What’s your name?
Dana Distortion Yavin. Yes really, I legally changed it and it is officially my name.
Where are you based?
Brooklyn, New York–my favorite place in the world.
What’s your favorite camera for concert photography?
Always the one I can afford and have with me. When I started on my point-and-shoot that was my favorite. Then I upgraded to a D60 and that was my favorite. Then I upgraded to a D4 and that was my favorite. A camera is a tool that allows me to express myself and my creativity. Any camera will do, really.
What’s your our favorite lens for concert photography?
I think my go-to is 24-70mm. I find it covers a good range for most shows, but it really depends on the situation and what I’m shooting. I do find myself using that one the most.
What’s your number 1 record of all time?
This is probably my least favorite question of all time! It really depends on what the soundtrack to my life is at that moment. So it changes every hour or two. If you really forced me to give one answer, I would say ‘After the Gold Rush’ by Neil Young. This album means a lot to me, and I can listen to it on replay over and over again. That being said, I think that’s a tough question for any true music lover. There are endless records I love. I don’t really believe in the word “favorite.” I’m a person who welcomes change, so my favorite changes all the time.
If you could have dinner with one person from music history, alive or dead, who would it be?
Hands down, John Lennon. He has answers to everything. I just love him.
What band is still on your bucket list to take photos of?
Bob Dylan. Do I really need to explain why?
What’s your top 3 “Don’ts” of music photography?
I don’t like telling people what not to do. In fact, I avoid it at all cost. I think people should be themselves and mind their own business.
What’s the No.1 Tip you wished you had known when starting out as a music photographer?
I wish someone would have guided me on the proper way to approach people in the industry. I always try to be honest and be myself, but I feel like, especially coming from a different country, I’m misunderstood a lot. That’s something that was and always will be hard for me. I wish I knew the right way to approach a publication, a client, or anyone really. I still don’t think I do it right 😉 The tip I wanna give to others is to be yourself, develop your own style, and avoid cheesy filters on your photos. In my opinion, filters don’t make your photos more creative, they just highlight your lack of originality.
One of the first shows I shot was Sonic Youth . That came about because I randomly saw Thurston Moore at a bar in Brooklyn and asked him if I could shoot the show, which was scheduled for few weeks later. He said sure. When I arrived at the show, I really didn’t know that photographers are only allowed to shoot the first three songs. So when all the other photographers were being escorted out of the pit after the third song, and I was about to leave with them, the security guys told me, “Oh no, you can stay. You must know someone important.” That was really cool.
Why are you a music photographer?
Music is my life and photography is my passion in expressing that. I love nothing more than the combination of the two. Really, nothing–not even unicorns.
What is your biggest dream?
My biggest dreams change all the time according to what I’m going through in my life. Right now, I’m finally working on a film I have been waiting for nine years to make. I like to dream big, but in small steps. I have new dreams and goals all the time.
Listen to our interviews on dealing with challenges as a music photographer
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