Photographer Gaby Deimeke strives to live her life like a badass woman.
By Evelyn Deal, Photos by Gaby Deimeke
For many of us, life is gradually becoming more normal. Shopping centers are more crowded; people can dine in at restaurants. Significantly, one of Austinites’ most crucial activities has returned: concerts. People highly anticipate going to these shows given the paperweight of COVID-19 putting a halt to live events in recent years. With the Austin City Limits festival lineup just released, music lovers are gearing up with hydration packs, sunglasses and sunscreen. But one woman is getting prepared for the festival a little differently. All Gaby Deimeke needs is her camera and her keen eye for photography.
Deimeke comes from humble origins. Growing up on a farm in Auxvasse, Missouri, Deimeke first picked up a camera at 12 years old. “I was hooked from there. I [later]went to college at Webster University in St. Louis to study photography and fine art. I received a master’s in fashion photography from London College of Fashion in England,” Deimeke recalls. She moved to New York City and began to hustle to establish her name as a photographer. After many years of hard work, she ended up in Austin. It was here that she was able to truly nurture her calling. “I got into concert photography and realized that’s what I wanted to pursue,” she explains.
“I moved to Austin almost two years ago, in the middle of the pandemic, to continue my music photography career.”
Gaby Deimeke: Always Inspired
She sees her work as a way to “capture the personality of the person,” rather than just snapping a photo. “I like to get creative with it and learn about my subject so I can photograph them in a unique and interesting way that also feels like them,” she says. A fan of color, Deimeke’s bold contrasting hues tend to highlight the artist in astonishing glory. Her work showcases household names like Lizzo, Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes. “I also just never get tired of shooting,” she admits. “There’s always a new idea, or I see something online that sparks an interest, or another person I want to photograph. I find that the more I shoot, the more inspired I am.” Her visually stunning imagery makes one feel as if time has stood still, if even for a split second.
In contrast to the portraits in her portfolio, Gaby Deimeke is, in fact, always on the go. Having just recently shot at the 2022 Met Gala, she finds herself eager to continue doing what she loves. “I started the Badass Womens Series (#BadassWomenATX) to have a solid foundation of other female business owners that could give me advice,” she says. The Badass Women ATX project consists of 50 portraits of women business owners. Presented at SoCo Modern Art Gallery, Deimeke created a space for creative networking and inspiration for like-minded, ambitious females. “I’m also a member of Young Women’s Alliance, which is based in Austin and is a great networking group for women,” she adds. “It’s really important for me to build a network of strong women and to always be working toward empowering female business owners. It’s something I’m super passionate about.”
Ain’t No Stopping Us
Despite her success, Deimeke has faced many challenges as a woman in an artistic field. “I think there are some big issues for women in the music industry because it tends to be male dominated, especially concert photography.”
Navigating through an industry that is predominantly male leads to a lot of inequity for women. “I’ve been in photo pits where security says, ‘Sorry, you can’t go in here,’ or a bunch of guys in a recording studio making jokes about women, and I’m the only woman there. I think there’s definitely a lot of room for improvement.”
However, there is no stopping Gaby Deimeke’s grit and strong work ethic. Though she has created profound success in her career, she continues to strive for more. “I have lots of career and personal goals I’d still like to accomplish: I want to tour internationally; photograph Taylor Swift; I want to be published in Rolling Stone; travel to Asia; eventually become fluent in Spanish. Right now I’m just along for the ride and seeing where this thing goes!” With a professional origin story that includes taking friends’ senior photos for $50 and handing out business cards on New York subways, Deimeke’s years of devotion to her craft have truly paid off. “I can make a living doing what I love, and that feels so empowering. I say this all the time and it’s cheesy but true: follow your dreams.”