Interview with Photographer Craig Anderson

Can everything be Black and White

Photographer: Craig Anderson
Female Model: Trystan


- Could you tell us about how you became involved with photography and realised you wanted to be a photographer?

My interest in photography started while still at school where a friend and I built our first Pin Hole camera. Unfortunately I did not pursue it any further and it became more of a hobby for the next 25 years, however the love for it never really left. After spending most of my working career working for a luxury car brand, I finally plucked up the courage to leave and follow what I was passionate about. I have always had the desire to photograph people, and street photography was where I found I felt most at home. On the street you can capture all sorts of emotions and this allowed me to tell the stories I have always wanted to tell.
The street taught me everything there is to know about photography, from setting up my camera, learning to see light, composition and the ability to make a connection with someone for the briefest of moments. From there it was a short hop to into fashion, weddings and the regular commercial work.

- Do you think that photography has changed you in any way? What do you love most about Photography?

Photography is so dynamic, it is an ever changing form of art. I have been a full time photographer for the last 10 years and every time I pick up my camera I get that incredible nervous rush that I got the first time I picked up a camera. Photography has always been a personal journey of discovery where I create my own imagery. Some like it, others don’t and that is what makes it so incredible, that I am able to create something that inspires me and I get to see what inspires others. I think sometime we get bogged down by rules and too often try and be to safe just so that we will have more people like our work. This is evident with the huge rise in social media platforms like Instagram. If we all stuck to the rules we would surely all have similar images to show and where is the fun in that. For me, I shoot what I like, how I like and not for likes.
Staying true to yourself is more important to me than creating images for others. I know there will always be people who enjoy my work as well as those who don’t and we often find ourselves focussing on those who don’t , trying desperately to understand why. I choose to spend my time with those that do. It’s a lot more fun and you learn a great deal more about yourself.

- Do you have any favourite pieces of equipment you couldn’t live without?

There is that saying “gear doesn’t matter” and “the best gear is the gear you have.” To a large extent I agree with that, but at the end of the day gear doesn’t matter until it does. I couldn’t do the work I do today with the gear I used 10 years ago, it’s just not possible. So what gear matters to me……LENSES. You can always find light, you can always find a reasonable camera body, but boy it’s hard to be without good glass. I am fortunate to have many lenses, but the 4 that are always close at hand are my Nikkor 70-200 f2.8, Nikkor 24-120 f4, Sigma 85mm f1.4 and my Nikkor 50mm f1.8


- If you had unlimited resources who and what would you photograph?

My dream is to go to Cuba for at least 2 months so I can immerse myself in their culture and photograph the people. Life for me is about telling stories, listening to stories and capturing those stories with my camera. Cuba would be the start of the journey as once you have done that I think it would be hard to stop.

- How do you keep yourself motivated when it comes to creating your editorials?

My next work is my best work. I am constantly trying to learn more about my craft every day. Coming up with concepts is easy, its executing them which is the difficult part. I learnt early on that you need to surround yourself with other creative people who are as passionate about what they do as you are. Finding that team is crucial to success, especially when the going gets tough. My sets are first and foremost a fun place to be. It is important for me to make sure that the team is happy. Happy people work harder and go the extra mile.

- What is the impression you want viewers to get from your work?

There is more to my shoots than just getting images. I try to tell a story and that story comes from the eyes. To me it is far more important that I get the right mood and feel from my images than being sharp or the exposure being spot on. Getting the right look, feel and mood for the images is much harder to do. You will have had to make some kind of connection with your model in order for you to convey what you are looking for and for them to understand what you need from each set. So I hope you see that connection in my images.


- Do you have any tips for photographers/creatives at the start of their journey?

Make sure you understand how to manage a business and have a good knowledge of marketing. I have seen many talented photographers fail because they didn’t understand simple business principals. It is so important to realise that knowing how to run a business will allow you to be a photographer. To many young creative fixate on creating their own style or box themselves into one genre of photography.
If you are good photographer you should be able to shoot anything and not just stick to one genre. Secondly, creating your own style is important to tell be able to tell your stories in your own way, but I can tell you that your style will change all the time. If I look back at how I was shooting 10 years ago, although still proud of my work, that style has changed completely.
Thirdly, be bold enough to create your own stories and remember if you are shooting following rules, your images will be the same as everyone else who follows the rules. Experiment, it will keep you sharp and ahead of the pack.

- What do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment to date?

Accomplishment are strange things. They can be big , like being on a cover or they could be small like meeting someone who you have admired or capturing that perfect shot. Getting that call from that model who you thought didn’t know you. I suppose if I had to pick, it would be my first exhibition and seeing my work printed on large canvasses for the first time. Nothing quite prepares you for that feeling.

- Is there any thing key in the future your aiming for?

At least half of my time is spent doing workshops, talks, training and mentoring. It’s something I have become very passionate about and travel throughout South Africa doing this. Recently I have launched my on-line training and mentoring programs which have proven to be very successful and I will be spending more time growing that part of my business. I have always wanted to do workshops in Europe and the USA, but still working on that plan.

- Thank you for featuring within INTRA, where could viewers find more information about you and connect with your work?

Web:  www.craiganderson.co.za
IG: @craigandersonphotography  &  @craigandersonstreet
FB:  Kreate Photography Academy