Meet Your Music Category Winner Sam Brumby


Dive by Sam Brumby @sambrumby
Dive by Sam Brumby @sambrumby

Meet Sam Brumby, winner of our Music category.

Sam didn’t have your typical city kid upbringing, growing up on the coast of Tassie, remote Arnhem land in the Northern Territory and Ambon, Indonesia. Currently juggling work as a filmmaker, photographer and sound engineer to pay the bills, he’s also been nursing endless hangovers abroad travelling around in Sticky Fingers’ tour bus as their photographer and sound engineer. And that’s lucky for us, as he captured his winning photo entry at one particularly rowdy SF gig, and in turn snagged eternal MC glory. We caught up with Sam to see some of his best gig shots and pester him with questions.

What are you going to do with the 5k?

I just bought a very expensive camera, so I’m gonna hit Dad back so he can start replenishing his super fund.

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Bad Dreems

What do you dig most about your winning photo?

Probably that it’s a ‘one of’ kind of moment. I’m lucky that I get to travel with Sticky Fingers constantly, so I’m exposed to all the craziness that those guys get up to, and I feel that I’ve gotten a lot of interesting, ‘good’ photos in the last few years. But the night I snapped this, Dylan (lead singer) was wasted and the show was going pretty terribly, but the crowd were loving his drunken antics. I just happened to be behind him, probably because I’d had to pick him or his mic stand up off the ground, and then he climbed that speaker stack. I nearly climbed up to pull him down because I thought he’d break his neck. But clearly I didn’t, and just happened to be in a decent spot to capture it. It still baffles me how relaxed he looks.

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Sticky Fingers, Euro

What’s the one shot that got away?

I filmed a doco about crossing Iceland a couple of years ago with two of my mates, and right at the beginning of the trip we found ourselves in this tiny coastal town, on some hunch about getting a boat to a remote island. We got stranded and the only way out was to hitch hike, but no one wanted to help us out. So we were stuck on the side of the road out in the Arctic boondocks when this little kid walked up from somewhere and wanted to hang out. He was a little ratbag who just kept throwing rocks at cow shit, and every time a car drove past and didn’t give us a lift, he’d swear at them in Icelandic and flip them the bird. So I shot a bunch of photos on 35mm and eventually got one of him flipping me off with his face all scrunched up. It was super spontaneous and I felt that at the time it was the best photo I’d ever shot. Three days later after hiking into the highlands I discovered I’d lost that roll of film, so I spent half a day hiking back and looking for it. I never found it.

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Young Fathers

Has taking a photo ever gotten you in trouble?

Not in a traditional sense. But earlier this year I was on tour in the US shooting photos and I developed Rhabdomyolysis (Google it) and ended up in a hospital in Compton for six days, which was pretty troublesome for me.

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Sticky Fingers

If you could be on a shoot with any photographer, who would they be and why? 

Rennie Ellis. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed anyone’s work as much as I have his, the way he captured Australian culture was unreal.

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Sticky Fingers

Favourite gear?

I mostly shoot digital due to having to turn around last night’s show the next morning, but my Nikon FM2 and Pentax 6×7 come with me everywhere and make as many appearances as possible, because sometimes it’s nice to not shoot 1000 photos a day.

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Kirin J Callinan

Dream subject/location to shoot?

I used to live in an Aboriginal community in NE Arnhem Land and I feel a really strong connection to the land and people up there. One of my best mates is from a community called Nyinyikay, and when you’re there you feel like you’re in another world, completely untouched. So yeah, getting another chance to spend some time up there shooting him and his family would be incredible.

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Emma Rusack

You can check out more of Sam’s work here, or on Instagram @sambrumby_ and purchase the Photo Annual here to see more of our winners and finalists.

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