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EDM Culture, As Seen Through The Lens Of Andrew Rauner

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If you’re like us here at Magnetic, you probably have a voyeuristic relationship with the world around you. Which is to say, you take pleasure in looking at the people, places, things, and, of course, the events that revolve around your EDM culture life. Few artistic mediums, if any others at all, posses the ability to imprison reality the way photography does.

Enter East Coast based nightlife photographer Andrew Rauner. Rauner's images are just one of the ways that we get to live vicariously and experience a world beyond our immediate touch—being West Coast and all. We got the chance to catch up with the man for a little chat. We talked craft, music and other random stuff—like Legos.

One who looks through the lens and thinks Photoshop will often miss the chance on a good photo by thinking he/she will just edit it later. I always strive to achieve my result through the lens of my camera.


Hey Andrew, thanks for making the time for this interview. Lets start off with a little bit about you and photography and where you're coming from.

I started when I was about seven. My grandfather was a professional, so I guess you can say that I was brought up with a camera in hand. In high school I started taking photos of concerts in an effort to see more live shows—I’ve always loved music and was a musician growing up. When I brought this hobby to college, AJRphotography was truly born. Upon developing a love for electronic music, I started to get involved in the scene as a photographer. By senior year I was flying to Miami for Ultra, not as a fan, as I had done in the past, but to take pictures. While I don’t say that I’m exclusively a live-music photographer, 80-85% of my work focuses around music-related performances. I think that my sheer love and understanding of music allow me to succeed as a photographer in the space.


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

HAHA, I don’t think I’ve ever flat out said, “You’re pretty” to a girl as a pickup line. I do, however, find that most people are complimented when you ask to take their photo. Real talk though, a little flirting from behind the lens does go a long way when photographing people in a nightlife setting, I’m not trying to get them to show skin but when a subject is more relaxed, comfortable, and having a good time, it shows in an image. As far as picking up girls while I’m working, I can neither confirm nor deny that it’s happened.

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Digital photography, friend or foe?

Good question, I do 98% of my work in digital, but I learned photography in 35mm film. I tell most that I think something unique I bring to the table, as a photographer, is my “film photography upbringing.” Digital photography is definitely a friend: it’s faster, more efficient and WAY cheaper. However, I’ve definitely seen digital photography act as a foe to a photographer. One who looks through the lens and thinks “Photoshop” will often miss the chance on a good photo by thinking he/she will just edit it later. I always strive to achieve my result through the lens of my camera.

You knew you wanted to be a photographer when…

When everything I tried, I wound up better at just photographing it. (Played guitar growing up, was better at photographing musicians. Played sports as a kid, was better at photographing athletes. The list goes on and on…)

What does photography have over video/film?

Film is a fantastic medium that from a professional standpoint I don’t claim to know much about. For me, I try to represent in a single photograph, one frame. From a completely technical angle, at 30fps (frames per second, standard hi-res on the same camera I shoot stills with), in a 2.5 minute “re-cap video,” a videographer has 4500 frames to relay a message. While the two are clearly different art forms, I’m under the impression that when a fan thinks of a favorite show or song or moment, they think of a single image (sort of like a single “drop” over the course of a set), not 4500. That’s the image I hope to photograph.

What was your favorite toy as a child and when/why did you stop playing with it?

Legos, arguably the only thing I’ve ever been better at than taking photos. However, there is nothing more painful than stepping on a lego barefoot, nothing. Oh, and I haven’t stopped playing.


Please give us 3 songs that best inspire or influence your own photography style.

My favorite or influential song changes just about as often as the temperature. The first one I’ll go with is going to be the first song I ever called my “favorite.” That is, “Ten Years Gone” by Led Zeppelin. Something about this song just keeps me calm no matter when or where I am, I can just hum and think “though their course may change sometime, rivers always reach the sea.” Thoughts like that keep me calm amidst a relatively hectic lifestyle.

The next will probably have to be the song that made me realize electronic music production was what I needed to be photographing. My first “EDM” show was Ultra, and I was in the massive main stage crowd for Tiesto closing out night 1. My buddy and I left a second early to avoid the rush, and turned around from behind the whole crowd to see the entire production as the DJ returned to the stage for one last song. “Feel It In My Bones” by Tiesto ft. Tegan and Sarah played and the entire world lit up. I knew that it was moments like this, epic and meaningful seconds of one’s life, that I had to be capturing with my camera. And yes, I had snuck in my camera (I wasn’t a professional electronic photographer yet) and managed to snag a photo.

The last song that I think influences my style is probably “Every Day” by Eric Prydz. The sound “Ironically,” the lyrics tend to suit my lifestyle: “….working late on the night shift to get peace of mind.” I think what I’m trying to say is that for me, taking photographs at a concert is never about coming to an event with a specific goal in mind or outcome to pursue. I have to immerse myself in the scene, really understand the vibe and the music, and from that the photos will come. The musical breakdown in this track makes me think of that epic moment of every show when the entire crowd jumps like a single body and the entire production goes off. Those are the moments I seek to photograph, and to capture them, one has to become part of that scene, whether in the DJ booth, press pit, or crowd itself. Not to mention having spent the summer on tour with Identity Festival, I got to work closely with Mr. Prydz and found his music and general demeanor quite inspiring.

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