright

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 Ōtautahi photographer Stephanie Cartwright, who submitted a photo of Reb Fountain.

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

My name is Stephanie, I’m from Christchurch and grew up here and Australia. I’ve always loved taking photos and grew up going to gigs and festivals with my musician Dad. I spent all my pocket money on film growing up then got into digital, never branching outside auto mode. My father got me and himself DSLR camera’s when I turned 30 and it became one of those things we said we’d learn to use together but never found time to do it. We didn’t get the chance, he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer when I’d not long had a baby and died within 10 months in 2017. He gave me his camera before he died and I promised to learn to use it. I went to night school when I finally stopped breastfeeding, learnt the basics then naturally gravitated towards photographing live gigs once I rediscovered that night exists outside of parenting little people.

What’s your philosophy around taking photos?

The best photos are the ones taken without expectation when you’re immersed in inspiration. I love that natural flow, that buzz that happens when you’re inspired whether that’s beautiful scenery, witnessing joy or music. I am blatantly terrible at posed group photos…it doesn’t do it for me.

Which Kiwi act do you enjoy taking photos of most?

Gosh, there are so many I have enjoyed. I guess it’s the energy and passion they bring which gives me the best photography experience. I don’t know if I can pick a favourite…but if I can narrow it down to two it would be Reb Fountain and Mel Parsons. Reb has this enigmatic presence and creates exquisite shapes with her body that the camera loves. Mel is just the most humble, funny and encouraging person, love her sound, love her attitude.

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

This is a hard one! I am such a noob and have always justified having basic gear with the idea that it forces me to learn my craft in challenging situations. I am also worried that if I upgrade, I’m creating a high threshold for satisfaction! So from this one camera, one lens shooter, my “dream” at this point is to get a longer range lens, learn to use a flash….then learn more about fancy gear so I can start to dream!