Photographer captures where riffs meet rural life
TOOWOOMBA photographer Brandon Long captures a wide range of subjects, but it's his passion for picturesque rural landscapes one week and heavy metal music the next that's most striking.
Mr Long, who runs Watchdog Photography, enjoys photographing everything from sport, events and portraits to real estate, products and events, but finds the mix of rural and riffs intriguing.
"I find the two are more alike than people think. They're both unadulterated and wild," he said.
"There's also the artistic and mysterious elements to them - there's an art to growing a crop or crafting a heavy sound, and many people haven't experienced either one."
Mr Long said growing up in regional Australia with a taste for metal was uncommon, but there was a market for it.
"I spent my childhood in Rockhampton and my adulthood in Toowoomba, so I have an appreciation for the regional side of Australia," he said.
"We used to holiday at the Gemfields near Emerald.
"You'd chop your own wood, run everything off solar and go panning for gemstones.
"It was nice and peaceful.
"I've also been listening to metal since I was about 12, so that's something that has stuck with me too.
"Look at guys like Tim Price, who evolved Rockhampton's metal scene and now runs successful digital radio station The Faction out of Brisbane."
Mr Long said life was all about balance, which was why he could move from silos and horses to guitars and tattoos with ease.
"Sometimes life gets full-on, so you just want to head out and watch the birds and horses," he said.
"I grab my cameras, turn the radio off, put the windows down and find an interesting road to get lost on.
"Other times, I feel like I need a shock to the system and metal provides that.
"I take photos for a metal magazine based in Melbourne, so I get amazing opportunities to see touring artists and capture them."
Mr Long said while these passions were enjoyable, he acknowledged the other genres were the ones that paid the bills.
"If you're Steve Parish or someone like that, you can make a living off nature photography or concerts, but most photographers need a steady income and have a wide range of regular clients."
Mr Long heads out to the fringes of Toowoomba in his spare time to find the perfect landscapes, with some of his favourite spots being Wellcamp and Biddeston.
In the remaining spare time, he shoots concerts in Toowoomba and further afield.
One of his recent highlights locally was Hotter Than Hell at the showgrounds in January, featuring artists like Shihad, Killing Heidi and Spiderbait.
Most of his concert photography, however, is based in Brisbane because touring metal bands gravitate to capital cities.
His next assignment is one he is particularly looking forward to - shooting one of the first shows at Brisbane's new venue, Fortitude Music Hall, tomorrow night.
"UK metalcore band Architects are coming out and I've been following them for a while, so I'm excited for this one.
"They're supported by Polaris from Sydney, who I saw at Download Festival in March.
"They're really rising through the ranks."
Mr Long, 30, said he had wanted to be a photographer since he was in primary school, but never thought he'd be in the 'pit' just centimetres from his favourite artists.
"I remember going to my interview for high school when I was 12 and the deputy principal asked me what I wanted to be - I told him 'photographer'.
"You never really think you're going to end up shooting some of your favourite bands but then someone gives you a chance and everything changes."