From Heavy Metal Concerts to the Classroom!

Attending heavy metal music festivals and teaching at a girls’ Catholic school. You wouldn’t normally associate the two, but for Jessica Ieritano, it makes perfect sense. We guess it goes without saying, never judge a book by its cover…

Outside her role as a Media, Digital Technologies & Humanities teacher here at Santa Maria College, Jessica has found huge success in pursuing her passion for live music photography.

It all started back in 2015, when Jessica made the executive decision to combine her love for music and photography, by taking her camera down to a local heavy metal festival in Perth.

“This was my first time shooting live music. Although I was quite happy with the photos I produced, I knew that deep down I still had a lot to learn.”, says Jessica.

After the show, she created a Facebook page for herself, uploading her photo gallery, going by the name of JV Photo & Film. Jessica continued to grind, building up her portfolio, before approaching music media publications with the hope of being able to photograph more prominent national and international touring acts.

“Fast forward seven years later, and I’ve had the pleasure of working for numerous Australian media outlets, as well as independently under JV Photo & Film. I’ve developed my own clientele, photographed countless national and international bands, and worked with the ARIA Awards red carpet”, says Jessica.

“I’ve even travelled over east to photograph festivals, hosted my very own photo exhibition, and have been selected as a finalist in various music photography competitions”, adds Jessica.

We asked Jessica what her favourite concert has been to photograph to date. Although a particularly tough question, she managed to narrow it down to just a few!

Jess states, “Firstly, Download Festival Australia 2019, Sydney. With approximately 30,000 festivalgoers in attendance, this was the first large-scale music festival I had worked at, and it was such an awesome experience… A long 12-hour day, shooting 16 bands, which included some of the world’s biggest heavy metal acts”. 

She continues, “In June this year, I had the opportunity to fly to Hobart, Tasmania to take photos at a concert as part of the city’s annual Dark Mofo Festival. Swedish band Katatonia was the headliner act, and I was provided with the opportunity to be their photographer for the evening. It was such a fun experience being able to take photos from the photo pit, side stage during their performance, as well as getting up on stage with the band at the end to take a photo of them with the crowd!”

In September just passed, Jessica had the privilege of photographing one of the biggest rock and roll bands of all time, KISS!

“A general rule in concert photography is that press photographers are only allowed to take photos of the first two to three songs, however for KISS there were just so many memorable moments to capture in that short amount of time. They put on an incredible show filled with theatrics, fireworks and of pyrotechnics which was all on display from the moment they hit the stage.”, adds Jessica.

By working as a photographer in the media industry, Jessica transfers so much of her knowledge and experience into the classroom.

In a world where technology is constantly automated and robotic, Jessica offers her students the opportunity to stay alert, active, and in control of their creativity when they are behind the camera.

Jessica says, “While this might sound like a cliché, I love being able to make a positive impact on my students. Through my passion for media and photography, I hope to inspire my students to love learning and, more importantly, to believe that they can learn and utilise their creativity to produce wonderful pieces of work. There’s nothing better than seeing that lightbulb moment when you notice a student grasping a new skill or concept for the first time and then watching them flourish.”

Jessica attributes her passion for teaching to her amazing high-school experience. She had some fantastic teachers who inspired her in her final senior years.

So, you may be wondering, what does the future hold for Jessica?

She explains, “Right now, I am very content with where I am in life. While I do like to plan and think ahead, my life experiences have taught me that not everything goes to plan – and that’s OK!”.

I think we can all agree that this is an amazing outlook to have, especially in a world that is constantly evolving and ever-changing.

Thanks for taking the time to sit down and chat with us, Jess! We’re excited to see some more incredible snaps in the future. 

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