Brussels based french photographer Martin Gallone talks about documenting the belgian music scene and his very first photography gig in a circus
We’ve always been into rap music, and lately the belgian rap scene has exploded with young talents that are paving the way for an amazing scene in Brussels. A bunch of independent minds who put their energy in doing what they love. We asked a few questions from the Straussphère's co-founder, Martin Gallone, who’s been there since this landslide's beginning, front row, or literally on stage, to immortalise the rise of a new Brussels’ hiphop scene.
Tell me a little bit about what drew you towards photography?
I started taking photos when I still lived in Marseille, I was studying accounting and finance, which was boring, I didn’t like it, so when I got a camera I started taking photos. Once I did an accounting internship in a circus, but I ended up just taking photos during the internship, and after that I stayed there as a photographer, it was a pure concidence. That’s when I realised photography was what I wanted to do, and I came to Brussels.
Is photographing the music scene something you always wanted to do or was it something else that got you there?
No, it was never really a goal of mine, it was a lot of small factors that added up. I started doing it in 2016, when we started to put together Straussphere with Nicolas Catalano, a collective that documents Belgian rap. We started following Romeo Elvis and Le Motel on their tour, and since then they have been a big part of my work.
What is it that you like about photographing live performance and behind-the-scenes ?
I really like to show the things that you don’t usually see of the artist. Because in the rap scene, or in the art and music scene in general, at one point there’s a degree of fame that’s involved, so there’s always an image the artists want to show to the outside, especially in rap, where they’re always representing a certain image, so it’s interesting to show the other side of things. And being in concerts, even though it’s not us (photographers) that are actually on stage, or we are little bit because we’re taking pictures, but we still feel the same thrill, the excitement that’s present. When the 45 minutes or so are over, it’s always so intense. It’s a great feeling. And it’s true that whenever I don’t get that for a while, I miss that feeling. It’s incredible.
Now that their tour is over and you got the fanzine “rapjeu” out, will you continue photographing rap or do you want to do something else?
It’s a project that continues sort of undefined, I’ll keep following them and in the end that’s what’s really interesting, to see the evolution from where we started, from really small stages and now to see where they are, that they’ve come so far, filling up huge places. And also making music videos is really interesting. I’m currently making two videos for Romeo, I keep making mostly still images but video is a different system. I plan to maybe do an exhibition in France with the photos from the two last years with them. We have a lot of material so we’re also planning to do a documentary.