Marina Maré is a woman of many talents. Besides photographing families, weddings and portraits, she’s an old school rock photographer who feels at home in “the pit”. Whenever there’s a rock show, you will find her there in the front, blending with the crowd and capturing unstaged, in the moment shots of some of South Africa’s most reputable names in the rock and alternative industry.

Marina Mare photographs Fokofpolisierkar

The last time I saw you, we were younger, both had short hair and there was no such thing as Covid – so much has changed since then. What have these past few years taught you about yourself?

To say that the last two years was challenging would be an understatement. Going from being booked months in advance to literally no work was devastating, both mentally and financially. The most important thing the pandemic has taught me is that it’s either sink or swim and that you must get out of your comfort zone to survive, which to me was portraits and wedding photography, to survive. I was fortunate enough to do a lot more commercial and product shoots. I also had very supportive clients and broke “lockdown rules” a couple of times to do shoots, #rebel. Oh, and of course I can listen to Post Malone one repeat, every-single-day, for months.

Marina Mare photographs The Narrow

How long have you been shooting live shows and what keeps you going back for more?

Give or take 10 years, I started in late 2010 and keep going back because no two shows are ever the same, and of course, new music.

What local bands do you find have the most on-stage energy?

 In no specific order… The Narrow, Fokofpolisiekar, Hellcats, Francois van Coke and Jack Parow.

Do you have a shot list?

 No, not really. I try to get shots of all the band members. Every show is different and I try to get shots that convey the specific mood, vibe and energy of that particular performance.

How well do you know the bands/music? You seem to catch their most iconic stage moments like Francois’ “mic spin/toss” and Wynand’s famous “drink spray”. Do you anticipate and prepare for the action?

 I know them well enough to anticipate some of the shots but the performances aren’t rehearsed and you must be ready, things happen really fast. I’m still trying to get the perfect “flying Wynand” shot!

Marina Mare photographs Fokofpolisiekar
Marina Mare photographs Fokofpolisiekar

How do you get into “the pit” with so many others there, fighting for space to get the best shot? 

Shooting from the pit can be hectic at the best of times, with everyone trying to get the perfect shot. It’s still the safest and coolest spot to be. Luckily, I have never experienced serious tension between photographers in the pit or other photographers deliberately blocking my shot. It does get tight in most pits and we do bump into one another but I still prefer shooting from the pit.

Marina Mare photographs Jack Parow
Marina Mare photographs Francois Van Coke

What gear do you use and why?

The Nikon D750 performs well in low light. The 24-70mm f/2.8 is my absolute favourite lens! Then I use a 70-200mm f/2.8 to get shots of the drummer, and a 16mm f/2.8 for those iconic wide angle shots.

What does ROCK mean to you? And why do you think it is so timeless/universal?

Rock music began as a form of self-expression and there is a quote that says “when you’re happy, you enjoy the music but when you’re sad you understand the lyrics”, that, to me, is Rock Music. No matter how much time, life or society change, rock music remains the same – timeless, good, beautiful music.

Follow Marina Maré for more of her rock adventures.

Marina Mare photographs Fokofpolisiekar
Marina Mare photographs Hunter Kennedy