Welcome to 'Where When How Wednesday'. In these weekly...ok probably sporadic posts I'll be interviewing creatives about their journey into the creative world, their works, and what makes them tick. This week I'm interviewing Mike Croshaw, a talented photographer based in Reading, Berkshire.
Hi Mike, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. We should probably start at the beginning, when and how did you come about getting into the world of photography?
"I started about 4 years ago now. My twin brother, who was an excellent photographer, was shooting in Wokingham with a model called Dee. I popped along just to say hello and have a cup of tea, but I found the whole thing fascinating and decided I wanted to give it a go. Sadly my brother has had to give up photography due to a brain injury, but it's nice to think I'm carrying on in the family name!"
Photography can have it's share of problems. I personally have a particular problem with self confidence. This confidence issue can and has caused me issues with my photography. Do you find any aspects of photography particularly challenging?
"The most challenging thing for me is not buying any more new gear that I don't need and can't afford! In all seriousness, the big problem for me is balancing the demands of photography with family life and a full time job. I can feel pretty stretched thin and balancing it all so that it doesn't really impact my wife and kids too much is something I'm still working on."
Photography, especially online, tends to fall into specific genres and/or gets described as being a specific style. The trouble with this is it's quite subjective, the style someone views an image to be can often differ to the style the person creating it views it as. How would you describe the work you are putting out there?
"That's a really difficult question for me, more so than most I suspect. Most people gravitate to particular areas of photography, but I am very happy as an all rounder. I shoot studio, location, weddings, women, men (not enough of those, need to do more!). I also try and vary my focal lengths and processing style all the time, as I get bored otherwise. I guess I'm more a fashion/portrait photographer than anything else. I'd like to say fine art, but I don't think I'm there yet. So lets say wannabee fine art & portrait photographer."
In my series 'Foto Inspiration Friday' I share the people, images, places etc that I find give me inspiration. Who, or what, or where do you draw inspiration from?
"500px is my best source at the moment, especially the Russian photographers, some of their output is phenomenal and very humbling. I like Frank Doorhof and Brooke Shaden as well, although the relentless copying of Brooke's work is kind of diminishing it's impact a little I feel."
Sometimes images hold a special significance to us. It can be the first image we ever made, it can be an image drawing attention to a cause close to our hearts, it can simply be an image of someone we love. Do you have an image or images that hold a special significance to you?
"Not from the modelling world, but plenty of family photos, especially of my kids. I spend a lot of my spare time documenting my family life, but its also something I keep separate from the internet modelling world (although I do put some up on my blog). In terms of modelling photos there are plenty that have good memories or associations, but I don't get sentimental about them, you are only as good as your last shot!"
Photography sometimes leaves you open to scary or funny situations. What's the scariest or funniest situation you've found yourself in because of photography?
"Plenty of funny ones, not too many scary ones. The last wedding I did was kind of scary as my flashgun decided to go on the fritz just as I was about to take the big group shot. I'd had to get the train into London so didn't have my normal full level of kit. We didn't have time to mess around either, so I had to shoot it at ISO12800. Luckily it worked out ok but I was sweating bullets at the time. The first time I went on an urbex shoot was kind of nerve wracking too. The funniest one I can remember was at Studland, the one time I went there. There were about a dozen models there in various rooms, many shooting up to art nude. A couple came around to view the venue as they were getting married. The poor guy didn't know where to look, and the models kept giving him cheeky waves from the windows. His fiance was not impressed!"
We've talked about your start in photography, we talked about your current work, let's quickly chat about the future. What have you got coming up this year, more of the same? any special projects? And in regards to a more long term plan, where are you hoping your creative journey will take you in the years to come?
"I've got a few weddings in the pipeline, although I'm not really going after them anymore, I'm happy just teaching every now and then and trying to increase my own skill level. I'm doing a lot of post processing training at the moment, and trying to put together big shoots with full teams. Every year I challenge myself to work on a couple of aspects of photography. Last year it was wide angle fashion and speedlights, this year it's using colour for fashion shoots, and putting together really big productions. Beltcraft and Amersham Studios were the first two of these, and the next is in the summer, so I've got some organising to do! I'm not planning on going full time or anything, quite happy being an amateur. There is no long term plan, just to keep trying to get better!"
Now for the shameless self promotion part of the interview...where can people find you and your work?
"My favourite portfolio site: http://500px.com/mcroshaw
My blog, which is of particular interest to Fuji users: http://www.mikecroshaw.com
Again, I'd like to thank Mike for taking the time to answer a few questions for me, be sure to check out all the links for more of his work.
Models in the above images (in order of appearance) Zara Watson, Angel, Oryx, Amber Rose, Anna Rose, Mossy.