This month meet our wonderful artist Manja, known on the board as LeeLu.1.What can you tell us about yourself?
My name is Manja and I am a media production student. I live in the capitol of a small, central-european country.
I am a very organized person who likes piercings, tattoos, polka dots and photography. Oh, and cats. Fluffy cats.2.What first drew you to Placebo?
I stil remember that day when I first saw Placebo on tv. It was just an ordinary weekend years ago and I was ironing some clothes while listening to one of the music channels on television (I always listen to music while doing anything related to housework, otherwise I get bored way too easy. Maybe I should add that I am a lousy housewife at the first question). They had Placebo weekend, so their music, interviews etc. was playing non stop, but I didn't really notice them until there was a video of that awesome song – The Bitter End. Back then I was into a totally different style of music, I mostly listened to rap, but that song sounded amazing and I was quite stunned by Mr. Steve Hewitt, who was the drummer at the time. Later that day I did some searching on the internet, listened to few other songs, but at that moment nothing sounded as good to me as The Bitter End did. So I soon forgot about them.
I re-discovered the band a year or so before the Battle For The Sun album. I got myself all of their records and although it was The Bitter End that was so special to me the first time (and it still is), there were other songs that really got me hooked – like Pure Morning, Twenty Years and Space Monkey.
So I can say that I have become a true fan right before the BFTS era.3.Can you walk us through your artistic process?
I work mainly as a concert photographer, so my artistic process is more or less the same regardless of the artist I am photographing or the venue where the event is.
Before the concert I always take some time to watch few of the band's live shows videos. This way I see the main positions of band members, how they move on stage and if they have any significant/signature moves that I must be aware of and cannot be missed.
A few hours before I leave the house I check my photo equipment and I pack everything up. I use Nikon D90 and although I own four lenses (Nikkor 18-105mm f/2.8, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8, Tokina 28-70mm f/3.5 and another Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 which is from the analog photography times and it requires manual focusing), I usally take only the 50mm. I love the results with it and it's quite good in bad lightning conditions, so it became my most used lens.
During the concert I usually take between 150-300 photos, depends on lighting conditions. The better the light is, less pictures I need and other way around. There are of course exceptions; like the time I had an honor of taking pictures of Body/Head with Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon. I think I made somewhere around 1100 photos that night, not because I needed that much, but because she is gorgeous and I am a bit of a stalker and can now drool at her photos from time to time.
After the event come approximately 3 to 4 hours of postproduction. I shoot only in RAW so there's quite some work in editing. When I'm done with that I send the photos to my editor at Studentarija.net and my work for the day is done.4.Do you gain any inspiration for your artwork from Placebo’s music?
I would lie if I say that I do. Music in general is hardly any inspiration to me (just in terms of doing photography), because I find it quite distracting. When I began shooting I had this little ritual before going on gig with one of the God Is An Astronaut songs called Age of The Fifth Sun. It is a song that always lifts me up and gives me the energy, so I thought it would be great listening to it before work. Well, it wasn't a good idea. During the concert I wasn't focused as much as I should have been, because the song kept replaying in my mind, I started thinking about everything else but the band on stage and it was a huge distraction. So I stopped doing that.
My inspiration are great photos of other concert photographers from whom I can learn. But although Placebo music don't inspire me to make photos I must admit my heart does skip a beat when I see a great photo of Brian. Preferably all sweaty, of course.5.Have you ever been involved with any other fandom?
No. I did participate in some other forums, but I only really feel at home with Placebo fans family.6.What effect do comments have on you and/or your artwork?
Maybe it sounds strange, but I really do appreciate negative critisism a lot more than a ton of nice words. Of course it's very nice to hear that someone took their time to look at your work and wrote down or said a few nice words and it is a good feeling knowing people recognize your work as good. But when someone gives me a well argumented criticism it means to me as an artist that I have some directions to evolve, to grow and become better.
That does not mean I am not thankful for all the nice words. Those are the ones that bring a smile on my face, but justified criticism helps me learn from my mistakes.7.Do you have any message for your readers?
Remember – always eat your vegetables! :D8.Anything else you’d like to share about art, Placebo, or PFWW?
I would be very greatful if you could stop here
once in a while and check out my latest work.
Manja would like to highlight the following photographs: (also check out her thread here.