Through Their Eyes: Lynton Crabb
Lynton Crabb’s photography studio is just down the street from my apartment, but he travels all over the world for work. The copy for today’s interview was actually sent from a flight en route to Papua New Guinea! Lucky guy.
Although specialising in advertising and corporate photography, he also enjoys taking pictures during his time off, and sent me these fantastic street-shots from a recent jaunt to Tokyo. What I like about them is his focus on moments between people – I could build a whole narrative around that first image. After complimenting Lynton on the shot of the girl with the amazingly impractical nails, Lynton offered this advice about street photography – “I watch for a while first without holding up my camera then I just shoot quickly and try not to act too full on. Sometimes I just ask if I can take a pic too…..and then shoot before they can think about it too much.”
It can sometimes be hard to create insightful street photography without intruding and feeling like a menace, but I think Lynton has walked that line very well!
What was your last travel destination?
I have just returned from the Northern Territory in Australia where I was shooting their new tourism campaign. We were so lucky to have good weather for most of it. It had been raining heavily for the two weeks before we went and as the last shot finished a huge storm rolled in that apparently lasted for five days.
Name a place or experience that you really loved.
I recently completed a series of portraits of miners 1.6 kilometres underground. In the hot, humid and dark conditions my lens totally fogged up. I shot anyway, using the miners light on my helmet as well as positioning the people with me in various places to light the subjects. The fog produced a really unique effect. It was a bit out of control but I loved it.
How do you decide what gear to bring (bodies, lenses, flash, tripod, bags)? Do you try to pack light? What’s your minimum must-have gear?
Each project I am working on is unique so I try and have a clear understanding of what I am trying to achieve and then pack my gear to suit. For travelling it is definitely light, although I do take lighting and equipment options to the place I am travelling just in case. If I am shooting a candid series such as the Tokyo set, when heading out for the day, I choose a lens and then use it for the whole day. Then I may retrace my steps the next day with a completely different lens. I don’t take all my equipment with me, just the camera and one lens. This takes the technical decisions and choices out of the equation at shoot time and allows me to just observe and click. It also helps the individual body of work gel together as a series.
Have you ever planned a series before you left, or do you just wait and see what happens?
I always research before I travel and try to imagine what I might be shooting but still keep an open mind. I try to decide a few technical things in advance, such as; Will I be working in colour or B/W? Will I be most likely shooting people or landscapes? Will I be shooting at night and require a tripod for long exposure, etc.
What do you do with your photos when you get home? Would you ever use them in your portfolio? Have you ever landed any commercial work because of your travel shots?
I regard all of my photography as part of my body of work so I happily present my commercial and personal projects on the same web site and in my folio. Lots of my commercial projects have arisen through my personal work. Personal projects allow you to express yourself without any commercial restriction. The results of a personal projects can inspire a style for a commercial project and also give the perspective client a visual reference, hence confidence as to what his finished project can actually look like.
What would be your ultimate travel photography destination?
At the moment I keep thinking of taking a ship to the Arctic, shooting the journey, people and lifestyles of this region along the way. I suppose the landscapes on their own would be amazing, but its people and their interaction with the environment that excites me the most, with the landscape as a backdrop.