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Not only does she shoot regularly for Paper, VICE, and the Village Voice (she had a music-scene photo-blog!), but most importantly Rebecca Smeyne captures the essence of what is good in Brooklyn, with a capital DIY. From Dev Hynes to Williamsburg Fashion week—if it’s quirky and involves papier mâché, she’s on it. With a camera flash and a lot of spunk, Rebecca and her poppy-colored photos give us a glimpse into the moments that make us feel weird and happy inside.
What do you try to capture in your shots?
I try to capture reality-based tableaux, stylistic details, [interesting] moments, and put them together to represent the environment. I’m not looking for static shots of groups of people posing for the camera in the middle of a party. I’m trying to create images that are more honest—words in a visual essay. It can be awkward, and a good photographer is ok with that.
Favorite Brooklyn-based party or venue to shoot? And just to attend?
I like the events Body Actualized Control has been doing, from early events on the Market Hotel rooftop, where Alaina Stamatis led “Evil Yoga” while someone played a homemade pump organ, to their gorgeous new HQ in Bushwick where Claire from Yacht recently curated a heliocentric yoga/music/experimental-film session and dance party. Also, there’s a new music party called Night Spa, which is in a full-on spa in Clinton Hill.
How do you prepare for a night out (and, do you have a shooting uniform)?
I pitch a lot of my shoots, they’re not all assignments, so that’s the first step: figuring out what to shoot, pitching it to a publication, then setting up access. Then I just have to bring the appropriate equipment for the setting. With fully charged batteries. No uniform.
How do you recuperate, especially with those time-sensitive turnarounds?
Travel, massage, vegetables, yoga, nature, coffee. Also, weed. Weed plus nature.
The Party Photographers We Love: Rebecca Smeyne