EDM Culture—As Seen Through The Lens Of Nightlife Photographer Jason Fenmore of Oh Dag Yo

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Meet Los Angeles native Jason Fenmore, who runs the LA-based nightlife site Oh Dag Yo. In addition to being resident photographer at LA’s long-running Control Fridays at Avalon nightclub, he has worked with prominent event promoters such as Insomniac (EDC) and Smog. When Jason’s not navigating his way through mega raves and clubs to capture the perfect crowd eruption shots, you’ll find him beachside, catching waves on his body board. This is why we love Los Angeles.

Most girls would rather hang with the guys with bottle service that costs more than half of my lenses. True story.

Hey Jason. Lets start off with a little introduction… say hi to Magnetic readers.

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Hi. Jason Fenmore here, better known as “Oh Dag Yo” or “Dag” for short. I grew up in Los Angeles, a city with a whole lot to look at. I started shooting as a teenager during my freshman year of high school. I started out with black and white 35mm film, spending countless hours in a darkroom, sometimes on just a single image. My subjects were typically classmates, flowers and other still life.

My interest in EDM developed about three years ago. After attending Beyond Wonderland in 2010, I remember reminiscing about the experience afterwards and recalled all my friends saying how much they wish they could go back. It was then that I realized, through my photography, we could relive those nights forever. In December of 2010, MC Dino, a good friend, brought me along for my first real experience as an EDM photographer—Together As One. After that night, I knew this was exactly what I wanted to do. I worked my way through the world of underground dubstep and drum & bass, shooting at parties and quickly building a reputation photographing some of the genres' most notable names.

At the moment, I currently hold a residency at the Avalon Hollywood for Control Friday's and Avaland Saturday's. As well as holding a residency with Avalon, you may find me at many of Insomniac's events.

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The opposite sex seems to like photographers. How does the “you're pretty” pick-up line work with you or does it?

Most girls would rather hang with the guys with bottle service that costs more than half of my lenses. True story.

Digital photography, friend or foe?

Digital photography, in my opinion, is the best thing to ever happen in this medium; however, there truly is nothing like having timeless hard copies (negatives/slides) archived in boxes that can't "crash." Digital photography = BFF4L.

If you had four hours and unlimited money in a city of your choice where would it be and what would you get up to?

Vegas. Gambling, Steakhouses and Scotch (preferably older than myself).

Favorite director or artist? What sort of films/art are you drawn to and why?

Wes Anderson, hands down. I don't know where to begin with this—every frame in his films deserves an award. His set design, locations, costume design, lighting, composition…it's all amazing.

What percentage of your skills were you born with? How did you go about acquiring additional skills?

I'd say 80% of my skills come from how I see things. Since I can remember, I've always had an eye for details that the average person wouldn't notice. Though, I was not born with the ability to take a good photo, it's something that I studied and practiced over time. Over the years my techniques have changed, but I still use the same observational skills that I had as a kid. When it all comes down to it, practice is really the only way to be the best. The more I shoot, the more I learn.

What are some things you love about Los Angeles?

I've had a lot of opportunities to work with incredible people: Giant Club, Insomniac, Smog, LA Beatdown, Respect DnB, Circle Talent Agency, US Dubstep and many, many more. If I didn't live in LA, I probably wouldn't have met these incredible people and may have never been given the opportunity to work with them. Aside from work, LA has hands-down the best Mexican food. I am also spoiled with shooting subjects in the snow, at the beach, in the desert, and in urban settings.

What is your favorite activity or place to kill time in LA without blowing the bank?

Westwards beach, where I do most of my bodyboarding and photography. Gas - $10. Sandwich and a Beer - $8.99. That Perfect Wave—priceless.

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Who is your favorite photographer (dead or alive) and why?

I first learned about Gregory Crewdson in a lighting class at Art Institute. Honestly, as a “Nightlife” and “DJ Photographer,” we seemingly take any light at our disposal for granted. The whole craft is simply to be in the right place at the right time. However, Crewdson's style is the exact opposite; he carefully plans the capture to create an entire feeling from multiple exposures laced together, along with major motion picture lighting. His single photo can sometimes take months of planning and sometimes even a million dollars to create.

Please give us three songs that best inspire or influence your own photography style.

The music does not necessarily influence how I shoot; however, the music is a major part of what makes my photos meaningful. I aim to capture moments in which an artist or audience member is at his or her most vulnerable, for example, when a DJ lets out a smile after the crowd roars following a big drop. I also try to capture the unique and individualistic experience that each audience member has with the music he or she is hearing. In regards to my editing process, I do have music that influences me; artists like Russian Circles, Pinback and Pianos Become The Teeth have kept me motivated through grueling hours of editing photos.

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