Photo Spotlight

Photographer Spotlight: Octavio Orduno

Based in Southern California, Octavio Orduno is a young photographer who has been capturing the hardcore scene through his camera lens for the past few years. Seeing his shots of Turnstile on Instagram is how I first came across Octavio's work. From there, I dug deeper into his image library on Flickr and I was really impressed with his live photos.

Yes, Octavio is the latest victim to become part of the site's Photographer Spotlight series.

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

I was born in Riverside, CA and raised in Corona, CA. Corona, being more of a quiet town, wasn't too big, but it's definitely expanding all the time. My parents weren't necessarily into the arts. Early on, I loved to draw in high school. I had sketch books full of drawings from over the time in school. After high school, at 19, I picked up a DSLR that my parents had lying around and that day I was going to see Stick to Your Guns at Chain Reaction and decided I wanted to shoot the show and to say the least I wasn't very good [laughs] but I loved it I loved the feeling of catching the crowd and the band together. I didn't necessarily think this is my calling it was just something I enjoyed doing very much so. 

Coolside at a house show, La Puente, CA, 2017. (Photo: Octavio Orduno)

When did you get into music, and what kind of music did you gravitate towards as a kid?

I would say around 11 or so is when I definitely fell in love with music. I was deep into alternative/rock in my early days. Muse and Linkin Park were pretty much my go-to for a good part of my life but my brother is who introduced me to the harder stuff around junior high; bands like Slipknot, older AFI, Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, to name a few.

Knocked Loose at The Observatory, Santa Ana, CA, 2017. (Photo: Octavio Orduno)

What is your camera and post set up?

My camera set up at the moment is a Canon 6d with Sigma 24-70 Art Lens with 3 flashes (2 430exii and 1 580ex ii). I also have a Sigma 15mm Fisheye lens and a Canon 70-200 Lens, but my bread and butter is usually the 24-70 at the moment. Post work is pretty much on my MacBook Pro Lightroom is my way. I use Photoshop on the rare occasion I need it. I love colors and crowd shots if i can get it. For me, the raw emotion of the band and crowd is very hard to capture but I seem to nail it on most days.

Angel Du$t at The Observatory, Santa Ana, CA, 2017. (Photo: Octavio Orduno)

Who are some of your favorite bands to shoot?

At the moment, everyone knows I love to shoot Turnstile [laughs]. I love the energy and explosiveness that band puts out. It just gives me a feeling I couldn’t put into words. Others to mention are The Story So Far, Coolside, Wise, Diztort, Knocked Loose, Angel Du$t, Fury, Step 4 Change, Souvenirs, Basement, Odd Man Out, Gag, Stick to Your Guns, Movements, and Citizen. I could make this list longer but I’ll try to keep it relatively short [laughs].

Turnstile at Botton Lounge, Chicago, IL, 2017. (Photo: Octavio Orduno)

If you could go back in time and shoot any band, who would it be and why?

Queen would’ve been so dope to shoot. Some others would include Nirvana and the original lineup of Rage Against the Machine. That would be a dream. I’m secretly an '80s music lover, and if I could’ve shot/seen Depeche Mode and Duran Duran back then, boy, I’d be in heaven. It's music much before my time, but I could listen to '80s stuff all day if I’m feeling it. 

Seaway at Chain Reaction, Anaheim, CA, 2017. (Photo: Octavio Orduno)

What do you find to be the toughest aspect of shooting music shows?

The toughest aspect would have to be where to position yourself, no question. It's a struggle when you’re somewhere and on both sides of you are other photographers. Setting up the perfect spots for the slave flashes is also a big key factor. To say that I’ve always picked the perfect spots would be a lie. One thing I’ve learned doing this for over three years now is that you have to change things up on the fly when needed. You have to be fast because every minute counts. The small things are also overlooked (extra memory cards, batteries, etc.). You always have to be prepared for anything that comes up unexpectedly.

Abuse of Power at Programme Skate & Sound, Fullerton, CA, 2017. (Photo: Octavio Orduno)

Who are some newer bands we should all be looking out for?

Wise is definitely the first band I thought of. They are some of the nicest guys from around here. They put on a last minute show the day of in La Puente which was at 11pm. Luckily for me, I was off work the next day so made the hasty decision to drive out there and it was well worth it. Diztort is another up and coming band with a lot of buzz around them right now. They are so good and the vocalist hits those lyrics with full force. The first time I saw them was at a house show and man, it was a massacre of a crowd reaction, so from then on, I learned these guys were doing great things. Dead Heat—which a lot of people have been buzzing about since playing the Sound & Fury pre-show—have been getting some mad love from the music scene. I was at one of their first shows and the thing I loved off the bat was that Chris, their singer, was so unique with his style of vocals. The crowd was digging on them big time. 

Wise at a park show, La Puente, CA, 2017. (Photo: Octavio Orduno)

Who are some of your favorite modern-day music-related photographers?

To be honest, when I finally had my feet on the ground, and sort of known, I guess [laughs], I remember finding Tyler Ross on Instagram and thought to myself: “I love the colors and natural aspect of his shots.” The second photographer that I remember was Angela Owens, who rocks the slave flashes that catches details not even I could probably get, even if it was staged [laughs]. Another has to be my boy Joe “Baby Smooth” Calixto. He’s been shooting shows for years and his love for the scene is undeniably cool to see.

Citizen at Chain Fest, Santa Ana, CA, 2016. (Photo: Octavio Orduno)

Another guy Ive always had mad love for is my man Sam “Slam” Jameson. I met him when I was on a small tour with Such a Mess and he’s been my boy since Day One. We met last year and he's still someone I keep in touch with and play PC games with to this day. 

Initiate at Underground Skate Suppy Co, Alhambra, CA, 2017. (Photo: Octavio Orduno)

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

To pick one photo out of 12,000 is very hard for me. But if I had to pick one, it would be this one shot from Warped Tour, taken at the end of Stick to Your Guns' set. The emotion behind this one just hits home with me. They were the first band that was "different," I guess you could say [laughs], but they helped me through tough times in my late high school days. The photo shows that were are all in this together. No one is bigger than the other. We're here because we love the music, and one way or another, it has impacted us in a positive manner. I occasionally go back and look at my photo albums and it's insane how easily we can relive a show through pictures and the emotions we were all feeling. To this day, that still gives me the chills just thinking about it. 

Stick to Your Guns at Warped Tour, Pomona, CA, 2017. (Photo: Octavio Orduno)


Follow Octavio on Instagram and see more of his work on Flickr.

Tagged: octavio orduno, photographer spotlight