Sam Brumby not only took out the Music prize last year for his winning shot of Sticky Finger’s frontman Dylan free falling from a set of speakers into a crowd, he also bagged himself a job at this very institution.
A beer or 10 in the presence of MC co-founder Hollywood apparently gave Sam the Dutch courage needed to recommend his work skills at last year’s Photo Comp party in Sydney. And Sam hasn’t looked back (or down, because he works in our office basement now) since. In his previous nine lives Sam has been tour photographer for Aussie band Sticky Fingers, the brain behind music videos for some of Australia’s best up and coming artists, and—judging by his beard and preference for flannel—a lumberjack.
I interviewed Sam from upstairs via Skype to see what life’s like in the MC basement, and beyond.
What did you spend all your prize money on? Try not to be boring.
I spent my prize money on a RED Scarlett W cinema camera, which is essentially just an expensive, badly named box with technical stuff inside it…but I do love the thing. The camera and all its gadgets were actually a considerable amount more than $5k, but the prize money helped me pay off the debt the investment incurred.
I did well in English.
How did winning the Monster Children Photo Comp change your life? What advice would you give to young kids who also want to grow up and work in a dark basement/storage facility?
This sounds childish and coy, but I grew up idolising MC. Living in a very small town it created an insight into a world I didn’t know anything about. It possessed this wealth of content that I couldn’t get enough of and allowed me to realise all of the amazing possibilities creativity could bring to others. So winning the competition was simply beyond my imagination, I was stoked to simply be shortlisted. And then to somehow wrangle a job out of it after 25 beers and a mumbled conversation with one of my future bosses might as well have been a drunken hallucination. But hey, I’m here essentially working my dream job.
My advice to anyone who asks about anything work-related is pretty simple—work and work some more. You gotta take the time to cut your teeth and win the respect of your peers and that means taking jobs you don’t wanna do, jobs that don’t pay bugger all, or working all day and night. Regardless of how good you might think you are, if you’re not a hard worker people probably won’t want a bar of you. Also, have a good attitude.
I don’t actually remember you skulling your mandatory winner’s beer at the party.
I was the only one who skulled a whole beer.
Tell me about some of the music videos you’ve shot this past year.
I’ve shot quite a lot. I started the year with a music video for good friend and country music star Fanny Lumsden for her track ‘Totem Tennis’. It was a whole lot of fun and looks like it cost a lot more than it did due to all the hard work Fanny and her family/friends put into it.
I did a couple of clips for Julia Jacklin. The most recent shows her dancing in her childhood dance studio as a grown woman, it’s quite simple but also quite beautiful. I shot a very moving, emotional piece for Rainbow Chan. Another for Handsome (formally know as Caitlin Park) that questions the times we are in and our attitudes towards the LGBTQ community. A quick, fun, cheeky short for Sloane Peterson shot entirely on super 8. And a handful of others for Planet, Hot Spoke and Horrowshow.