We recently caught up with British Academy of Photography student, Wayne Crichlow who is studying the Postgraduate Diploma in Photography. Wayne was a contestant on the TV show, Sky Arts Master of Photography. Here he talks about how his interest in photography started and the role that studying and learning has had on his images.
“My interest in photography started with the birth of my daughter”, says Wayne. “I wanted to catch the moments when she was a baby and growing up. But I have to admit, I didn’t stick to it. I started to see other, everyday moments all around me to and from my journey to work.”
Wayne’s first camera had a 1-megapixel resolution. “Looking back, the resolution was absolutely appalling, but at the time it was great”, he says. “It looked great, really professional. I played around with it but mainly shot things in manual mode for a year or so”.
When Wayne upgraded to a mid-range camera he still struggled with all the camera could do. “I remember receiving the box in the post, opening it and thinking ‘wow, that’s a great camera’”, he says. “There was a lens I could screw on and it felt really professional. I went out and shot just about anything from landscapes to goldfish but I was still stuck in automatic mode”.
As Wayne’s passion for photography grew he realised he needed some formal education to really understand how he was creating each shot. “People were saying to me ‘they’re really great shots, how did you do that?’ and I couldn’t give them an answer.”
South Africa - Two Days In A Township (Image reproduced courtesy Wayne Crichlow Photography)
Finding the right course
“I wanted to understand how to move away from the automatic button and get full control of the camera”, he recalls. “And then I found the Postgraduate Diploma with the British Academy of Photography. It ticked all the boxes for me. It was a postgraduate course so it had a lot more to it than a bite-size one-day course. I liked the modules; they were a mixture of hands-on work, some theory and also a focus on understanding recent photographers as well as the history of photography.”
In particular, Wayne was drawn to the classroom option for his studies, “To come in every weekend and meet my tutor, work through some of the course material, get some practical ideas and mix with my fellow students, that was all so important to me.”
“The collaboration between the students on my course was particularly great and we’re still very much in contact”, says Wayne. “We bounce ideas off each other and encourage each other through the assignments”. Wayne is also enthusiastic about the academy’s online forum. “Quite a few students post questions about particular assignments and anyone, on any course, can get involved and post suggestions. It’s great for getting everyone collaborating”.
Shooting with confidence
Having been a recent contestant on Sky Arts Master of Photography, Wayne is now getting back to his assignments and finds the feedback he receives from his tutor as really crucial. “What I get is constructive feedback, that little bit of guidance and encouragement to realise that I have the knowledge to work around any issue.”
Wayne says he can now talk confidently about each shot he takes. “Going fully manual was great”, he says. “Now I actually understand what I’m doing and that I can create different outputs by changing certain things”.
“Things make sense now”, he beams, “they’ve become second nature. I know how to control light, the finite balance of the exposure triangle and how everything is linked. I got all this from doing the course”.
“I would absolutely recommend the course”, says Wayne. “Anyone who is serious about pursuing their interest and love of photography and wants to solidify this with a qualification, I would say go for it. The opportunity to work with and receive feedback from tutors who themselves are working in the industry is such a great thing.”
“It’s all about learning and I can’t say I’ll ever stop learning”, he says. “For me it’s about trying different things, being open to different ideas and pushing myself to practice.”