You may have seen his incredible photography work on Instagram or Facebook, but we wanted to know more. So who is Rod Evans?
Born in the tiny town of Walcha, NSW he lived around the New England area for most of his childhood until, in his early twenties, he rolled up a swag and hitched a ride north to the bustling metropolis of Brisbane.
“It was there that I fell into the world of breakbeat, a genre of dance music that I still love to this day. Being a bit of a percussion freak, I often took my djembe along to dance parties and tapped along to the music pumping out of the speakers. These funky jams eventually led to me joining the Vinyl Slingers, a group of likeminded DJ’s and musicians who threw some pretty epic parties at the Moon Bar in Fortitude Valley.
Through the music industry, I was able to meet a lot of international touring artists. One day in 2009, my good friend Nick Annand (aka Deekline) contacted me from the UK and asked me if I knew anyone that could edit a music video for him. At the time I didn’t really know anyone that could do it so I thought I’d have a go at it myself. The resulting video turned out to be quite popular and since then I have edited over 25 music videos for artists around the world.
One morning in 2015, I woke up, stuck my head out the window and sniffed a change. It was time I found a new direction in life so again, I rolled up my swag (yes, the same old swag) and migrated south, this time to Lismore. Since I was a child I had always wanted to be a school teacher, so that is what I decided to do. I enrolled in an education degree at Southern Cross University and so began my almost completed uni degree (I’m currently doing my last teaching prac at a local primary school).”
CG – Claim to fame/day job/hobby/what are you known for?
For the past three years or so I have been experimenting quite a lot with my DSLR camera, getting out into the hills of Northern NSW and capturing all sorts of phenomena, from spectacular sunsets to the Milky Way rising from the ocean. Lately, though, I have been experimenting with ‘light painting’ which involves capturing long exposures of myself spinning LED’s and other lights sources to create interesting artworks. These light paintings have proven to be quite popular (especially on social media), and on May 16, 2018, I had one of my photos exhibited at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France as part of the inaugural International Day of Light celebrations. It was a huge honour to have my work showcased alongside artists from around the world.
Apart from photography, I also use my DSLR to capture time-lapse videos. Sometimes I might leave my camera out in the backyard for 6 hours and let it capture the Milky Way sweeping across the sky. One of my favourite and most popular time-lapses I did was of the full moon rising behind the Byron Bay lighthouse.
CG – What are you most passionate about?
At the moment I think my passion lies heavily in capturing and creating visual digital media. I love getting out there in the wilderness with my camera and discovering gems. A lot of the time I try to plan my photo shoot before-hand, especially with astro–photgraphy, as knowing where and when the Milky Way or the moon will be at a certain time can save a lot of waiting around. I love that I can have an app on my phone that tells me all that information, technology is awesome. But there is also a huge thrill I get from just jumping in the car and going for a drive without planning anything in particular, most times I manage to capture a lovely image somewhere along the way. I particularly love the surprises that life continually offers me.
CG – What is your greatest career achievement?
Career? I’ve never really been one to settle on a single vocation, I like to dip my toes in different oceans. Musically, one of my biggest achievements was playing percussion with The Wailers at their Brisbane show in 2004. They invited me onstage to jam with them for the encore. That was a grand experience that eventually led to me buying a plane ticket to Jamaica and staying at bass player Familyman’s house in Kingston. I’ve also had the pleasure of touring Australia and New Zealand with Brisbane band Vinyl Slingers, playing countless festivals and club gigs over the last 15 years. As for video editing, I’ve been very fortunate to have worked on numerous music videos for artists around the world, in particular UK breakbeat maestros, Krafty Kuts, Deekline and Stanton Warriors.
In the photography world, my ‘career’ seems to be developing steadily. To date, I have won a few awards here and there and also had a feature article written on me and one of my ‘steel wool’ photos in the Good Weekender magazine (in the Australian newspaper). That was nice to be featured in a national publication. In May of this year, I had one of my light painting photos exhibited at UNESCO headquarters in Paris as part of the International Day of Light celebrations. That was a huge honour to be included in that exhibition as I was featured alongside many of the artists that inspire me. My ‘Mushroom’s under the Milky Way’ photo was also quite popular, as it hit the number one spot on the front page of Reddit and had over a million views in 24hrs. It’s crazy to sit and watch things go viral.
