Behind the camera: Laura Cooper

Who are you? Laura Cooper. Living in Tokyo, Japan.  I write and photograph for a couple of online music magazines specializing in the Japanese rock and visual-kei scene.  I’m also covering the Japanese heavy-metal scene on my own website.

How did you get started? At university, I treated myself to a Canon SLR and ended up photographing rock, metal and jazz bands on campus. After a few years of doing other things, I started shooting bands again when I moved to Tokyo.

What’s in the bag? Nikon D5000, Nikkor 35mm prime lens, standard 18-55mm kit lens, and a 55-200mm zoom. Currently coveting the D600!

Which photographers do you admire? Todd Owyoung – his concert photos are what I aspire to produce. The clarity, balance and lighting are superb and his skill in and capturing the moment is something that really sticks with me when I’m shooting.

Your top 3 tips for music photographers?

  • Research the venue – How big? How many floors? Do you need a ladder? Get feedback from people who’ve been there before.
  • Research the band – check out promotional videos and live shows on Youtube.  Know their music and know how they move. Who pulls the most epic rock poses and who will be hiding behind their hair?  Most musicians tend to have a physical vocabulary, so learn their body language!
  • Don’t forget the drummer!!

My favourite shot is? This shot of guitarist Mitsuki, from visual-kei band Kiryu, is one of my favourites. I love the contrast of the dark auditorium and colour-saturated stage; the audience throwing the horns; and Mitsuki standing arms-spread, grinning wide, and looking right into the camera.  You can really feel how much fun he’s having in this photo, and he looks stunning.

How can we find out more about you and find more of your work?

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