In this showcase series we feature the photography of Stewart Craig.
Stewart, can you tell us how you got started in photography?
I’m a self-taught photographer originally from Scotland but since 2000 living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I’ve always loved looking at photography but never really tried it myself – until six years ago when I bought my first SLR camera. Intimidated by all the buttons on my new camera, I quickly taught myself the technical aspects of photography by reading online tutorials and chat rooms.
I taught myself the aesthetics of photography through systematic analysis of the photos of some of the great photographers that I admire, trying to understand and deconstruct what makes a great photo, and applying the formula to my own work. Over time I’ve honed a very specific photographic aesthetic.
Sometimes I spend long periods of time agonizing over the most pleasing perspective for a particular subject; in this sense, my approach to photography is very consciously-driven. Other times I just simply point and shoot a subject with little regard to the actual subject and perspective, yielding a photo that is quite thought-provoking.
Tell us more about this series?
My primary photographic theme is consumerism and the American structural landscape. Being relatively new to the United States, I have a keen eye and deep curiosity for the structural hallmarks of American community and commercialism. The roads, cars, signs, and storefronts are uniquely situated, styled, and branded in a way that reflects American society.
Stylistically, I use close-ups, vanishing points, and good depth-of-field to create a sense of dramatic spatial dimension to emphasize the themes in my work. One of those themes, as seen in the chosen images, is American reliance on the car enabling consumer-driven lives. The photos are rich in color and perspective but devoid of people – a deliberate ploy to highlight the emptiness and superficial aspects of consumer culture.
Tell us more about this series?
The majority of my photos are shot with a Canon EOS 30D camera paired with a Sigma 10-20mm (f/4-5.6) lens which is fitted with a circular polarizer. I just recently upgraded my camera to the Canon EOS 60D. I chose Canon’s EOS range because of its proven track record as a quality and reliable but affordable prosumer camera. I chose the Sigma lens for rendering my subjects in wide-angles and vibrant colors to attain a dramatic, almost cinematic, quality in my work.
I shoot in RAW and process my photos in Corel’s AfterShot Pro, a great (perhaps understated) photo-editing program. My rule in photography is to shoot with hardware, not with software. This means I have mastered my equipment – camera, lens, tripod – and learn my light at the time of a given photo shoot in order to capture the best possible photos. I use AfterShot Pro to apply minimal, but necessary, edits to my photos including white balance and color correction, sharpness, and contrast.
Do you have any new projects planned for the near future?
The various themes on my website are ongoing, but I plan to wrap these up by selecting a final few photos (15 at most) that best exemplify each theme.
I intend to group all these themes under one project entitled Unconcealed Locales. I’m now just beginning to think about new projects that will be distinct from, yet broadly fall under the category of, the American structural landscape, but which will have a more specialized and nuanced theme.
Photophique has express permission to publish these images and Stewart Craig retains full copyright to all photographs featured in this showcase series.Back to Top