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Classic vs. Evergreen – By Robert Rose
Recently we chatted with Patrick Stevenson of popular photography collective Hobo and asked him a few questions about his photography career, his role as an influencer and his experiences when collaborating with brands.
Hobo started as online photography hub before the birth of Instagram, with the goal of capturing Sydney’s nightlife and music scene. Since then, the site and its photographers have expanded their content into almost every social media platform available, and now they are known for producing some of the most iconic images Sydneysiders have known in the last few years.
Their Facebook page has garnered almost 10,000 likes, and Patrick’s Instagram page now boasts over 8,000 followers. The Hobo’s website remains their centrepiece, with expansive albums cataloguing music, culture and fashion.
Here’s what Pat had to say about his career so far and his pivotal role showcasing Sydney’s music and nightlife culture.
I have been working as a professional photographer since 2007, when I met the guys at Hobo.
I used to shoot in clubs four nights a week, and we used to party together. I loved all their work, and they eventually brought me on board to shoot Good Vibrations Festival in Sydney. I started working with them more and more after that.
Instagram didn’t exist back then, so we used to share our images via our website www.hobogestapo.com and we also had a tumblr. MySpace was also a big thing back then.
Then, Instagram came along, as well as Vine, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook. Instagram is still a great way to share images to mobile users very quickly and easily.
We built most of our fan base at the beginning by going out and actually getting amongst all the gigs, events and concerts 4-5 days a week. We were at every single decent party worth attending. It also helped that we were alcoholics and could drink anyone under the table.
Our goals at the beginning were to eventually get paid to take photos. That took a while, but I managed to leave my full-time job at a clothes store in 2009 and I’ve been surviving off photography and DJing ever since then.
We never wanted to make a huge amount of money or to be the best in the game, but we worked and worked and worked and kept trying to innovate and do things differently to everyone else out there.
We were trying to provide a unique product in a market which was getting flooded. With imagery from smart phones popping up everywhere, we wanted our shots to look unique.
Working with lots of Australia’s finest musical artists has given us a great platform to push our work out there. A lot of people may already know our work because a lot of music artists love sharing our photos.
We went through a phase around 4 years ago where Alex (one of the original founders) dropped out of Hobo. He moved to NYC and pursued his own thing over there.
Then Wes left Hobo to do his own thing (Wes was the other original member). Then we lost Andy Vermuelen as he followed a career in coding. Then we lost Thomas Walk, who now does all the photography at Deus Ex Machine.
I am the only photographer who has been around since the beginning. It got pretty tough when they all left, as we had to find our feet again and who we were. We now boast a really strong bunch of guys and girls who are super talented, and I love them all.
We’ve had some really strange brand collabs, and of course we did it to put food on the table.
I remember 5GUM approached us with a weird concept, and we ended up each shooting a different flavour. So, we all shot with different colour themes. It ended up pretty rad.
We did a lot of work with luxury fashion label Hermes. I loved working with them, as it was completely different to everything else we’ve done, and it made me learn to shoot things differently.
Brands: don’t force the influencer to get into a field that’s too far from the artist’s core vibe. It will just end weirdly.
Influencers: know your aesthetic, keep working away at it and you will eventually get noticed.
Be super critical of your own work, go over it and over it again. Then when you think you’re happy with it, walk away then come back to it with fresh eyes.
You’re only as strong as your weakest link, and you’re always judged by your worst work.
To keep on working on my art, to get better at responding to emails more quickly.
To not get distracted by playing video games, to do my tax from 2 years ago.
To be a better human and lover.
To call my mum more often.
All images by Pat Stevenson of Hobo.