Skylar Watkins: Cinematographer and Photographer

Skylar Watkins is a cinematographer and photographer currently working in Philadelphia, PA. Although she’s made a name for herself as The Sad Punk, Skylar has photographed a wide range of musicians across genres from rock to rap to pop and everything in between. Her other photographic work focuses on fashion and portraiture both on location and in studio. Skylar is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Sad Punk Press, a Philadelphia based print publication focusing on music, arts, and culture. She started this magazine in 2018 with the intention of bringing importance back to printed media in a highly digital age and creating a safe interdisciplinary space for artists in all mediums.

“I started photographing shows for fun in my junior year of high school. Music has always been a big part of my life, so photographing it is a way for me to blend two things I love doing. My favorite show is a tough question – a few big milestones for me were: The Growlers at 9:30 Club in D.C (the first show I snuck my camera into), The Pixies at Lincoln Theatre in D.C (the first time I photographed them, I was still in high school. It was one of the first bigger shows I photographed) and Made in America 2019 (the first festival I was on the photo team for).”

“I started Sad Punk Press because I wasn’t seeing many print magazines made (besides super big companies). Some magazines I had shot for tried to do print, but were mostly online models. For me, the most fulfilling thing about running Sad Punk Press has been bringing print editions to life. A lot of people said I wouldn’t be able to do it, or wouldn’t be able to make it past a year, but we’re currently working on our 5th print issue!”

“Music has always been a big part of my life. I grew up in a family of musicians. Music has always been around me, so it just feels natural [working in the music industry].”

“I think in photo/video particularly, there’s a pretty big gender gap, especially once you’re at a certain size show. I see that gap particularly at shows for larger artists/stadiums. A part of that is the fact that usually only bigger news outlets or publications are getting approved for those shows, which from my own observations, demonstrates that generally women aren’t getting those “coveted” positions – although I have to say I feel incredibly grateful to get to work with so many teams that are exemptions from that observation. There are so many AMAZING womxn photographers out there, but they generally aren’t getting as much recognition as their male counterparts. If you’re not seeing their work, I think it’s important to step back and ask yourself why. I think there are a lot of preexisting systems and traditions in place that (either intentionally or unintentionally) exclude womxn, and for things to improve we need to question them.”

Connect with Skylar on social media!

Website | Instagram