12 Feb 2019

Wayne Crichlow: Mastering Street Photography

by Lucy Anderson

Wayne Crichlow, a student of the British Academy of Photography and a contestant on the TV show, Sky Arts Master of Photography, discusses street photography - the art of capturing life and culture in the moment - and the equipment he uses to do this.



A personal take on street photography

“Classic things that street photographers go for are colours, shapes, lines”, says Wayne “but with me it's slightly different. I like having layers in my images, having quite a bit going on, making it fairly dynamic. Some people like shallow depth of field and lots [of people] blur out the background completely. I use shutter dragging. It’s similar but it isolates the main subject.”

The Look of the Doorman, Pt.II (Image reproduced courtesy Wayne Crichlow Photography)


Capturing the moment

To capture one of his standout street photography images of a doorman looking out of a shop window onto the street, Wayne used his Fujifilm X100S mirrorless camera, “I was using the 23mm, slow shutter speed; I was down to about 1/15th [of a second]. So, handheld, closed down the aperture to bring down some of the light and I literally just held my breath”.


The benefit of the rangefinder type camera, explains Wayne, is that you can look through the viewfinder with one eye and then with the open eye you can see what’s about to come into the frame. “There was somebody coming in from the left with a nice bright red shirt, ‘that's good, really cool’, I thought. He was going off out the shot and somebody else was coming in from the right hand side. So it's almost like at a theatre and you’ve got the curtains coming across the stage and different scenery coming across the stage.”

Faces of the Carnival - Notting Hill Carnival, 2018 (Image reproduced courtesy Wayne Crichlow Photography)


Choosing the right camera

Wayne became interested in street photography when he was using his Canon midrange camera which had quite a small lens. “I thought people wouldn’t see me”, says Wayne “but it wasn't the case because it still was a pretty big camera.” After talking to a friend, Wayne decided to use the Fujifilm X100S mirrorless camera. “I got it because of the form factor, it was a rangefinder-esque and it was tiny. It has a fixed 23mm lens, or 35mm equivalent, so there's no getting away with trying to take candid photographs of somebody from three blocks away with a giant telephoto lens.”


Getting close to his subject to take the shot was something Wayne felt he had to get comfortable with. “We see between 35-55mm naturally with our normal field of view. If you're shooting at that focal length, people feel a bit more immersed in the scene because it brings it a bit closer. I have to move around the scene to get the shots but it's a good discipline to have, to be able to do that.”

(Image reproduced courtesy Wayne Crichlow Photography)


Perseverance and discipline

Other than the camera, a large part of getting the right shot is patience, says Wayne. “You could be standing on the street corner for the best part of the day and if you come away with two or three shots that's probably a good return.” Discipline plays its part too, “even though I have a 64GB memory card in my camera, I’m quite stingy on my shots. I don't have my camera on burst. If I shoot the same thing three or four times that's probably the most. So I wait for that moment and then tether the image because going home to four or five hundred images that all look roughly the same is a bind.”


Current projects

Wayne is focusing his photography on a few different projects at the moment. “I'm still keeping in touch with my street photography and I'm also really focused on a couple of stories at the moment. One of the stories is around mental health and another story is about the music scene, specifically the grime scene.”


Inspired by Wayne’s story and looking to pursue your interest in photography? View our full list of courses on our website and read about Wayne’s experience of being a student with the academy.


You can find out more about Wayne and his photography on his website, on Instagram and Twitter @WayneWRC67.



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