Pro Photographers Turn Guest Selectors for Our Photo Comp

The entries into the Neuw Denim Music category this year have been mind-blowing.

You’ll see exactly what we mean when we drop the shortlist this Friday, but for now, we wanted to give you a taste of the cream of the music crop this week. Thanks to Neuw Denim, we were able to call up two professional photographers and friends of MC, Maclay Heriot and Kitty Callaghan, to weigh in on their favourites as guest selectors for the Music category. Maclay and Kitty are accomplished photographers in their own right: Maclay as one of the most talented young music photographers in the country, who’s been snapped up as the tour photographer Portugal. The Man, and Kitty, who’s worked with some of the biggest names in fashion, standing out in a saturated market with her unique approach to portraiture and collage art. The pair picked out their favourites, we got in touch with the lensman behind the shots to find out more, and they all got a brand new pair of jeans from Neuw Denim for their troubles. Everyone wins.

Jack McKain, chosen by Maclay Heriot

‘Jack’s entry jumped out at me because of the energy in the image. It’s as if the subject is being tied down with the mic lead and chains, and trying to break free. I’m also a sucker for black and white and taking chances, like shooting on old stock Polaroid. I searched for Jack’s other work after choosing his shot and was stoked to see his other work shot on film. I think that’s what the MC photo comp is all about—being inspired and finding new talented photographers, whether they live next door or across the world.’ – Maclay Heriot

Behind the Photo

‘The day I met Duckwrth back in 2016, we shot a single roll of film, and one of the photos ended up being used as artwork for his single ‘Boy.’ We’ve shot together several times since then, but last spring we wanted to do something different. While we had always created moody, quiet portraits in the past, the idea for the shoot was to bring the raw energy of the stage to the studio. We wanted to keep things simple: shirtless, all-white backdrop, with nothing but a microphone and a stand as props. Per his request, we played Bad Brains at full volume while he jumped and danced all over the place, raging to the music. Once he was dripping sweat and out of breath, I had him lay on the ground, then scream at the top of his lungs on the count of three. I shot on expired Polaroid 665 film, creating a gritty black-and-white print on the spot.’ – Jack McKain @jackmckain

Jamie Wdziekonski, chosen by Kitty Callaghan

‘Firstly, WOW. There are so many insanely good photographs to choose from. This was such a hard decision, and I am honoured to have been chosen for this very amazing (and difficult) task. I love this image because it’s multi-generational, and there is so much expression in one shot. I can’t tell if this character at the front is totally mesmerized with what is happening on stage behind the lens, or bored out of their brains. I am also a big fan of the fact that Jamie documents a lot of female talent in the Melbourne music community. It’s important to mention that there was so much talent in this category, and it was very very hard to pick just one winner. Long live the MC Photo Comp.’ – Kitty Callaghan

Behind the Shot

‘I took this photo in Portland at the Roseland Theatre where King Gizzard were playing their fourth show out of 22 of their US tour. What initially caught my attention was that such a small kid was at a KGLW show; I hadn’t seen that at their shows before. She was right up the front of the crowd barrier too, which I thought was a bit dangerous. I still don’t really know what the girl was feeling that night, but she didn’t look like she was having the best time. Maybe she was over everyone moshing behind her and pushing to the front? Maybe she was there for Gizzards more soft and acoustic songs and she got given apocalyptic heavy metal? Maybe she’s too stressed about the climate crisis to enjoy herself at a gig? I’d love to hear from her sometime and get her take on the night. I’d also like to add, I think here in Australia we should allow for more all-ages gigs. Personally, I wish I had found live music a lot earlier in life and often wonder how it could have shaped my growing up differently, as it has in recent years. Thanks MC for this opportunity!’ – Jamie Wdziekonski @sub_lation

Created in partnership with Neuw Denim. Inspired by Music. Obsessed with Denim.

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