Get to know Phoebe, a Brisbane based photographer, tea drinker, and queer activist.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
"I’m just your typical Brisbane-based history student with two life-consuming projects: Phoebe Le Brocque, a bisexual queer activist and cofounder of Here We Queer, and Phoebe Faye, a live music amateur photographer. I have a soft spot for Bluegrass music and I can’t go a day without 5+ cups of tea."
What is 'Here We Queer'?
"Here We Queer is a Brisbane based grassroots platform highlighting queer experiences. Through the volunteer work of myself, cofounder Tayla Lauren Ralph, and our team members we run free events in Brisbane and surrounding areas, and work collaboratively with emerging queer artists. We just celebrated our first birthday and launched our website. There will also be new content on our YouTube channel soon as we plan a whole new year of HWQ!"
How long have you been taking photos for? Do you remember the exact moment you wanted to become a photographer?
"Photography and I have had an off-on relationship. It’s a well-known secret that I don’t even own my camera (it’s on permanent-lease from my Dad). I studied two years of Film and TV back in high school, and when I first picked up the camera again (many years later) it was for the purpose of making short music clips for my musician friends, rather than photography. Naturally, I ended up experimenting more with both; it’s definitely an addictive hobby. It’s been only in the past year that I’ve become more comfortable sharing my photography. Recently I inherited an old camera from my Grandad so I’m looking forward to cutting my teeth on film!"
Tell us a little bit more about your creative work? What inspires you?
"It’s all about performance for me. I used to say live music, but a month ago I photographed some live Burlesque and it was phenomenal. Live performance has such an electric energy. Sometimes I wonder if my photography is more for myself, because when I review my photos I love being reminded of the warmth, joy, and delight of that moment.
I was the resident photographer of an event called Real Feels for a few months. Each gig featured emerging singer-songwriters so I had the chance to photograph really diverse musicians. It was a wonderful environment to engage with local performers and practice my live portraiture.
I’m inspired by musicians and other music photographers alike. My friend Tayla Lauren Ralph (@taylalaurenralph) has taught me a lot about editing. I also love her gorgeous compositions and minimalistic candids. I think other photographers, that I follow ardently for ticking all the boxes on colour, composition, and that something extra, are Millie Tang (@millietangportraits) and Samamtha Kiley (@samkmarie) Also, whoever is running the Instagram account for Suntory (@suntorywhisky) is right up there with my faves, that account is so damn aesthetically pleasing."
You curate your photographs in couplets. What is your reason behind this artistic decision?
"It started with struggling to narrow it down to one favourite pick. And two is better than one, right? When I pair my photos I feel that they are elevated. I try not to vary them too much - it’s not about juxtaposing, but complementing. Performance photography works so well in paired/triplet sets. It’s like a little glimpse into the real show. A little touch of movement. And I really like a little matchy-matchy."
What’s the live music scene like in Brisbane these days?
"The Brisbane music scene is 100% delivering. If you’re not careful, you’ll miss out on phenomenal gigs every week. There’s a lot of amazing bands and artists, and heaps of venues throw some great free shows.
If you’re a Brisbane kid and you need a place to start, check out Emerge on Phoenix Digital Radio every Monday night, which is all about our amazing local music. The Emerge boys also just dropped their Podcast, so you can catch gig reviews and interviews with emerging and established artists."
If Good Material comes to Brisbane, can you recommend us some bands to see?
"It’s near impossible to narrow it down but I think…. Hallie, is indie-pop with a phenomenal voice. Her new single Nice Like Rice is delicious. Also Hope D, who’s recent single gave me many emotional tingles. Mum’s Tennis Friends doesn’t have any music out yet but oh boy you’re going to want to be there when they drop the first single.
For a little variety: Sammm., moody tunes for a sad mood (and I’ve heard some new beats are coming soon.) Biology of Plants is a must if you enjoy a trip down experimental jazz cello-bass-drums-keyboard lane. And of course, from my photos: Chakra Efendi (I really enjoy moody songs) and San Mei (not technically a Brisbane band but she’s from the Sunshine state.)"
If there was one musician/band you could photograph, who would it be?
"If we were going off my dream list, I’d probably say my top music loves include Montaigne, Hayley Kiyoko, and Eliza and the Delusionals. Montaigne in particular knows how to move on stage and delivers the most sensational live show.
After my Burlesque taster a few weeks ago I’d also love to get into more performance-style photography. Drag, Burlesque, and circus would be a whole new very exciting game!"
Where do you see your creative work going in the next few years?
"I’ve had a small retirement plan for the last month to pick up embroidery when my Honours thesis is over, so maybe I’ll start making a little bit of textual art soon. My craving for film photography has been strong for a while. I feel a little nervous, because I’ve been sometimes too reliant on digital, so I may need to start taking notes from my film-photography friends, but I can’t wait to experiment and let my style develop. I’m not one for imposing limits on myself, so I suppose we’ll just have to see what happens."
Cover photo by Tayla Lauren Ralph.