It wasn't long ago that live music shots were, while certainly appreciated by the bands, just a nice nuance for local musicians to get. With online socializing skyrocketing, photography as well as video have become crucial tools for a band at any level. We're lucky to have a pretty good gaggle of sharp eyes and quick trigger fingers in DFW, who not only have the knack for capturing a bands' finest live moments, but who are willing to do so mostly in the hopes of promoting their own local talent: the visual arts. It can't be done on a damn smartphone. You have to have good gear and a heart for live music that's hardwired to your reflexes.
You've seen a few gifted photogs pop up in this column: James Villa, Brian Ullrich, Mike Brooks. Some relatively new blood, however, to this talent pool is Fabien Castro. A recent transplant from Mexico and a musician himself, Castro has the eye and the feel to grab something that can move an interested local music fan emotionally with an image. Castro works humbly, with stealth and a grateful smile.
What brought you up to DFW from Mexico?
I was working at an American company down there and I got invited to come work in the headquarters here in Dallas. In 2008 I had to leave everything behind: family, friends and my band. I miss them like crazy everyday but I'm in love with this new life I have here!
You played in a band in Mexico?
In Mexico, I used to play drums in a post punk band called Cyteres, so I could see how difficult is to be in the music!
Photography is also your day job as well, correct?
I travel a lot around the world shooting events and people for the company I work for, and I love to get connected with local artists as much as I can, and it's really interesting to see how the music scene is different in Hong Kong, Korea, Russia, Amsterdam, France, England, also in New York, L.A. and Dallas, but I think that at the end of the day the bands around the world want the same thing...to share their music and do it in the best possible way. I love the idea of contributing to make them look as great as they look to me when I see them playing, you know? I want to show the vibe and the energy they project while on stage!
Where did photography come into play?
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When I was a little kid I used to photograph Thundercats and Masters of the Universe with my 110 camera...you know, set up them in the living room and shoot from different angles. Loved it. Then it was not until college when I got my first film Nikon FE10 and started learning the real stuff and my sister used to cover some events for a magazine in Mexico. That was around 1999, so she was writing about the concerts and I went to photograph bands with her. I shot for London After Midnight, Lacrimosa, Voltaire, The Gathering and some others and I just fall in love with that! Tell us about how your music and photography interests merged.
Well, while playing in my band in Mexico, I used to bring my camera with me to the gigs. I used to shoot from the drums and I was always thinking how cool it would be that I could shoot my own band. And actually I did that last February, I went to see them and I took photos of them, that was cool. In Dallas I play sometimes in a project that is called Zionaura. Not as much as I wish but that is good in one [way], because photography is very jealous. If I don't shoot enough during the week, I start feeling bad...like Renton in Trainspotting when he tries to stop getting high!
Hahaha. Who are some of your favorite DFW artists?
Well, I love Watusi, Bum Lucky, Marquis of Vaudeville, Southern Train Gypsy, Ending the Vice Circle, Graceland Ninjaz, Arm tha Homless, Pearl Gem, Kill'em All, The Virgin Wolves, Le Cure, Skarmas, Pillar of Zion... not only because the music, but also because they have support my work and I couldn't be more happy about it.
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How about photog heroes? Have any?
I love a lot of photographers like Loretta Lux, Annie Leibovitz, Max Vadukul, but my favorite ever is Anton Corbjin, you know, he directed the movie Control. That's not just a movie..it's like two hours of music and photos telling Ian Curtis' story! Just amazing!