Meet the guy who goes behind the scenes with all your favourite DJs
For the most part, the images we see of our favourite artists are carefully constructed. They’re either press shots, taken by a professional photographer and staged to the nines, or they’re social media photos — which, for the most part, are probably just as staged.
It’s rare that we get to see what really happens behind the scenes, which is where Jack Lawrence’s ‘No Show’ series comes in. Lawrence, a Perth-based photographer, has spent time on the road with acts like RÜFÜS, Peking Duk, Metro Boomin’ and Post Malone, and has faithfully documented it all.
‘No Show’ is a different project for Lawrence: instead of the usual band snaps and live photography, this is about capturing those raw moments behind-the-scenes — no filters, no set ups, just Lawrence snapping away in the shadows. inthemix spoke to Jack about how it all came together.
You’ve been a music photographer for quite a long time. What inspired you to start this new series?
I was on the road with RÜFÜS for long periods of time doing a bit of a tour diary, and I was just really intrigued because you don’t really get to see the behind the scenes too often. You always see like pictures of people on stage, but you don’t really get to see them in their natural element, like backstage. There’s so much travelling and backstage stuff that people don’t see. I wanted to capture it.
So RÜFÜS were the first band that you shot for the series?
Yeah. They’re the band that I’ve toured with the most, nationally and internationally. They’re definitely the one I’ve spent the most time with.
So you’re capturing these artists in sometimes quite loose situations. Is it difficult to convince them to let you have a camera on? Is anyone saying: “No mate. Just put it down.”
Yeah, I’m always super in the shadows. You learn to know your limit, when to shoot and when not. There’s some parts of the night where you just gotta put the camera away.
“There’s some parts of the night where you just gotta put the camera away”
What are the parts of the night where you have to put it away?
Probably after 3am!
Fair enough. Have there been any photos that have been too loose to publish?
Yeah, definitely. Not everything goes out. You have to be respectful to the artists and you know they keep it to themselves — because they just want personal memories. So not everything meets the public eye. Some stuff is quite personal.
Jon from RÜFÜS has a really photogenic face. He’s a really great subject. Is he one of your favourites to shoot?
Yeah, definitely. The RÜFÜS boys are definitely my favourite guys to hand out with and shoot cause we spent so much time together. And yeah, they’re super photogenic — they’re always looking good. It’s first thing in the morning and they’re even looking good! I can’t handle it.
There’s a particularly beautiful shot of Allday backstage on a staircase. Do you remember that show?
Yeah, that was the listening party for his new album. We just hung out for a bit backstage because he’d been out meeting the crowd and stuff like that. He’s a really nice dude, I have a lot of respect for him. He’s a cool guy.
Are you really trying not to set up any photos at all? You’re just there snapping away just in the background?
Yeah, I don’t like them to be like too staged, or too happy. The whole point is that I keep it super natural and real raw. That’s also the other reason I shoot it all on film is to keep it raw and intimate and kinda untouched. Just in their natural habitat, really.
What does shooting on film do that digital can’t? Why did you choose to go with film?
With film, you don’t know what it’s come out like. You’re shooting blind. On digital, you can look back straight away to see if it’s good or not, and change your settings to adapt. Film is pretty much point and shoot, and then you don’t find out if you got it until you get it developed.
I’ve been like shooting before, like when I was taking photos of like Post Malone and stuff backstage — you take maybe a couple of shots and just pray the film is gonna come out right.
There’s no way to see whether it worked or not, but I think that’s all part of it. It’s quite exciting shooting like that. It keeps it interesting.
Speaking of backstage, whose giant diamante encrusted watch is that in one of the photos?
That is Metro Boomin. He was really sparkly and shit. He had a lot of chains.
When was that photo taken?
That was in Sydney, I think it was after the Slow Mo tour. It was the end of the tour, and we were having a bit of a roof party back at our hotel because it was the last night.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen while you’ve been on tour?
“Peking Duk like to party, they keep you on your toes”
That’s a hard one. We’ve had some pretty good parties. Peking Duk like to party, they keep you on your toes. I’m trying to think what was craziest. I’m also trying not to put anyone in it too much [laughs]!
It’s all a bit blurry. The craziest stuff happens when it’s a bit blurry.
What’s the hardest thing about being on tour for long periods of time?
It’s pretty tiring. People probably don’t realise how tiring it is — that’s why I’ve got so much respect for artists, how they can go up and perform and put so much energy into each show. It’s a very physically tiring thing — you’ll be flying everyday, then you’ll go to a hotel for a little bit and then it’s straight back to the venue. It’s exhausting.
Who parties the hardest in Australian dance music, do you think?
I reckon it would have to be Peking Duk. Those boys know how to party. They almost scare me a little bit. It’s always a big night when they’re around.
Can you keep up with them?
Absolutely not, no. They are born, bred…they’ve got it in their blood.
What’s your favourite tour story?
I think it would have to be after RÜFÜS’ debut Coachella performance. Everyone went into that show so nervous and didn’t know what to expect, yet had their minds blown. The show turned out to be the best to date with a huge turn out and reaction, it was seriously unreal.
It’s still one of the most special shows I’ve ever been apart of. And it didn’t stop there — in true tour form the celebratory beers started flowing and we headed back to our house, where we all climbed onto the roof and watched the sunrise over Palm Springs. It was pretty amazing.
You can see more of Jack’s work here.
Jules LeFevre is a writer for inthemix and Music Junkee. She is on Twitter.