A photographer’s daughter, Chiara Gerek learned her craft by borrowing her mom’s Nikon camera when she wasn’t looking. “However, my true love for photography and the moving image took off when I got into scuba diving. I am fascinated with the underwater world — mystified by the patterns and colors found under the surface unlike anything seen on land,” she explains. “With some of the harshest lighting conditions it was a daily artistic challenge to figure out ways to photograph my subjects.” She’s also a concert photographer.
1) How did you first get into photography/videography, and how’d you learn what to do?
Growing up my mom was the photographer of the house and I learned from borrowing her Nikon camera when she wasn’t looking. I taught myself the basics from trial and error and developed a passion for capturing landscapes in front of me. However my true love for photography and the moving image took off when I got into scuba diving. I am fascinated with the underwater world, mystified by the patterns and colors found under the surface unlike anything seen on land. I worked as a diving instructor in the Caribbean for some time and that’s where I had ample time to capture the thriving ecosystems I saw on my myriad of dives. With some of the harshest lighting conditions, it was an daily artistic challenge to figure out ways to photograph my subjects.
2) What drew you to predominantly working with artists in dance music?
The music! In high school and freshman year of college I was always sneaking my camera into concerts, photoshopping fake photo passes and getting very good at disguising my camera before diving headfirst into the world of concert photography. I have always seen music visually and quickly became infatuated with the lighting design and seamless integration of visuals to an artist’s performance on stage. The production used in dance music shows deserves to be put in a category all on its own with thousands of dollars being put towards hundreds of lights, LED boards, visual DJs and a myriad of other techniques for each show to enhance the fans’ experience.
3) What other photographers/videographers do you admire?
Ah, the list is endless! Directors Fleur & Manu have created some of my favorite music videos that continue to inspire me daily and remind me of the films that I want to create. Hiro Murai is another huge inspiration of mine, a director with flawless cinematography and ideas that are out of a rabbit hole sort of daydream. I look up to directors who jump out of the cookie cutter mold and let their imaginations run free; something that is extremely difficult with tight client budgets and behind the scenes pressures from management and many of the other people involved in a music video. I am inspired daily by the people around me in Brooklyn and my friends who are putting out fantastic work, continually evolving as artists.
4) You’ve toured with several artists. What’s your favorite place you’ve ever traveled to?
My favorite place that I have traveled to with an artist on tour is hands down Indio, California, for the Coachella Music Festival. It was the first festival I was brought to by an artist and it has easily remained my favorite for an endless list of reasons. The polo grounds are transformed into a musical playground where for three days visitors are fully immersed in a multifaceted art experience, surrounded by some of the most talented musicians in the world while under the California sun.
5) Fill in the blanks: My most prized possession is a photo of my dad and I sitting on a hammock from when I was a kid because it is one of my earliest and most treasured memories.
6) If you could ask anyone to create a kit about anything, who would it be and why?
One of the main reasons I love Kit so much is because it provides a platform for artists and people of all sorts of passions to open up about their daily lives and the tools that facilitate their work processes in a very easy going and casual manner. I would love to learn from the Coen Brothers and see their daily tools used in their creative process that have allowed them to direct and edit their masterpieces such as “No Country For Old Men.” The two directors have some of the most eclectic and genre-bending films, not to mention are four-time Academy Award winning artists.
7) Name three things you carry around with you everyday and why.
- LaCie Rugged hard drive. It has an orange rubber outer casing that has protected my hard drives without fail for years (knock on wood). I try to have all my recent projects with me at all times because I am constantly traveling and moving, always finding myself working out of cafes and airports.
- A small notebook — inspiration hits me at the strangest of times usually on the subway or watching friends interact and having the ability to draw out my ideas is much more beneficial than using a smartphone.
- Headphones — most of my inspiration comes from music so I never want to go a day without it.
8) Show us your emoji!
Be sure to follow Chiara on Kit, where she’s already shared her essential filmmaking tools.