Interview with Tony Mott

In Music Photography

Violent Soho

An interview i did with music photographer veteran Tony Mott has just been published on Mess and Noise.

We spoke for about half an hour over Skype, me in Sydney, Tony in his temporary home in Melbourne.

Tony’s someone i’ve always admired in the photography business. He’s gotten where he has through sheer passion for his work and by being a gentleman. It’s a good reminder that sometimes nice guys finish first.

The photo pit

Here’s a few choice quotes from the conversation.

On photo contracts:

“I ignore them. They’re illegal anyway. My only advice is, don’t argue because then you don’t get your access. Just sign it, date it and time it. Almost instantaneously it becomes null and void.”

On Getty Images:

“Getty are obviously quite evil in their strategy and do want to rule the world.”

On competitive photographers:

“Some other photographers always seem to feel like they’re competing with other photographers, i think i’m competing with myself. I always want to be better than i am.”

On switching to digital:

“I hate digital. I still shoot film, but digital’s that much easier and cheaper. People say digital is better, but it’s not better, it’s easier.”

“The good news is that digital is easy to do, the bad news is that it’s harder to sell. Everyone’s doing it.”

On photographing Coldplay at the 2001 Big Day Out:

“We did a session in Auckland and it was really fucking rubbish.”

On why he keeps shooting:

“The beauty of photography is that you’re never the best you’ll ever be. You’ve always got new ideas. I just genuinely enjoy photography.”

Read the whole thing.

You can see Tony talk about his 25 year career if you’re in Melbourne tomorrow night at the Thornbury Theatre.


  1. Some nice quotes there from Tony.
    I like the contract one particularly, and it’s true too. Had a conversation with a contract law expert, unless both parties have a signed copy of the contract (both parties have to sign, band rep and photographer) then the contract is worthless and would get thrown out of court. Pretty funny that band reps continue to push them, surely they have half an idea about contract law…..

  2. Tony is a great guy, he plays in goal for the same football team I play for on a Sunday, Zetland FC!
    Been there since the league started 20 years ago. 53 and still a great shot stopper!

  3. Great interview Dan. Good to have a photographer asking the questions. Makes for useful answers instead of the usual collection of war stories.

  4. I can’t say enough about the man.
    He got me my first ever photo pass for a gig and told me a lot about shooting.
    He is an absolute sweetie and very down to earth.
    Great interview Dan. 🙂

  5. I was going to see his talk, but I had gone to see Madness the night before at the Palace Theatre and was too tired.

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