Zo Damage has been a recognised and respected name in the local Melbourne music scene for some years. Finally, after 10 years, Damage will be hosting, EVE, showcasing a decade of women who have been rocking it in the industry and around it. We couldn’t miss an opportunity to have a chat with Damage about what it all means to her.
This weekend, your latest exhibition Eve opens in Collingwood. What can we expect?
The EVE Exhibition is a celebration of women in rock’n’roll. EVE opens this Friday at Besser Space in Collingwood as part of Leaps and Bounds Festival. I’m so excited about the show! The EVE Exhibition is about women in music — solo artists, women in bands, even fans — presenting a broad spectrum of genres and visual insight of diversity
You have been doing live music photography for close to a decade now. Did you start out in the music scene when you first picked up a camera?
It’s hard to believe I’ve been shooting live for so long. I first started photographing gigs in 2006. I remember meeting Leigh Wilkins, another live music photographer, at Ding Dong Lounge back in 2007. I asked him how long he’d been shooting and he replied “10 years”. My jaw dropped! TEN YEARS … ! Haha. Now here I am, 10 years down the track, and I love thinking about that moment.
My work has pretty much always focused on live music. I try to take photos of sound and energy. I know it sounds nuts, but my dream is to capture sound in a still, to take a photo that, when someone looks at it they hear a note. It doesn’t matter what note, just a note. It’s an impossible dream which is what makes it so cool, and I’ll keep shooting until I get that shot.
Your work centres around black and white photography, what is it about this style that attracts you?
I started to play with black and white about 6 years ago. I’d look at the same shot in colour, then in black and white and found it to be an incredibly revealing. I started to look at my work differently in every way. I found that without the colour, I was able to look at moments without the distraction. I guess it was then that I realized how important energy and sound in a still were to me.
Your exhibition features works from a generous time span, were you always hoping to work on a gallery like Eve? If not, how did this gallery come about?
Not initially. Exhibitions were the last thing on my mind. I actually made a point to not have one for years. One day I was going through my archives and the sheer volume of work hit me like a ton of bricks! It was pretty overwhelming actually. I thought about it and figured it might be time to start thinking about having exhibitions. I’ve had a few solo shows – GRIT and PROOF – over the last couple of years. It’s kinda weird curating for solo exhibitions. It can be very exhilarating and at the same time super confronting. Each of my solo shows feature different photographs. Volume is really important for me, it enables me to choose a collection that tells a story visually. That’s the goal.
What has kept you focused on the local scenes for so long?
I honestly don’t know where to start in answering this question. The live music scene and the creative forces that sustain it are amazing. It’s about art, music, culture and community with talented people doing amazing things in interesting places. I feel incredibly lucky to be involved in it.
Celebrating women in rock’n’roll is such a wonderful sentiment. What does femininity in the music industry mean to you?
I’m so excited about EVE! I’ve wanted to have an exhibition focusing on women in the music scene for so long now. Eve celebrates the diversity of women in music.
Being female in a male dominated industry can often be challenging, difficult and even sometimes uncomfortable. What methods have you employed to stay focus and persevere in spite of these experiences?
The music industry is pretty brutal for everyone. Not just women. I believe there are 3 essentials that impact on any one gig – your choice of kit, a bit of professional courtesy and a solid dose of luck. Nothing wrong with having a sense of humour either.
What advice do you have for those that want to pick up a camera and get involved in the music scene?
Chuck out the manual, go to heaps of gigs, push your gear as far as you can. Explore the craft of live music photography, and most importantly, have fun!
Eve will be open at Besser Studio, Collingwood, from Friday 15th 6pm – 9pm and ends on the Thursday 2s1t. Gallery hours from 11am – 5pm. Do yourself a favour and experience local history!