I first met Becky at Heartwork Coffee Bar in San Diego a few years ago when she, Justin Pearson, and their dog, Captain, stopped in for a cup of coffee. Since then I’ve seen her all over the place, shooting shows around Southern California and beyond, having her work featured in photo exhibits and online, and more recently, at several Black Lives Matter protests. I’ve always been blown away by her unique approach to imagery, and I was really excited to chat with her to kick off the brand new “Broken Glass” photographer interview series for Revelation Records. Read on to learn more about Becky DiGiglio.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I grew up in New Jersey (for 28 years), but for the last four years, I’ve lived in San Diego, CA.
What is your current gear setup for shooting shows?
As minimal as possible. I hate getting distracted during a show trying to change lenses in the middle of a set. Just my Sony mirrorless, 28-70mm lens, and Godox flash (if I’m allowed to use it), always.
Jon Syverson/DAUGHTERS @ SOMA, 2019
What compelled you to start shooting concerts or bands?
It seemed like a natural merging of my interests. I used to go to weekly punk shows at a local firehouse when I was 13, and carried a disposable camera with me to take pictures of my friends all the time long before that. In the summer of 2006, when I was 18, I had a crappy digital camera that I brought to two shows (very different): Pointless Fest in Philadelphia (crust punk vibe), and Sonic Youth/Flaming Lips at some random fairground in PA. I think it was a couple of the shots I got from those that made me think that I was okay at taking pictures of live music.
Have you had any standout experiences from shooting shows or bands? Anything memorable you're stoked (or not stoked) about?
Almost every good thing in my life can be somehow tied to music and the people I’ve met from it. I’ve shot a whole lot of shows since I started taking a few photos of bands here and there for fun around 2006, so it’s hard to pick the best experiences.
One of the more recent moments was arranging to shoot a group photo of The Locust and Devo before their set at Desert Daze. I was nervous to do it because Devo is insanely influential to me, and probably to most of the musicians I enjoy. Perfect fucking band. And of course, I love everyone in The Locust, they are all amazing humans/insects.
DEVO x LOCUST @ Desert Daze, 2019
In general, I am stoked on the community of photographers I meet and work alongside. With extremely few exceptions, everyone is kind and welcoming and encouraging of one another. Would always love to see even more women and BIPOC shooting and just generally being a part of hardcore and punk. Sometimes I look out and see a sea of white dudes, and that can be a bummer. But I think that’s changing a lot, and I think the responsibility also lays on me to continue to diversify the shows I attend and shoot.
Are there any photographers you look up to, admire, or draw inspiration from?
A whole lot of photographers right now are doing awesome stuff that inspires me daily. I think the two OGs for me are Glen E. Friedman and Edward Colver, though.
If you could go back in time and give yourself any advice about shooting shows when you were first starting out, what would it be?
Go to even more of them, because you’re gonna miss it when the pandemic hits and you can’t anymore.
Buzz Osborne/MELVINS @ Casbah San Diego, 2020
What other styles of photography do you enjoy shooting?
I could shoot almost anything and find something enjoyable about it. I was really into shooting abandoned spots for a while; I still enjoy that, but it’s not as common in Southern California, unless you go out into the desert. In NJ/NY/PA there were abandoned psych wards and other weird places to explore all over. I’m not a huge fan of shooting scenic landscapes, something about it bores me-- which is unfortunate, since California has a lot of that. I think I generally like capturing people now, and prefer for it to be candid. I also find covering activism in any form to be very important to me; it feels meaningful.
Los Angeles City Hall, June 2020
What do you do for a day job?
I work at the local community college in Continuing Education, with adult students with disabilities. I support them so they can get through their classes and, in many cases, get their high school diplomas. It has really broadened my perspectives and taught me empathy, working with and teaching people from virtually all walks of life who are determined and thankful for an education that they missed out on as children, be it directly because of their disability, from incarceration, addiction, becoming unhoused, having kids at a young age, or countless other reasons that can get in the way of one’s plans. I think my day job is actually a lot more punk than shooting hardcore shows in some ways, if I’m being honest.
Who are some of your favorite Rev bands that you’ve shot?
In the not-too-distant past (which actually feels like an eternity now) I saw TØRSÖ play at a tiny local record store, Red Brontosaurus Records. It was a great show from start to finish. A ton of energy, and an added challenge when you’re shooting literally six inches from the band, in between record shelves, in an insanely hot and overpacked DIY space. Those are some of the best moments as a live music photographer, to me.
TØRSÖ @ Red Brontosaurus Records, 2020
One of my favorite Rev bands that I’ve seen (but sadly did not shoot) was The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower in 2005! I saw them in Philadelphia, they played with the Blood Brothers, it was a show that definitely helped define my musical interests and path. Truly a “revelation” (get it?)!
What music have you been listening to lately?
Definitely depends on the day and my mood; my taste in music is all over the place to begin with. I listen to a lot of film scores and composers as background music, one of my favorites being Max Richter, also the score of Annihilation (Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury) has felt relevant. Brutal baroque like Lingua Ignota. The fierce, timeless magic of Nina Simone. Orville Peck if I’m looking for Lynchian cowboy pop. Liars, Shit Coffins, IDLES.
JUDGE @ Che Cafe, 2019
SILENT @ Lycanthro Pub, Tijuana, MX, 2019
LA WITCH @ House of Blues San Diego, 2019
Views from a tour van with 400k+ miles
To see more of Becky’s work, check out her Instagram @yourethenight