While shooting street photography, Craig Whitehead wants his images to convey the feeling he is trying to capture. Perhaps even more important than technical knowledge, Craig says that a photographer should be driven by instinct and go for the images one wants to make, and not force the magic to happen.
Craig is a street photographer based in Cambridge, UK. He shoots images that are spontaneous, and atmospheric. His studies of light and motion and color are reminiscent of the work of Saul Leiter in that they impart a sense of strong composition, layering and "delicate painterly light", as Craig would describe Leiter’s influences upon his own work.
As a photographer and teacher, Craig both shoots and guides others in workshops held in and around London because it affords students a chance to get in close to people on the street and start making images. When it comes to his workshops, Craig says his approach come down to the basics for street photography.
"It comes to confidence building, getting past that fear of getting close on the street. We will show them how we do it, and then have the participants put the things we have taught into practice. Street photography is mostly a solo activity, so they need to get past that fear on their own. We also focus on predicting and visualizing scenes, pointing out frames and layers - aspects most people just haven't trained their eye to see, so it really helps the participants to understand what to look for and they begin to see them themselves."
I asked him if he walked out the door today, what gear would he use in the street? "My one body and one lens choice would be the X-Pro2 and the XF56mm F1.2, without question", Craig said. "There is no combination I am happier shooting. everyone suffers from G.A.S. (gear acquisition syndrome) at some point in the photographic journey, and the moment you stop and think ‘Why would I need anything else?’, then you've found the perfect set up. This is it for me."
He added, "I do carry an X100F as well - as sometimes I come across a scene that just requires that wider lens. Although it doesn't get used often, when it does, it is absolutely vital. Having something that mirrors the ergonomics of the X-Pro2 is brilliant also."
When asked what it is about shooting with a Fujifilm camera that allows him to express himself best, Whitehead relates his experience as such:
"I honestly never felt as inspired to go and shoot until I moved to Fujifilm. I guess it comes down to having gear that inspires you, you're excited to pick it up. You want to go out and use it all the time. It also comes down to having gear that gets out of the way when you're shooting. The analog dials along with the nature of mirrorless cameras allow you to see your exposure, and make everything so fast to manipulate that I'm not thinking about or looking at numbers as I make changes. I’m no longer thinking about aperture as a number and where I set it. In a detail shot of rain, I’m thinking about it in the moment as a control for how much clarity I want in my out-of-focus areas. It becomes less technical and more creative at that point when you don't have to think about your gear; and I've never had that with any other system."
Cary Benbow is a photographer and writer living in Greenfield, Indiana, USA. His articles, interviews, and book reviews have been published in a number of online and print magazines.