a phone conversation between Austin Roa & Connor Feimster, recorded July 31st, 2018
Connor Feimster is a tour photographer for The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, mewithoutYou, and Like Pacific. He currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is also a Content Creator for Shoot on Tour, someone we are very honored to represent.
AUSTIN: Alright. Try to say something.
CONNOR: Uhh. It's fucking hot out today. Shit.
A: *Laughs* Ok. That works.
C: *More laughter*
A: *Still giggling* Could you go ahead and let everyone know your name and who you are?
C: I'm Connor Feimster, I'm 26-years-old, I live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, south Philly to be exact, I'm a photographer, tour manager, merch manager, social media manager... I do a ton of shit.
A: Perfect. So one thing I want to point out is that, you actually submitted the first day we launched, which was less than a week ago!
C: Oh dope ok!
A: And one thing I noticed was you had said you had primarily done work for The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die and I was like, "Oh my God!!" I was so surprised, I couldn't believe it. I love those guys! I immediately told Justin too, I was like "dudedudedude, go check this email out!!"
A: Yeah Justin and I are into the "emo" scene I guess, we love that music.
C: Yeah sure!
A: Anyway, yeah! Could you tell us a little bit about how you met them? How you started working with them?
C: Right right yeah! So, people who know them know they're a band that is originally from Connecticut. Four of them ended up moving to Philadelphia. I was Facebook friends with a couple of them. We had never really met, but we were all friends with friends. And I just randomly hit them up one day, because at the time I was working in retail in full-time. You know, it's funny. It's weird to think that people who do show photography, or any music photography in general, know that the end game for them, or the end game for almost all of us, is to get on tour.
TWIABP - slammed by Connor Feimster
A: Yeah! It's funny how that works out.
C: It's not as glamorous as people think it is.
C: What I want to do is work steadily in Philly. I love my shower.
C: I love being home with my husband.
C: Obviously when I started, I was like, "yeah, tour is the dream, it's the end game, whatever." And at the time, I was working full-time in retail, and I was fed up with it. I was like, "I need to get my foot in the door somehow," and do something different than the last four years of what I've been doing. So, I hit up one of them [The World Is...] because they just announced their first set of shows after, almost a two year break.
C: They had gone through a major line-up change. They were trying to get their feet in the water, again. After being a band for almost, seven or eight years at the time, they felt like they had to re-start. And I thought that working with them for just those set of shows off just per-diem (PD) would be a good way to start off! Because it was only about five shows.
C: They were all east coast shows, so I was like, "look. Just pay me PD's and I'll work with you for however long it takes." And we kinda just built our relationship from there. And at the time, I thought I was just going to take photos. But I realized they didn't have a merch person. So I was like, "do you need someone to sell your stuff for you?" And they said, "you know what? We need all the hands we can get because we're kind of starting from scratch again."
A: Yeah yeah.
C: So I ended up doing those shows for them. And then another set of shows in March. And then we did another weekend here. And then we did a two-weeker there. And then we did a full US. So, it kinda just went from there. They're some of my best friends now.
A: I like that. That's interesting how that all worked out. And I understand how if you end up spending 24 hours of the day with a band, that by the end of it, you all just end up becoming best friends. It really does turn into something beautiful.
C: Yeah! It's comforting to know that I have them as best friends, but also that I have them as work whenever they tour! *Laughs*
A: Dude, yeah! Exactly. Umm. I'd like to go a little back to the conversation about how... well. You know I feel like most photographers think that, touring is just this complete glamorous life, which you know, It definitely can be, but.
C: No, yeah! Totally. But it is a job. It's definitely work. It is work first and foremost, and it is VERY tiring. I rarely ever get sleep, because the last couple tours I did with The World Is, we basically drove the majority of the whole fucking time.
C: It's exhausting.
A: It's crazy! And it's just part of it. It's part of the game. It's so much work.
A: And for the most part, you have to wear more than one hat, because you know bands are on a budget. Yes, they want someone who can shoot photos. But, they need someone who can sell merch first, who can help move things and carry stuff and essentially be part of the crew.
C: Yeah exactly. And you know, there are a ton of bands who... do tours successfully, but JUST end up breaking even.
A: Yeah yeah.
C: And that's when it's just them, and they don't have a crew. In fact, it's incredibly rare for a band to hire someone JUST for photography. Before any kind of band outreach, merch comes first, usually. And honestly with the amount of work I've done, photos have become secondary, and sometimes even tertiary. If you wanna make money in this industry, the money is in merch.
A: Yeah man, a majority of bands really do make their money from selling merch on the road and selling tickets.
C: Yeah, absolutely.
A: It's tough. But it is good that we're talking about this.
mewithYou / Like Pacific - slammed by Connor Feimster
Connor and I proceeded to get off topic for about 20 minutes. We circled back.
A: I'm trying to think of what else we can talk about, cause I want to keep this whole interview conversation thing somewhat short.
C: Oh! You wanted me to touch on some of the jobs I have done, or have gotten.
A: Oh right! Yeah, I really wanted to hear your experience, I wanted somebody else's voice.
A: That's another part of it too. I wanna be able to share people's voice on this site. Their stories. Things they've going through. And basically try to understand if, if tour photographers on the east coast are going through the same shit as tour photographers on the west coast? Or what about the kids in the mid-west? I don't know. This is all really cool for me to hear.
C: It's a very small community. So it's not surprising that all of these people in this community probably know each other. And I hope you get more people to talk to you. Like, I've only been doing this professionally for about two years, and it's still a learning process for me.
A: Yeah man, yeah. And like, going back to the submissions we've been getting and this community. The submissions we've been receiving have been unreal. Everyone is so talented. It's here. It's there. And that's what makes it so beautiful, but also so competitive at the same time.
C: Yeah definitely.
A: Yeah, you know, we are a community. We are small. But we do have a presence.
A: Well sick man! Is there anything you'd like to say for anyone who might be reading this? Any words of advice?
C: If it's any recollection to anyone, I didn't get to where I am in a "professional sense" until I had already been trying for four years. So... I sincerely hope it takes you less time, but please, keep trying. It's not impossible. There are people out there who will value you and your work, and... you just have to find them, figure out where you lie in that realm, and make it your own. Just keep doing it. That's all you can really do. Just keep doing it.
A: Mmm. You couldn't have said it any better. That was perfect.