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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Local Music Spotlight: For the love of the camera – Spokane photographer Alicia Hauff

UPDATED: Sun., Nov. 21, 2021

By Julien A. Luebbers For The Spokesman-Review

From media shoots to concert photos, the music industry relies on visual media to accompany, promote and share its auditory products. And in today’s social media-driven world, the value and importance of great photos is higher than ever.

That’s why Alicia Hauff, a music photographer and the house photographer for the Pavilion at Riverfront, is so important to the local scene. Hauff specializes in concert and media shoots (in addition to having a family photography practice), which she has been shooting since she was a teen.

The years have given her a great eye for transforming dynamic, lively moments into photos that don’t lose that energy. “It was a hobby,” Hauff said of her early entry into photography. “I used to shoot for my friends’ punk bands around town so that I didn’t have to pay to get into their shows.”

But at the end of high school, Hauff left photography for the animal care industry. She wouldn’t return to photography until much later. “After I had my kids, I got back into photography wanting to capture their lives more,” she said.

“And then I started a company of my own that was catered toward families and children and babies.” But after engaging with photography from a family perspective, she returned to the stages that had kickstarted her love of the camera.

“I decided I wanted to try my hand at concerts again, and I went to some of the local venues and practiced to see what I could do.” Hauff was quickly recognized and soon went from practice to paid work. Since then, she has shot shows from Spokane to Los Angeles and back, from local bands to major, international artists.

In addition to concerts, Hauff shoots promotional content for bands. Success in this field, she said, necessitates a strong collaboration between band and photographers. A good media photo has to “show a good representation of who the band is or what their style is.”

As a photographer, she’s contributing to a band’s aesthetic and image, so Hauff takes into account as much as she can: “What their merch looks like, what the feel of their music is, what kind of vibe that they want to give off.”

But Hauff is the one with the camera, and her eyes will necessarily have the final say. “I do like to shoot wide and more elongated images or sometimes fisheye images, which through the years has kind of come in and out of style,” she said.

She also has a characteristic relationship with color. Hauff’s photos are full of pop and crisp detail, and a brief scroll through her Instagram page @AHPConcerts) will make that clear. Hauff’s favorite photos, though, aren’t the concerts or media shoots, but rather the odd, in-between candids of life behind the scenes.

“The ones where they’re about to hit the stage or sitting in the green room or sharing time with their loved ones. They’re just very nice, intimate moments,” she said. For the fan, these are the times when the artist seems to step down from their high stature and become a real, normal person.

“I think people, especially in this day and age, are always trying to get a glimpse of what people’s real lives are,” Hauff said. On the note of real lives, she was keen to note that her job as a photographer is far from cushy.

After a long night of shooting, bands often want their media photos ready the next morning. “I’ll be in my hotel room just falling asleep while I’m editing,” or working between sets, over lunch breaks. It’s a tough job but rewarding in its own way, Hauff said.

Though the photos might look effortless, like perfect impressions or lucky shots, it’s through hours and years of practice, work and editing that Hauff sets herself apart. To see more of Hauff’s work, visit her on Instagram at @AHPConcerts and @AliciaHauffPhotography.

Julien A. Luebbers can be reached at julien.luebbers@gmail.com.

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