My name is Adam Crowe and I am from London, United Kingdom.
How long have you been taking pictures?
About three years now but it’s only become a serious endeavour in the past year.
When did you get into photography and why?
I’ve always enjoyed taking photographs but the first Hipstamatic and later Instagram apps were really the ones that gave me the most inspiration because all of a sudden, a lot more visual creativity was available instantly in the moment, but I was under no illusion that this was a professional way of doing this by no means. Nevertheless, it was a lot of fun, and as the camera on the iPhones got better and better, the interest grew until I started looking at proper cameras.
I am very fortunate to have very interesting friends, one of whom is the world’s leading authority on underwater filming. He’s directed and shot underwater scenes for seven Bond films, Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones, The Beach… you name it. His name is Mike Valentine (http://www.valentinefilms.com/) About three years ago, Mike had very kindly lent me his Canon 5D MkII with three superb Canon lenses and I was hooked. I saved up and invested in a Canon 5D MkIII which I’ve been using ever since.
What would you say your style is and has it changed throughout the years? If so why?
I’m not quite sure what the style is… I’m definitely inclined towards portraits rather than street work, and I am most inspired by modern photographers like Brandon Woelfel, Basti Hansen and Kai Böttcher and so many others. Their work is how I wish the world would look like in real life. Every shot of theirs is like a dream I’d like to live in.
How do you approach a shoot? Do you pre-plan or is it a click and run?
There is very little planning involved with most of my shoots apart from a very few specific occasions. We either get together somewhere in London and start walking around to find interesting locations and shoot, or we go somewhere specific we had planned or booked (i.e. a hotel, a park/garden or a restaurant) and improvise there. I carry a few props in my camera bag which we occasionally use but more and more lately we’ve been using whatever we find on location. I’m equally as excited to see what we end up with at the end of the day as I am about the shoot itself. Going into something unknown and unprepared is a little scary but it’s good to be scared. It keeps you alert and prevents you from getting complacent I find.
Is there an end goal you’re trying to achieve with your images, be it an aesthetic or story?
It’s less of a story but more of a feeling that hopefully a photo communicates. The really great works that I admire are a dreamy moment I would have loved to be a part of. I’m not sure how much their shots are planned to be this way - my guess is that they improvise and inspire the feeling on the spot and are terribly good at it, and of course at capturing that moment - but I’m certainly still learning. It sometimes works. And sometimes you think it worked but then when you finished editing the photo you end up looking at it and it’s less impressive than you thought it would be. It’s an odd process I find.
Do you have any influences you can share? I am constantly looking at out people’s work. Most notably:
There’s really many more. They’re a constant inspiration and a source of envy :)
What inspires you?
People, moments, the photographers I mentioned earlier. It’s a wonderful escape from reality.
Is there such a thing as a bad photograph?
Oh sure… I’ve done plenty of those.
Are you looking for a career in photography or are you just having fun?
Can’t I do both???
Which social media platforms do you use and why?
Mainly Instagram. That’s where it started and where I have the most following. I do have a 500px account but I’m not too sure why. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Which photographers do you mainly follow on social media? All the inspirational people I mentioned and many many more. Instagram is full of fantastically skilled, talented and wonderful people.
What are your thoughts on mobile photography versus DSLR / mirrorless?
It’s a fact of life. A similar revolution is hitting other industries as well and we just have to adapt. Music recording has been revolutionised and made more accessible than ever first with a cassette recorder, then with an affordable tape machine then with various digital formats, then computers and now mobile phones. Photography has in fact been less affected over the years. Many more technologies will arise and quicker than ever. To me it’s much more about what you than what you do it with. Maybe a mobile phone is more than enough for that gorgeous shot of the latest food dish for your influencer account… but currently it’s not enough for a fast professional shoot workflow. The physical performance of a DSLR it’s difficult to beat, especially for sports or any fast-paced events. Mirrorless is catching up and is remarkable but unfortunately it seems to rely a lot on on-board post-processing, so it seems to eat the batteries unreasonably fast. Otherwise, the results are quite astonishing on modern mirrorless cameras.
What’s your main go to camera, lenses and how did you make that choice? I shot on a Canon 5D MkIII because I was getting familiar with a friend’s 5D MkII so it was an easy transition. It was a relatively affordable system - especially compared to performance and features. It’s a commonly accepted workhorse of a camera. Very reliable but a little on the heavier side.
I initially bought a Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 lens because it was the best value for money lens I could afford. It served me for about a year while I was learning what I was doing. I recommend it as a very good first lens. I slowly learned about the performance advantages of prime lenses and started saving up. I sold the Tamron lens and now own two Sigma lenses - 35mm and 50mm f/1.8 Art DG HMS. They are excellent. Can’t recommend them enough.
I just really wish the whole thing didn’t have to be so heavy… A full day of carrying this system strapped to my hand takes its toll.
What is your dream location to shoot at? Oh man… the list is too long. You see these high fashion photographers who get to travel to exotic islands and you just drool. What an awesome lifestyle.
Describe your favourite picture and how you captured it? It’s a photo of a girl standing on a utility cabinet and leaning on her father for balance holding a Pride flag in Piccadilly Circus during London Pride this year. I saw her from a distance, ran over, got her attention and quickly took that shot. It was genuine. She didn’t have time to pretend for the camera. To me, it’s a proof that we are not born prejudice. It gives me hope.
In three words how would you describe your photography?
Slowly getting better.
How do you feel about better quality cameras being put into smart phones? Like I said, it’s inevitable. Would it have been so different if it was little Point-and-Shoot cameras that were getting better and affecting DSLR sales? Technology moves forward. It’s just what it does.
What are your thoughts on expensive cameras? Do you think they create better images? In my experience, they certainly can. The performance of Leica cameras and lenses is jaw-dropping. There’s so much depth and drama. At the very least, they allow you to take more risks and shoot under conditions you could not have with many other systems. Under equivalent circumstances, these more expensive systems can produce an image that could inspire you to edit differently. Just have a look at the incredible work by Alan Schaller. The guy is mind blowing. You tell me if a Leica is worth it. It would be a dream to own a Leica system one day.