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CASE STUDY:

Wayne Crichlow

Competing on Sky Arts Master
of Photography

Wayne Crichlow, Postgraduate Diploma student at the British Academy of Photography, has a unique ability to observe and represent life unfolding in front of him by showing the connection between the subject he sees in their environment. Born in London’s East End, Wayne’s passion for street photography grew in the early days with a modest bridge camera. “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.”

Capturing everyday life events as they happen, and at every opportunity, he is intrigued by the creative freedom which photography brings as a creative outlet.

Finding the right course

Wayne attended a PG Diploma Course, classroom based in London, at the British Academy Photography. This was his first contact with the industry and where he learned the more technical aspects of photography. The classes helped him evolve as a student and grow into an amazing photographer. 

“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 students on my course was 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.

Wayne Crichlow

Sky Arts Master of Photography

Wayne was a contestant on the TV show, Sky Arts Master of Photography, a competition run over 8 weeks in which ten contestants compete to convince a jury of internationally renowned photographers and industry experts that they have the skill, instinct and versatility to become the next Sky Arts Master of Photography. The TV show which airs on Sky Arts HD across five countries; the UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy and Austria involves contestants competing in a series of photographic challenges to prove their creative and technical skills.

“It was fairly insane really. It came straight off the back of the commendation I got from Sony which gave me courage to try something different,” says Wayne. Having watched Master of Photography previously, Wayne was in two minds about whether to apply or not but then says “I sent the application, forgot about it and carried on working.”

When the call came in to say he’d been selected for the show Wayne says he was momentarily speechless. “I put the phone down and then thought ‘how am I going to tell work?’.”

A journey of discovery

“When I entered the show my forte was candid street photography,” reflects Wayne. “I knew from the get-go that the show would have various different tasks and all the other contestants would have different strengths; some of them were really good at portraits, some social documentary.” But, as he acknowledges, the whole idea of the show is to bring everybody onto an equal level through the various tasks.

“I went into the show not thinking so much about the end game of winning but more of the journey, can I actually push myself from what I’m currently doing, find my way through the different tasks and, as a consequence, develop more of an understanding of my visual language and where my photography is going?”

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.

Wayne Crichlow

Finding his visual voice

“It was a great experience,” recalls Wayne. “It leant on my other skills which are more  interpersonal – to be able to socialise with people, to get them to reveal themselves and then to take the images that best betray them. And also to work under a strict timeframe – it was all done in four hours: meet, greet, shoot, gone. So there was massive pressure but I was liking it.”

“For an amateur photographer like myself, competing against professional photographers and other amateur photographers, flying around the world, meeting someone like Sebastião Salgado, it was an amazing experience. It’s definitely worthwhile doing. So if you’re thinking about it, just do it to see what happens.”

Wayne went from an amateur photographer to a humanist storyteller as his visual language evolved. Documenting the effects of social change and the movement for racial & social justice, Wayne is an advocate for those voices whose story needs to be told. The Postgraduate Diploma course has given Wayne the foundation and skills needed to evolve as a professional photographer and seize opportunities that allow him to grow and showcase his amazing work.

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