Introducing the raw photographic style of Grit Van

There’s nothing bullshit about the photography of Grit Van. His photos are up-close, raw, and gritty – they’re real snapshots of real situations.

For the past number of years, the Sydney-based photographer has spent his time travelling around the city (and the country more broadly) shooting bands like C.O.F.F.I.N, Bullshirt, The Darrans, Dissclaimer, Rosa Maria, and Space Carbonara among others. So we caught up with Grit to chat about the evolution of his photographic style and how location can influence artistic direction.

Photos: Grit Van

We caught up with Sydney-based photographer Grit Van to chat about the influence of location on his raw photographic style.

HAPPY: What’s your creative space like? How does it influence your work?

GRIT: My creative space is huge and small, it’s a kitchen and a city, it’s a loud room and sleeping on floor mattresses. This more or less affects my photographs by where I am and at what time, it’s a huge influence I feel.

HAPPY: How would you say your style has developed over time?

GRIT: Over time I got very sick of shooting the same shit over and over. I grew apart from photographs because of this. My style has grown with me and I will continue to do so, over time the ordinary started to really interest me and I became more aggressive in a way. I have one strict rule for myself which is to religiously carry a camera, and that only added to the change I was looking for with my photographs.

HAPPY: What tools are indispensable to your craft, and how do they fit into your workflow?

GRIT: Jeepers Creepers. Honestly my mental health and a camera with a flash. I see myself in my photographs (fuck off with that cliché bullshit) I see myself in my still life, inanimate objects, pointless documentation and live music photographs. I need to shoot everyday so walking around sitting in alleys people watching or shooting a show and everything in-between is my workflow. Oh! Don’t forget cigarettes, cigarettes are a great excuse to make a few photographs.

HAPPY: What drew you towards photography when you were starting out?

GRIT: Growing up I watched my mother and grandmother take photographs and show me copious amounts of photos, so I knew how important photographs and documentation was. I started fucking around on my mothers film camera when I was about 7 and that’s where it started. Plus, I can’t not geek out over cameras and camera paraphernalia. Playing music from roughly the same age and growing up in that lifestyle is what drew myself towards photo documentation.

HAPPY: What’s your favourite part about working with your medium?

GRIT: It allows myself to do what I really want to do, write and shoot the things I feel are important.

HAPPY: How does where you live or where you create affect your photos?

GRIT: A lot goes down in Sydney… it’s a big place, from shows every week to walking the streets and industrial areas near my home, everything influences me, pure ecstasy.

HAPPY: Who are some local artist that you love to shoot that we should check out?

GRIT: I recently went on tour with Space Carbonara and Carl Renshaw. They’re both great acts and highly cool people! These aren’t acts but people you should keep your eyes on,
Michael Jolliffe, James Rhodes, Pat O’Hara, Oisin Dermody, Alex Cooke, Mark Bevan, James Brickwood, Wylie J Miller, Enzo Lucia.