The photographer Caterina Gili moved to Berlin because of an attraction to the vibriant art scene in the city. She has been photographing some of the biggest stars for some of the biggest magazines, but has learn the lessons by years of photographing extremely small clubs with bad lighting and no comfort zone.
From february Caterina Gili attends the indieBerlin photo exhibition at the Berlin nhow music Hotel. (Join the vernissage!) At IndieBerlin we asked her some questions about her big passion: Photography.
Stage photography for indieBerlin
indieBerlin: What can we expect to see from you on the indieBerlin photo exhibition in february 2017 in the Berlin nhow music Hotel?
Caterina Gili: A selection of stage pictures I have taken in the last years showing emotional moments as well as hot stage action. Not only just from the indie scene but also pictures of bands known to a broader audience.
Read an interview with the other photographer, Mia Morris, also represented on the indieBerlin exhibition.
indieBerlin: How did you come to Berlin and how did you come to do music photos for the indieBerlin magazine?
Caterina Gili: Back in Italy I was always doing stage photography, because it fascinated me. There I worked for some of the biggest magazines like for example the Rolling Stone. I had a strong personal attraction to Berlin due to its vibrant art scene as well to the fact that you can still enjoy this big city in the more quiet districts or some of its beautiful parks. So I moved to Berlin four years ago. I did not want to stop doing music photography. So I searched for a music webzine that fitted my preferences and that would like to work with me and I joined indieBerlin.
The light conditions mean everthing
indieBerlin: How do you decide on black and white or colour?
Caterina Gili: The decision is largely dictated by the light conditions on the stage. Questions like, for example, how much light is available, are there just some spots from few light sources. Usually black and white works better in low light situations for me.
indieBerlin: What was the most exciting photoshoot you’ve done so far?
Caterina Gili: Definitely the Depeche Mode concert I photographed in Bologna in 2010, I think. The video projections were created by Anton Corbijn and the band managed to keep up a lot of spontaneity and true energy albeit its extreme professionality. This is in general not only a great benefit for the audience but also makes for great pictures.
Icons and inspiration
indieBerlin: What picture comes into your mind when you think of an iconic music photo?
Caterina Gili: A stage shot of Johnny Ramone done by my teacher – Italian music photographer Henry Ruggeri. Its a shot done on film, which was a lot more complicated back in the days and it was driving my urge to do music photography. Also I am really attached to Henry, because although he is maybe the most important music photographer in Italy he was always modest enough to teach and help me.
indieBerlin: Do you prefer club photography or big arenas?
Caterina Gili: Right now I prefer the big stages. My first years I did a lot of pictures in extremely small clubs with horrible light and no comfort. It was great to learn how to take pictures even under difficult conditions but now I enjoy more taking pictures at bigger venues with a zone for photographers and professional light environment. If the band is communicating well with its audience you can still get a great connection with the artist although there is maybe more spatial distance. Concerning this, the last concert of Florence and the Machine in Berlin at the Velodrom comes up to my mind which was very intimate although the Velodrom is not exactly a small venue.
A deep wish and strong connection to the roots
indieBerlin: Whom do you wish to photograph in 2017?
Caterina Gili: I always had this deep wish in my heart to take once in my life pictures of my favourite artist – David Bowie. I guess it will be hard to make up this big open space left in my book of pictures of bands that I have taken.
Maybe something that I would like to do again is taking pictures of Florence and the Machine. And of course I always love to take pictures of Italian bands here in Berlin. Since the audience is a lot smaller here in Germany, the Italian artists always act more intimate because they realize that the audience is a lot closer. This makes these concerts in Berlin always somewhat more special.
indieBerlin: Thank you very much for the interview!
Caterina Gili: You are welcome!