Greg Interviews Katcha Ogrin (2022)
Part of the official Bloodstock photography team, Katja Ogrin makes her RAM Gallery debut in 2022.
Q. How did your interest in both music and photography begin?
“My childhood home was always full of music. My dad played piano in a band when he was younger and my mum was and still is a big music fan so we always had music playing in the background, either radio or record player. At the age of nine I enrolled in music school and I spent eight years playing piano and clarinet. I never considered becoming a professional musician but I loved music and in my late teens when I was given a camera, it didn't take me long to blag myself a photo pass for a jazz festival that took place in my home town Ljubljana and the moment I stepped inside a photo pit, I felt at home.”
Q. Do you have a preference for live or portrait work? What are the main differences for you between the two?
“I feel that I'm a documentary photographer at heart. I don't like to be the centre of attention. I much prefer blending in the background and capturing those decisive moments. I love it when people see my photos and say 'Oh, I didn't even notice you were there.' It can be frustrating at times because you obviously can't control the situation but it's also incredibly satisfying when you catch those moments that will never be repeated again.”
Q. Are there any jobs you've done, artists you've worked with (live or studio), which really stand out for you?
“Every time I'm out with my camera, no matter who or what is the subject matter, I look out for something exciting, unusual or different. Sometimes these things are there in plain sight, sometimes you have to look a bit harder. I would be lying if I said every gig I shoot is great but those nights when everything aligns, the band is giving it their all and the crowd is going mental, being a music photographer feels like the best job in the world and it fills you with incredible energy that you feel long after the gig is over. Most recently I had the opportunity to shoot two nights of a Ghost tour for Classic Rock and Metal Hammer. I had access to the full show so I was there from start to finish and it was an amazing experience. Normally photographers are only allowed to shoot the first three songs, so it's great when you get more access and opportunity to catch stuff that happens later in the show. Other bands that I absolutely love to shoot are Twenty One Pilots, Gojira, Fever333, Slipknot, Mushroomhead and Imagine Dragons. There are many more exciting bands out there but these are my personal favourites that I could shoot over and over again and not get bored.”
Q. Are there any you haven't yet shot but would particularly like to for any reason?
“I would love to photograph Bjork, I think she's an incredible artist. Unfortunately she has her own photographer and doesn't allow anyone else to photograph her so, she remains on my bucket list.”
Q. I noticed in your 'other work' page that you don't just work with rock and metal bands.
“I guess I would class myself as an event photographer who specialises in performance photography. Live music is definitely my first love but I also really enjoy dance and theatre. In a nutshell, I enjoy taking photos of talented, creative people who are passionate about what they do. Their creativity feeds my own and helps me develop as an artist. With regards to my live music work specifically, I never limited myself to a specific music genre and my personal music taste doesn't dictate who I shoot. When it comes to photography, I'm mainly interested in what I see and not what I hear. If I also like the music, that's a bonus, not a requirement. I tend to shoot metal more than anything else but I also love colourful pop gigs and I definitely have a soft spot for female artists in general.”
Q. Do you use digital exclusively?
“I used to work in film when I first started and I would spend hours in the darkroom developing prints but I've been working exclusively digital for a long time now. The nature of my work means that I usually have to deliver my photos quite quickly, very often within hours so, shooting anything other than digital just wouldn't be practical. There is something quite magical about working in the darkroom and seeing images appear on the paper but you need space and time for it and that just isn't possible most of the time. I appreciate the convenience and flexibility of digital photography and I really enjoy the editing process. I'm not heavy handed when it comes to editing but I love making little changes and tweaks that most people wouldn't even notice but they make a big difference to me because I'm very particular about how I want my photos to look.”
Q. Have you been to Bloodstock before, and if so, was the gallery established at that point? Tell us something about the images you will be exhibiting.
“I started coming to Bloodstock ten years ago, initially as a press photographer and for the last five years I've been part of the official team. I'm really pleased to show three of my prints in the RAM Gallery this year. It took me a while to select the final three. In the end I went with Ghost, Parkway Drive and Devin Townsend. I'm a big fan of Ghost, I love their music and I think they are visually stunning. Music taste is a very subjective thing and whether you like their music or not, no one can deny that they put on an impressive show. From lighting, stage props, pyros, to their outfits, they certainly know how to engage their audience and deserve the spot on my shortlist. My second choice was Parkway Drive. I first photographed them back in 2008 in Nottingham and several times over the years, each time I thought they were getting better and better and slowly getting recognition they deserved. Some people thought they were a somewhat controversial headliner choice for Bloodstock but I couldn't be more excited. They were everything I expected and then some and they brought fire, literally and figuratively. I just had to pick one performer from Bloodstock 2021 because it was the first event since the start of the pandemic and it was such an emotionally charged weekend for everyone. Bloodstock is always such a wonderful experience but 2021 definitely has a special place in my heart and Devin's headline set on Friday night brought it all together in perfect, loud harmony. I spent the last half an hour shooting from the stage and I remember looking across the sea of happy faces in the crowd and all I could feel was an overwhelming joy. It's something I will never forget.”