The name Koe Wetzel is synonymous with partying, wild nights and a good time for every fan who knows anything about him. That being said, what would run through your mind if you were asked to hop on his bus and work with the band as their right hand man? Well, we got in touch with Koe Wetzel’s photographer and videographer John Park to learn exactly how he landed the gig and what he has experienced so far.
“As a young kid I was fascinated with electronics. I’d take apart old toys, find motors and magnets and build new toys. At one point I came across a small point and shoot, and rather than taking it apart, I learned to use it,” Park remembers. “I would make stop-animation videos with my sister’s dolls and my Legos. I believe that’s where my love for both photography and videography came from as it combines the two. As I got older I learned more through YouTube and online articles, upgraded my equipment, and was influenced by content creators. I started pursuing the field when I realized I could make money with my camera while also having a great time.“
Making the leap to do something you love can be daunting, but it can be kicked into high gear with one small opportunity and some luck. Park recalls it this way:
”I started out shooting senior sessions for friends, weddings, and for real estate. Back in 2017-2018 the music industry was a complete mystery to me. I had started a small business with a buddy I’d met through Instagram and we were commissioned to shoot a local music festival in Abilene, Texas. I had never heard of Koe Wetzel, but my friends let me know pretty quickly that he was up and coming. I decided to film his performance and make a recap for my own use. I posted it on Twitter and it slowly made its way to the management. A few months later I was asked to hop on a tour bus and head to New York. I’ve been with them since.”
Park recalls that when first meeting the band, ”It took me a while to warm up to Koe and his crew, but once I did I had no interest in shooting anyone else. I find it hard to jump around between bands because there’s a personal level you have to reach to get people comfortable around you and the camera. I love genuine interactions and I found I had to re record skits with other bands gone out with.”
Touring with any band for a period of time can be difficult, which Park seems to agree with.
“I think Koe will be the last musician I’ll work for full time as far as touring. As much as I love this field, it can be rough and I’m not looking to do it forever. If I had to pick one artist to work with in the future, it’d be Kevin Parker with Tame Impala. He’s been a fan of mine for a while now and I’d love to create something with him,” he explains.
Like any photographer, Park has his own idea of what he’s looking for in each shot.
“There’s a number of things I’m looking at: if the image is exposed right, composure, leading lines, all of the basics. Some of that comes natural and some comes from experience. I don’t usually go into projects with an idea, I like to feel it all out, get my usual shots or anything I see on the spot and let the ideas flow during post. Sometimes I’ll get inspiration while editing and use that for the next shoot.“
When asked about some advice he’d give to new photographers, he goes on to say: “Focus on creating a feeling. Take inspiration from those you look up to and give credit where credit is due. Stay outside the box and have fun with it.”
On the topic of the best way to support an artist you love, Park has a simple yet effective method.
“Let them know how much you appreciate them or how they’ve inspired you. That can go a long way.”
Support John Park and follow his work by following the links below: