An interview with Lindsey Byrnes


AE: When did you decide to make it your profession?
It has been a very long process. But in the end, I think it chose me. I never thought to make a career out of photography. OK, that’s a lie — of course I thought about it but not until I already had a decent body of work and experience. The funny thing is that I have been working towards a career in photography for many years and wasn’t conscious of it. I was just shooting and learning.

A few years back I was going through a transitional period and was asking myself a lot of questions. What do I want to do? Am I on the right path? You know those types of things. My friend Jen knew how interested in photography I was and introduced me to a very talented photographer named Mel Barlow. I started helping her out here and there and we became very close friends. She is a true inspiration!

While that was happening, I got a job offer to photo edit the Vans book, Off the Wall Stories of Sole. I was just like "Ah, OK, I guess this is what I am supposed to be doing now." It just seemed that I was on the right path. That led into the Tegan and Sara books.

AE: What can you share about the Vans book you’ve worked on?
The Vans book project was an amazing experience. The author, Doug Palladini, and I were acquainted through my time at Thrasher and when he asked me to photo edit the Vans book, I was honored.

Vans is a very well established brand with such a long history. I was able to work with some amazing photographers. I have a lot of licensing experience — mainly licensing music to use in skateboard videos/cd compilations — and I was able to put those skills to use but this time with photographers. It was so rad to call up these great talents and be like “Hey, I want to use your shots and pay you for them in this really cool project!”

AE: What is the extent you work with Tegan and Sara?
I worked with Tegan and Sara from idea all the way to actual production of the books set. Really in every aspect, we all worked as a collective. It was seriously amazing. They both have so many great ideas and Emy [Storey], their art director is a genius. I can honestly say that it was one of the best working experiences of my life.

Tegan had the idea and they wanted someone who they knew and trusted to come on the road with them. I think when you get to a certain level giving someone access to document your daily life is a decision that has so many things to factor in, and trust is one of the big ones. As well as the idea that this person/photographer will be hanging out with you day in and day out.

The fact of the matter is that nobody likes getting their photo taken 24 hours a day, if at all. But Tegan and Sara wanted to show their audience what it was really like on the road all the moments — even the boring stuff. I joked halfway into it and wanted to call the book “waiting to live” because it was so amazing to me how much waiting and prep goes into that 90 minute performance. Being a touring musician is hard work and most of us only see the glamorous parts, we aren’t privy to the realities of life on the road. All the blood sweat and tears that goes in to that moment, the moment that Tegan and Sara as musicians live for, to play their songs for us.

It gave me such a different perspective. I really wanted to convey that through the books. Of course, there is still the element of imagination that we can build around one photograph, that glimpse into the real moment and that is also cool where video kind of gives you everything.

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