Behind the camera: Warren Talmarkes

TALMARKES | Profile 2Who are you? I’m Warren Talmarkes, a music and events photographer based in Cape Town, South Africa.

I currently shoot for Channel 24, one of South Africa’s biggest online entertainment websites. I also shoot regularly for UK-based music magazine RockSound. I’ve contributed to Rolling Stone South Africa and various other local music publications.

I’m also involved with a website called The Sharpest Lives (, which is a local online platform for music photographers. It’s a collection of images from gigs and various music events across South Africa.

How did you get started? Growing up I used to read RockSound and Q magazine. I was fascinated by imagery taken by their live photographers. It was amazing to see bands I loved captured on stage, completely different to their press images. It was a true statement of capturing a bands performance along with the production of their show. The reviews were always a great read too, but the images left an impression on me.

At the time, South Africa wasn’t on par with the UK in terms of live shows, but I liked the idea of taking a camera into a club, paying an entry fee and pushing my way to the front to take a grainy image of a band I really liked. This allowed me to talk to fellow photographers and eventually to bloggers and editors who asked me to shoot for their publications. That was my gateway in.

Lately South Africa has boomed with international acts playing here. It’s an exciting time to be able to shoot live shows.

What’s in the bag?

  • Canon EOS 60D
  • Canon EOS M
  • Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG
  • Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS USM
  • Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
  • Canon Speedlite 430 EX II

Which photographers do you admire?

Your top 3 tips for music photographers?

  1. Don’t get comfortable – Move around in the area you’re allocated, shoot from an angle that no one else has taken.
  2. Drummers are also part of the band – Don’t forget to photograph them, they’re normally the most energetic members of the band.
  3. Value your work – Every image holds meaning, but don’t publish something you’re not happy with.

My favourite shot is? It would be Biffy Clyro at RAMfest Cape Town. Lighting changed rapidly during their first few songs. If I recall correctly their set started with no lighting at all and as soon as Simon started with the song’s main riff lighting pierced though the stage quite violently. I managed to catch the above image in between a verse and chorus change. I’d noticed that the stage lit up longer during this period and took the opportunity to capture Simon raging into the mic.

See more of Warren’s work:

Do not use these images without the correct permissions.

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