Photographer Spotlights

Photographer Spotlight: Katherine Garcia

Katherine Garcia is a North Carolina-based photographer that loves shooting hardcore shows near and around her Charlotte home. I became aware of her shots via Twitter and instantly hit her up about being featured on the site's ongoing Photographer Spotlight series. Enjoy!

Where were you born and raised, and were your parents into the arts?

I was born and raised around the Bay Area of California, mainly between San Jose and a small town 45 minutes out called Los Banos. My family moved around quite a bit until we landed in Charlotte, NC, where I'm based out of now. My parents weren’t very involved in the arts themselves, but both have a deep appreciation for most forms of art. They’ve always encouraged my brothers and I’s interest in anything creative from a young age. My maternal grandfather is a writer and my dad played guitar at his neighborhood church growing up in Mexico City, which I like to think played parts in the positive role the arts have played within my family. There was never much resistance to pursue the arts in any capacity which I'm very thankful for.

Diztort at New Brookland Tavern, West Columbia, SC, 2019. (Photo: Katherine Garcia)

What was your first musical love?

As a young Chicana growing up in California, my first musical love came from the sounds of block parties neighbors would put on. Sounds like Selena Quintanilla, Los Angeles Azules, and El Tri embodied home. It wasn’t until much later when I first heard and became obsessed with stuff like the Violent Femmes and Slipknot through video games, like Project 8, and friends from school. Both led me down rabbit holes of everything from emo and punk then later hardcore which I couldn’t get enough of. That opened me to love the music I do the way I do now, I think.

Fury at New Brookland Tavern, West Columbia, SC, 2019. (Photo: Katherine Garcia)

What is your camera and post set up?

I switched over this past year and have been working with a Canon 7D Mark II. Mostly with a 18-135mm lens, and more recently switching between that and a 50mm f/1.4. All of my earlier work was with my Nikon D3200 though. I typically carry an external speedlight as well. I used to pop everything into apple photos and edit photos individually, but I recently caved and switched to Lightroom.

Gouge Away at Skylark Social Club, Charlotte, NC, 2019. (Photo: Katherine Garcia)

Who are some of your favorite bands to shoot?

Magnitude is always amazing to experience and capture. You can feel the power in their set from all sides of the room. If you get the chance, they’re definitely worth seeing. Fury, Gouge Away, Trapped Under Ice, Angel Du$t, Culture Abuse, and Diztort also come to mind. They all have this electric presence on stage. You can see them getting lost in the moment, just letting it all out in front of them. Their crowds also never fail to match the energy, it’s amazing to watch and makes for fun shots.

Magnitude at New Brookland Tavern, West Columbia, SC, 2019. (Photo: Katherine Garcia)

If you could go back in time, who are some bands that you would have loved to shoot?

Hole around Live Through This. Their collective presence seems intense and seeing Courtney command the stage around then would have been a dream. I’ve always loved Lou Reed so the Velvet Underground is also an easy one. Youth of Today, Insted, Turning Point, and Embrace are also all artists I can’t even imagine being able to witness at their prime, much less shoot. Being able to create more pictures to look back on considering the impact they were making then and have continued to make even through younger generations now would be amazing.

Angel Du$t at Skylark Social Club, Charlotte, NC, 2019. (Photo: Katherine Garcia)

Is it getting tougher to carve a space out at venues since there are so many people shooting these days? How do you feel about that?

I have to admit the only place I’ve really worried about space has been at larger festivals like those I worked this past year with Brouhaha International, a great organization based out of Liverpool that cultivates Carnivals and related arts. However even then, those involved in shooting understood everyone wants a good shot and with enough consideration for each other there’s the space for it, which is the best mindset to encounter.

KalentuRa Drums at Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival Via Brouhaha International, Edinburgh, UK, 2018. (Photo: Katherine Garcia)

Around North Carolina, I actually wish I’d see more folks really digging into shooting the scene here. I’d love to see more engagement from people of color especially. I think photography is such a powerful tool in that it shows the world your perspective, and voices of color have so much of value to share. I’d love for the community to cultivate that and bridge the gaps which limit artists more.

Substance at the Nightlight, Chapel Hill, NC, 2017. (Photo: Katherine Garcia)

Tell me about some newer bands that we should all be on the lookout for.

Fake Eyes is made up of members of Magnitude and Dollhands, another great local indie rock band. They’ve been laying down amazing tracks to the likes of Hum and sound awesome. If you haven’t heard Method of Doubt by now, they just put out my favorite 7” of the year, Accepting What We Know. Mobile Terror Unit just put out 6 wild songs that are sharp and get straight to it. Anxious and One Step Closer are also new to Triple-B, both young and already saying some important things, definitely worth lending an ear!

Fake Eyes at Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC, 2019. (Photo: Katherine Garcia)

Who are some modern-day photographers that you admire?

Angela Owens, Angela Boatwright, Martin Crudo, and Zack Rogers (who has been featured on here before) are all masters of capturing what I love most about hardcore, everything from its influence and communities to its sheer power and passion. Apart from them, Ashlan Grey, Ryan Mcginley, and Alan G keep me stupefied in the way they capture popular artists so creatively and in ways that feels so intimate. Brandie Wed, Makeda Sanford, Jasmine Archie, and Wang Wei are some of my favorite creative eyes harnessing their perspective so beautifully through portraiture and more editorial style work. Local Charlotte artists like Rachel Boxer, Terry Suave, and Samuel Fife’s work with Wavytown Collective are a constant source of inspiration as well.

Give at the Nightlight, Chapel Hill, NC, 2017. (Photo: Katherine Garcia)

If you had to pick one of your photos that best encapsulates why you love shooting bands/artists, which one would it be and why?

This Magnitude Era of Attrition record release photo where you can see the North Carolina straight edge banner made before the show, Heath from Invoke singing into the other mic, and folks exploding with smiles behind Russell I think is very special. There’s a lot to be said about Charlotte’s position geographically and generally in hardcore, but I think what makes it so unique is that whatever comes out is full of heart because it has to be. The amount of previous generations still present to bring forward newer bands is select.

Magnitude at Skylark Social Club, Charlotte, NC, 2018. (Photo: Katherine Garcia)

It takes raw passion, dedication, and a community that fuels it forward with that same energy to pour over onto the scene like Magnitude has. That night was an amazing gathering of the community that Magnitude had built around their music and ideas extending beyond our city and state lines at the time, and which has only grown since then. I think that photo captures everything I love about that.

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You can see more of Katherine's work on her Flickr and Instagram pages.

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