An interview with Lindsey Byrnes

When Lindsey Byrnes said she was interested in contributing to AfterEllen.com, we were thrilled. Lindsey is an accomplished photographer with years of editorial experience, having worked on the staff of publications like Thrasher and Juxtapoz. More recently, she’s been behind the band and skate photography in a Vans’ book, Off the Wall: Stories of the Sole and Tegan and Sara‘s three-book series On, In, At


Photo by Mel Barlow

Lindsey has shot behind-the-scenes photos of the duo as well as photographing actors like Alia Shawkat and artists like B.O.B., Joan Jett, Margaret Cho, Holly Miranda, Uh Huh Her, Girl in a Coma, An Horse and Hesta Prynn. In other words, she has likely shot one of your favorite artists and created one of your most loved photos of them.

Lindsey took the time to answer some questions about her life as a photographer in L.A. and upcoming projects, including a hopeful future in talk shows.

AfterEllen.com: How did you become interested in photography?
Lindsey Byrnes:
I’d say, I have always been interested in photography, even when I didn’t know it. I have always loved reading magazines more than books and I was the one in my family who was obsessed with all of our family photos. Always making photo albums and taking pictures of my friends.

When I play the “what if game” and wonder what is the one thing that I would save if my house burned down, the answer has always been photos. I’ve always felt that photos are the only things that are irreplaceable. But maybe I’m just looking for a foreshadowing that wasn’t really there.

I really got interested in photography in 2000. I was working at High Speed Productions, Inc. the publishers of Thrasher, Slap and Juxtapoz magazines. They bought me a Yoshica T4, a point and shoot that I still use today. I was in charge of the events and wanted to document them, so we could promote the events in the magazines after the fact. I always had that camera with me.


Photo by Mel Barlow

One day, I was at home and was watching the making of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and they were interviewing Terry Richardson. He had the same camera and was talking about how it is not about the equipment as much is it is about a person’s eye. I started looking at my photographs differently after that. Even though I was on the marketing side of things, my job was very creative and the people I worked with were so creative that there was a lot of room to mix the two together. The editorial staff was open to me contributing.

One day I went and shot a band playing live and that was it, I caught the bug. I started asking the staff photographers more about their cameras and techniques. And when they actually published my work, well that feeling was so good that I kept doing it.

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