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Jack Gruber Interview

The man behind the lens. Jack has shot some of our best photos and has been a close homie for a while now. He has an eye for making things look rad, no matter what it is. It’s never been easier to click and shoot a photo claiming to be a “photographer,” which has had a huge impact on the industry. Jack pushes above this by keeping it real and sticking to his own unique style. He wound up in the finals for Monster Children’s photo comp and he shreds on his BMX too. Solid dude and a huge help to Palmz. We got into depth with some questions about life, photography and the culture surrounding it below.


What are you doing to pass the time in Melbourne?

Hey mate.. ahhhh shit haha what can I tell you. What a weird fucking time to be alive. Two months ago we packed our stuff and left our hometown Canberra, straight to the big smoke that is Melbourne. First month was real dope - Coffee, beer, ride, beer, coffee, shop, mates, beer. And now, well I guess you know the rest…Im staying sane here, pumping records, sorting through old photos on the computer, finished Nick Caves ‘The Sick Bag Song’ book and riding. Actually just started clocking some riding clips with Anthony for an upcoming project.

What are you most stoked on when shooting photos?

I guess for me its a different mindset to others. When shooting gigs in particular I get really stoked when its a crammed sweaty room and I'm able to climb on stage, stand on a speaker and capture some moments thats the iPhones cant get to, if your photos look different to the Insta stories I think you should be happy. The other aspect is capturing the whole scene, setting a mood and getting that smaller stuff. Those smaller images may not be the money shot, but they sure can compliment the money shot and make the audience feel like they were there.

What makes a good photo?

Huge, no bullshit here haha. To me a ‘good’ photo captures THAT moment. That split 1/200th of a second moment. The fall over on stage, the beer spitting into the crowd, the jump of the speaker, the kiss, the eyes rolling back into the head. Whatever it is that one moment you cannot have another shot at. If you find yourself capturing that, on top of being in a position the other 15 photographers in the pit are scared to get too, I think you've done it. People are stoked to stand near the back with their $2000 long lens and snap that perfectly sharp, well exposed image of the singer looking down to the mic. And thats cool - it is GOOD. But if I manage to snap a blurred head cut off photo of the signer jumping and trying to boot the camera out of my hands, Thats a good one to me. Im either using this as an excuse for some sloppy work or it may hold some merit.

In a world of billions of people uploading photos every second, how does that make you feel as a dude who’s passion is so over run? How the hell can a photographer stand out nowadays?

To be totally honest, I have no idea. I cant use the saturation of Instagram or anything as a negative as its getting everyones work out there and people feel that they are apart of something. I haven't caught up yet, I feel I'm a 70 year old figuring out how to turn on the darn computer. I post something maybeeeeee once a week. I still have the mindset of work losing legitimacy when it is slapped in your face over and over again on your phone, I tend to look over that stuff pretty easily. It loses that, idk, PAZZAZ.

The thing that gets me the most is that its sucked out a lot of respect I think, people can get shared on someones 50k Insta page and not even get a mention and bam that company made x amount of money or views off your work. Other then standing out by sponsoring your boring photo that keeps popping up on my fricken feed, I guess stand out with your quality, not quantity? maybe? not sure. haha

What photographers are you hyped on?

Well, I guess to start with would be the all time legend Helmut Newton. Prolific German photographer who created such power and class within his erotic and provocative work that paved the way. Last year in Berlin we managed to trek out to his museum and it was the best showcase of work I've ever seen. As you walk in there is four like three metre prints of nude women almost ‘guarding’ his collection. My favourite part was the FAX letters between him and dominating fashion brands like Vogue and Chanel where he basically told them to piss off with their shitty ideas…Badass.

Local legend I've always been stoked on is Nicholas Gascoine (@nicholasgascoine) who's mindset on building bodies of work is amazing. He’s second most recent hardcopy book was a collection of BMX photos and everything that embodies it, compiled from yeeeeeaaaarrrsss of work all over the globe. Impressive stuff. Not to mention his recent work from local beaches, damn. Now thats how you capture a moment.

Camera or BMX if you had to pick one?

Tough call.. are we talking right now or forever? BMX right now 100%. Camera forever.

Give us 3 records you’re listening to?

You got me at a good time haha. One. Rowland S. Howard - Pop Crimes. ( wow ) Two. Bruce Springsteen - Greetings From Asbury Park. Three. Iggy Pop - The Idiot All three records are piled on the floor as we speak.

Give us 3 things you hate?

One. Trends. Fucking trends. Do something that lasts… Two. Facebook. Three. Contiki Tour people. Four. The wind. It'll ruin your day.

Give us 3 things you love?

One. Just sitting in a park with some friends, 28 degrees and sunny, beer, couple snacks and a little music. Simples right? Two. Travel. Three. The Pulsar.

Thanks for the chat,

God bless,

Jack Gruber.

Instagram: @jackgruber

Photo credit: Nicholas Gascoine (first)

Anthony Bowler (second)


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