The Girl That Shoots Bands

Maysa Aksar is living her dream, capturing memories forever on her camera. From live concerts to creative portraits, she is making her mark on the music scene.

April 14, 2014

The sound cuts out suddenly, at the same time the lights drop, the room going pitch black. Slowly the stage lights turn on and a single chord rings throughout the air. Dark shapes are spreading onto the stage and the large mass of energy from the crowd behind can be felt even in the photo pit.

Suddenly screams erupt out loud as the stage lights turn back on, illuminating the people comfortable standing on the large platform. She brings up her camera and looks through the lens, finger hovering over the shutter release. This is what she lives for.

Twenty-one year-old Maysa Aksar is living her dream, capturing memories forever on her camera. From live concerts to creative portraits, she is making her mark on the music scene.

“I love how photography captures memories,” said the young photographer. Askar values what a photograph can do with critical moments in a person’s life. Everyone goes through changes and looking back on strong memories that are shown in a photo reminds people of how far they have come and how much they have grown.

“I thought that it was so cool that she [Jac Vanek] was able to personally work with all these bands I looked up to,” said Askar, “and knew that’s exactly what I wanted to do in the future”. The photographer spent her whole freshman year of high school saving for a Canon Rebel XT and spent the next three years building her portfolio.

I love how photography captures memories,”

— Askar said.

With two years of professional photography under her belt and seven and a half of experience, Askar is well suited for any situation. The self-taught photographer experimented with different lighting during her high-school years in order to further her knowledge, and upon attending college, graduated with an AS degree in Photography. At college she learned the small, but crucial, parts of studio lighting, printing and post-production.

But school wasn’t the only help Aksar had in developing her photography skills. Both photographers Chris Martin and Adam Elmakias gave the young photographer tips, although the settings of both interactions were quite different.

While Askar met Martin at local shows, and was shown how to shoot in low light, Elmakias was a different story.

“I remember anonymously messaging him over Tumblr® about photo-related questions because I was so nervous that he would say ‘this question is stupid’ or ‘you know there’s a thing called Google, right?’,” said Askar. The photography community, especially in the music scene, is close knit and both Elmakias and Askar bump into each other at concerts while photographing.

By far, the young photographer’s favorite setting to shoot in is outdoor venues. With festivals creating unique and interesting photos with the few lights but well lit setting in general, it’s ‘“having the best of both worlds”.

The one drawback to being a well-known photographer is the removal of credit on a photo, but Askar is not letting that stop her. The potential for positive feedback, despite the lack of acknowledgment is what keeps the young photographer going.

“I think the best thing when you’re given no credit is receiving messages back to back saying ‘so and so posted your photo today!’,” said Askar. These photos usually being cropped to not show the watermark being used by photographers. This just indicating how memorable Askar’s photos are.

Photography is a competitive field, but those who can implement their shooting as well as editing, excel.

Bert McCracken from the band The Used.
Maysa Askar
Bert McCracken from the band The Used.

“There’s that common saying now that ‘everyone is a photographer these days’, and that is completely true,” said Askar. While everyone who uses a camera thinks they are a photographer, there are few talented individuals who flourish in this field and make a living out of it. Askar being one of them.

From all her years of photography and experience, she has gathered many different views and pieces of advice.

“Try to accept all styles of art and accept any advice given by older mentors that have went through it all,” Askar said, “People become obsessed with these artists that have a huge following on social media and don’t give a chance to these hidden artists that have mind-blowing work. They can become inspirations and may help improve your work in the future.”

**Photographs used by permission of Maysa Askar


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