DC-based photographer Victoria Ford has always been obsessed with music. In recent years, her love has manifested itself into music photography and since then, she has been given the pleasure of photographing major artists such as Debbie Harry, Tyler, The Creator, and Jay-Z. She chatted with us about her work and recent exhibition at Bishop Gallery in Brooklyn.
Hi Victoria! Introduce yourself to the Lomography community.
I’m Victoria Ford of Sneakshot Photography. I’m a music photographer based in Washington DC. I’ve always been a music connoisseur and a lover of photography. I decided a few years ago that I’d turn my love for both music and photography into my passion project.
How did this exhibition come about? Was it something you put together yourself or did someone help you? How did you select the pieces for the show?
I’ve had a working relationship with the Bishop Gallery in Brooklyn—I showed my photos at their DC gallery in 2011. It was also at that gallery in DC where I decided to take my photography seriously. But for this show, the gallery has always embraced me and my work, so they had an opening slot in their schedule and I felt that it was time for me to put on a solo photo exhibit.
I put the exhibit together myself. In choosing the pieces there were some that I knew that I wanted to feature, but I did have some assistance from my friend Damian Simms and fellow photographer Kevin Hinton of Kreative71. Basically, the chosen photos were some of my favorites from my years of photographing musicians both on and off stage. The show is sort of a retrospective of my work from the mid 00’s to the present.
One of the first photos of yours that caught my eye is your portrait of Debbie Harry. How do you approach making pictures with such legendary artists?
Each artist and situation are different. The shot of Debbie Harry came about while I was with my friend Ginny Suss. She was producing an interview segment for a company she was working for. I was there to capture quick moments. So the shot of Debbie was actually a candid moment that I caught before I snapped the actual portrait. And I feel that the shot captures her boldness, sexiness and sass.
Who or what are your inspirations while making work?
My mother is one of my inspirations — she passed away earlier this year from her fight with cancer. A lot of the time, the music is another inspiration. The spirit, groove, and rhythm that lives in music inspires me. I believe that everything has a rhythm to it... I embrace that as an inspiration to create.
What was your most cherished photo in your exhibition and why? Can you tell me the story behind it?
If I had to choose one (which is extremely hard for me to do) I’d have to say Amy Winehouse. The reason why I chose that one is because she was special. Her voice, her persona. She made such an impact during her short time here with us.
What is the most difficult thing about being a music photographer and what advice can you offer those looking to get into the field?
Photography is still a male dominated field. Music photography especially. For me the most difficult thing is not being taken seriously. I feel women have to work harder to prove themselves. I tend to let my work speak for itself. My advice to anyone wanting to get into music photography is to find your groove, shoot everyone. Find your balance, you’ll get knocked off center a few times, but just brush it off and keep pushing. Ride the rhythm.