An interview with Cam Crossland

July 08, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

An interview with Cam Crosland

Copy right - CJ Crosland

RH: Tell us about you yourself.

CJ Crosland is a self-taught artist and photographer based near London, England. Originally a Modern History & Political Science graduate and musician working as a software tester, CJ became hooked on Street Photography in 2010 and is in it for the long haul.
 

Planning

 

RH: What attracted and inspired you to your current documentary project?

CJ: I experience the world in a very intense way. Often the information flooding into my senses is a source of great delight but equally it can be overwhelming and bring me to the point of sensory overload. I want to be able to express that and to convey to people what that feels like.

During 2016, I made significant changes to become more in control of my life and as I became more confident, I wanted to take more control in my photography. Flash provides the perfect tool for me to be more proactive in my picture making and express my intense view of the world. It enables me to shine light on things both literally and metaphorically. It’s about energy.

 

RH: Can you talk us through the planning stage for your project?

CJ: There wasn’t really a “planning stage”. I got my hands on a flash and started using it on 1stJanuary 2017. I’m very keen on spontaneity and experimentation, and I wanted to see where it would lead me.

 

RH: Is there anything you wish you had done differently?

CJ: Not really. I’m very happy with the exploratory nature of the process – it suits how I work.


Copy Right - CJ Crosland - FlashBang
 

Implementation and Completion

 

RH: How have you dealt with any challenges and difficulties within your project?

CJ: The same way I deal with most things. When I hit a “bump”, I pause and reflect on what I can learn and what I need to change. There’s always a way through, even if it takes a moment to figure it out. I’ve always made a conscious decision to keep moving forward.

 

RH: How long do your projects tend to take from start to finish?   

CJ: I have no idea! I just keep on going until it feels right to stop.

Copy Right - CJ Crosland - FlashBang
 

 

Editing and Sequencing

 

RH: Do have several images to edit of one fleeting moment or do you have one well-constructed precise image that you have captured?

CJ: With flash you tend to get just the one shot at a subject. For one thing, the flash takes a moment to recharge. But also, once you’ve taken a shot, the person often becomes aware of your presence and their body language changes. Even if they are unaware of your presence or the flash firing, the scene has most likely changed anyway, and the moment is lost. Having been used to clicking away on digital, adjusting to having one shot with a flash has been a really helpful discipline.

 

RH: Within the editing stages, have you felt the project has taken on a different narrative than first envisaged?

CJ: I don’t know what I envisaged! My aim was always to just get out there for a year or so and take pictures, follow my instincts and see what themes naturally emerged. 

Copy Right - CJ Crosland - FlashBang
 

Tips and hints 

 

RH: What would you recommend for people starting their own photographic project?

CJ: Just get started! Focus on whatever you are instinctively drawn to, as that will be where your passion lies. If you come up with a theory of what you feel you “should” shoot, most likely you will run out of steam. Once you have gained some momentum and have a bunch of photos to review as a whole, then you can pause and consider “what am I doing? why am I doing it?”. That will give you the clues you need to start digging deeper.

 

RH: Does the camera really matter? 

CJ: Only in that the camera is what differentiates photography from other genres of expression, like painting or writing. Ideally, your camera needs to be good enough that it doesn’t hold you back. But the most important thing is your relationship with the camera – it’s about knowing your tool, so that it becomes an extension of your hand and eyes.

 

RH: Any books you would recommend reading to get the creativity started?

CJ: “The Photographer’s Playbook” by Fulford & Halpern. 

 

RH: Would you recommend attending photography workshops?

 

CJ: It depends! The main work is what you do for yourself, week in, week out. A workshop can potentially give you a push and some confidence right at the beginning, an enjoyable experience in its own right, or maybe an injection of new insight when you’re further along the line. I think it depends very much on the individual. I personally found that giving and receiving critiques from other photographers was the best way to learn. 

Copy Right - CJ Crosland - FlashBang

Copy Right - CJ Crosland - FlashBang

Copy Right - CJ Crosland - FlashBang
 

 

 


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