We had the good fortune of connecting with Terence Rushin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Terence, why did you pursue a creative career?
As a child I never landed on one particular thing that I wanted to be when I grew up. When asked my answers changed each time; from inventor to business owner to even the first black president at one point. I got good grades in school and by the time I made it to high school thought that I would end up doing something technical like an engineer or architect. Although my hypothetical future always changed one thing remained constant from the early days as a child to today in my career. I always had a fascination for cameras, whether it be photo or video. I always wanted to have one in my hand. From being enticed by my parent’s taking home videos and photos of my sister and me while we played or attended birthday parties…to getting my first “camera” the Nintendo Gameboy Camera and designating myself as the family historian. As I moved from the Gameboy Camera to disposable cameras and getting my first film camera in 4th grade, I carried my passion for capturing moments with me through middle school and high school where I was the lead photographer and photo editor of the yearbook. I went into college wanting to be a math teacher because I believed it would be a good trajectory to be on. All the while continuing to pursue my love of photography through joining the school newspaper. Until one faithful day I stumbled upon the recruitment session for communications majors (mainly because of the free pizza) but also because I was a familiar face from the newspaper staff. Once I changed my major to communications I began to become more versed in the art of storytelling and coupled that with my passion for capturing moments. And those two aspects have become the driving force behind my career and my work today. There are so many people in the world, each of them with their own unique experiences and stories. These experiences travel with us throughout our lives and impact how we interact with others, creating new moments and experiences in the process. Capturing those raw moments, freezing the emotion of everything that led up to that point in time; that is what drives me in my creative process. And being able to share those captured moments with people and seeing how much a moment in time can mean to a person, I find real joy in that. I’m able to see that a lot in music and event photography. I get to interact with so many people at once, all there to share in this experience as individuals and as a whole. There are many different emotions on display, especially in those blink and you miss it moments.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I touched on a lot of this in my first answer but to expand a bit more on it. I have been self taught in my craft through the formation of my career. After having free range of covering students and events through the yearbook in high school and coming into college (University of West GA) and contributing to the newspaper, I began to branch out and explore different aspects of photography. Being a broke college student without a real budget for gear kinda forced me to think outside of the box to bring some of my ideas to life. I experimented a lot with portraits of friends and self portraits. This led to me bringing some of those same practices into the local music scene taking photos of some of my friend’s bands at the pubs around campus. The more events I showed up to with a camera around my neck the more of a reputation I began to gain. Although I majored in communications and broadcast media all of the work I found after college landed in the realm of photography. This is also where I found the most joy. After graduating and the end of my internship at iHeartRadio I continued to seek out opportunities to photograph live music whenever I could. 99% of the time this would be for no pay. Which in hindsight I wish I did not allow myself to do so much free work, but it was a way for me to build relationships and build a portfolio over time. I soon evolved from shooting events to shooting weddings around the state. I have been photographing music in Atlanta from 2010-now and didn’t really start to get compensated for it until around 2016/2017. There was even a period of time where I took a break from it all after becoming a father and needing to focus on providing rather than chasing a dream. Although I was not doing what I was passionate about, I was still working in the realm of photography. However it was with a corporate company. My creative soul yearned for something more. I started slowly getting back into the world of music photography and became more focused on finding actual work in the field. It definitely has not been an overnight process. But now I am the house photographer for Live Nation venues in Atlanta including the Tabernacle, Buckhead Theatre, Coca-Cola Roxy, Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood among others. I also am a house photographer for State Farm Arena & The Atlanta Hawks for concerts and special events. I am also on the photo staff for Music Midtown & the Atlanta Jazz Festival. I also currently serve as an editor for Getty Images and am a photographer for Georgia Tech’s College of Computing. Every now and then I work with artists, labels and agencies to create content for publicity and marketing uses.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My absolute favorite places to be in the city are the music venues. The Tabernacle being my utmost favorite because it was the first venue I shot a professional concert at. Along with the Variety Playhouse where I saw my first concert in 2008. (Janelle Monáe & Gnarls Barkley) I also frequent any and all record stores and barcades like Joystick in East Atlanta.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There have been so many influential people in my life that have had an impact on who I am today. First and foremost, my mother, father and sister who have always been behind everything that I do with encouraging words. My mentors and supervisors at my college internship with iHeartRadio who supported me and my photography by giving me access to shows to shoot, Knox, Swan & Aly. My mentors and friends in the music photography community like Perry Julien & Hillery Conroy Terenzi. And all of the awesome people at Live Nation Atlanta.
Yellow camera photo: Tristan Ervin Taking photos in red & black hat: Marcus Thompson All other photos by; Terence Rushin