My work has also proven to be quite popular on social media, and really, I have a lot of thanks to give for sites such as Facebook and Instagram, as they have provided me with a platform to share my work and gain new followers. Sharing my work online and seeing others enjoy it is a huge part of why I keep doing what I do.
CG – What advice would you give young people who want to follow a similar path?
Be patient. Your time will come. Talk to people and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t rave on about things you want to do, it’s better to boast about things you’ve done. Surf the web and watch video tutorials. Try something new. Get out of the house and go explore. Never say you’re bored, only boring people say they’re bored. Take calculated risks. Avoid people that annoy you. Take your shoes off and stomp around in the mud. Dance in the rain.
CG – What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I have many moments of happiness so it’s hard to pinpoint just one of them. In a general sense I’d say that lately I’ve had quite a few times when I’ve sat on my verandah with a cuppa and pondered life…and found a profound sense of peace and accomplishment with myself. I like those moments.
CG – What is on your most current playlist?
I have a heap of music stored on my phone. My go to playlist is a dub reggae collection I put together a few years back. I don’t like a lot of reggae because of the lyrics but I love the melodies and basslines of the riddim, so that’s why I love dub because it focuses more on the riddim and less on the vocals.
CG – What is your greatest extravagance?
I guess all my worldly possessions could be considered as an extravagance as I don’t really need them to exist on this planet. Yes, they make life more comfortable but I’m sure I could survive without them. I remember back in 2011 when I put most of my belongings in storage and ventured to the over to the US, Canada and South America for six months with just a backpack. At first, I was quite nervous about leaving all my stuff here in Oz and having to live with just the basics but once I got over there I soon settled into minimal living and when the time came for me to come back home, I strangely felt nervous about having to pull all my unneeded belongings out of storage and find a house to live in. But once I was home I soon adapted back to my usual way of life and now I feel somewhat comfortable with the things I have.
CG – What is your favourite travel destination/why?
Over the years I have had the great privilege of travelling to destinations across six world continents. One of my favourite countries would have to be Bolivia, because I absolutely loved their geographical diversity. From driving across the Uyuni salt flats and 5,000 metre, high altitude deserts of the south, to swimming with alligators, piranha and pink river dolphins in Amazon tributaries in the north, Bolivia is definitely a place I would love to go back to. A close second to Bolivia was the Galapagos Islands. I spent a week there cruising around on a boat visiting different islands. It’s so wonderful to see the different evolution of species from island to island, particularly with the iguanas and giant tortoises. They have all evolved and adapted to their environment.
CG – What is your most noticeable characteristic?
My big, bald noggin. In my early twenties I had a full head of dreadlocks and one day I noticed that my hairline was receding quite rapidly and some of the dreads were only hanging on by a few hairs, so one day I decided to shave them all off and go completely bald. The feeling of getting in the shower and having warm water hit me directly on the scalp was a strange sensation. And laying on a pillow felt weird too.
CG – Who are your hero’s?
I don’t have any heroes per say, but there are many people (and animals) that inspire me. Social media has provided me with a platform in which I am constantly amazed by the creativity of others.
CG – What do you value most in your friends?
Listening. I love it when I’ve had a conversation with someone and I walk away knowing that I have been heard. This is a value I hold very dear to me because as I get older I’ve noticed that my own concentration and ability to listen to others is becoming strained (due to a health issue with my eyes) and as much as I’d love to, there are times when I just physically can’t give someone my full attention. It’s very frustrating for me (and I assume for the person I’m talking to as well) so over the years, my own difficulty in listening has made me look for that trait in others, and when I see it, I cherish it.
CG – What is your most treasured possession?
At the moment I’d say my camera bag and my light painting tools as they’re the things I have the most fun with.
CG – If you could choose what to come back as what/who would it be?
A big fat Labrador. I’ve never seen a neglected Lab, they all appear to have loving families, big backyards and nice long beaches to run around on. They also have lovely soft fur. It would be wonderful to just eat, sleep and have people rub your belly.
CG – Which words phrases do you overuse?
I’m sure there are many but at the moment I can’t think of what they are…I’ll talk to my family and friends and get back to you in the next interview.
CG – Which living person do you most admire/why?
UK dub producer Adrian Sherwood is one person who I have greatly admired since the early 90’s as he has helped create a lot of the dub reggae I so dearly love.
Check out more of Rod’s work here: