The life of Reilly

For Craig Reilly, chang­ing cam­eras led to a com­plete change of di­rec­tion, and he hasn’t looked back since

Amateur Photographer - - 7days -

Within the di­verse world of pho­tog­ra­phy we don’t al­ways find our niche straight away. For Craig Reilly it was a change of cam­era sys­tem that also in­spired him to try street pho­tog­ra­phy for the first time. Now he teaches work­shops in the sub­ject and is part of the pres­ti­gious Street Pho­tog­ra­phy In­ter­na­tional col­lec­tive (#spi­col­lec­tive) which, with more than 300,000 fol­low­ers, is one of the most pop­u­lar street pho­tog­ra­phy chan­nels on In­sta­gram.

‘When I had my DSLR I was shoot­ing mostly land­scapes, and some travel shots be­cause I was work­ing for Bri­tish Air­ways,' re­calls Craig. 'But it got to a point where I didn’t en­joy tak­ing my DSLR kit out with me, be­cause it was so big and heavy. When I bought my first mir­ror­less cam­era, the Olym­pus OM-D E-M10, the size and weight dif­fer­ence was as­tro­nom­i­cal. I could fit the body, with the 17mm lens, into my jacket pocket, and I didn’t no­tice any ap­pre­cia­ble loss in im­age qual­ity. It was a no-brainer.’

Craig started go­ing out in London with it, shoot­ing a few ur­ban land­scapes, and found the smaller cam­era worked to his ad­van­tage. ‘It made me in­con­spic­u­ous, and the tech­nol­ogy that it fea­tured – es­pe­cially the tilt screen and touch-shut­ter fea­tures (whereby you can fo­cus and shoot a pic­ture si­mul­ta­ne­ously by touch­ing the sub­ject on the screen) – which weren’t avail­able on my DSLR, re­ally lent them­selves to street pho­tog­ra­phy.

‘I started look­ing at street­pho­tog­ra­phy web­sites, and be­came in­spired by the work of other pho­tog­ra­phers work­ing in this genre, like Cartier-Bres­son, René Burri and Alex Webb. Be­fore long I started post­ing my own im­ages, and was get­ting re­ally pos­i­tive feed­back and it snow­balled from there.’

So what, for Craig, is the ap­peal of street pho­tog­ra­phy over land­scapes?

‘I guess I’m fas­ci­nated by hu­man in­ter­ac­tion – I’m a real peo­ple watcher – so cap­tur­ing these fleet­ing mo­ments re­ally ap­peals to me. Try­ing to find the in­ter­est­ing in the mun­dane, and cre­ate artis­tic im­ages from ev­ery­day life.’

Craig lives on the out­skirts of London, so the cap­i­tal is his stomp­ing ground. As he says, ‘I pretty much take the same routes all the time – the South Bank, St Pauls, the Bar­bican, Shored­itch, but I’ll al­ways end up at Tate Mod­ern. It’s such a giv­ing place for pho­tog­ra­phy. I’m in­ter­ested in the ge­om­e­try of the ur­ban land­scape. The shapes, the lead­ing lines, the sharp edges – these are things I use a lot in my work.’

As Craig be­came more se­ri­ous about his work he up­graded to the pro-spec Olym­pus OM-D E-M1 Mark II; a bit big­ger than the E-M10 but still tiny by DSLR stan­dards. Craig’s kit now com­prises the E-M1 Mark II plus three prime lenses.

‘I only work with primes, and the Mi­cro Four Thirds sys­tem has some

su­perb ones in the range. The 45mm in par­tic­u­lar is such a sharp lens, great for por­traits, though as a tele­photo it’s my least-used lens of the three. My go-to lens is the Voigtlän­der 25mm f/0.95. I shoot al­most wide open with it, around f/1.4. It's man­ual fo­cus only but I shoot fully in man­ual any­way – fo­cus­ing and ex­po­sure, for which I of­ten tend to use spot me­ter­ing. I have my cam­era set up very sim­ply.’

It is of­ten said that the cam­era is just a tool but as any DIY en­thu­si­ast will know, the choice of tool can have a di­rect im­pact on the re­sult. Al­though the E-M1 Mark II has a smaller sen­sor than Craig’s DSLR he feels he is get­ting bet­ter pic­tures, tech­ni­cally as well as aes­thet­i­cally.

craig reilly is a london-based street pho­tog­ra­pher and a mem­ber of the street pho­tog­ra­phy in­ter­na­tional col­lec­tive. see more of craig’s work at www.crai­greilly pho­tog­ra­phy.com, street­pho­tog­ra­phy in­ter­na­tional.com, on in­sta­gram @furby76

The cap­i­tal is Craig’s stomp­ing ground. As this at­mo­spheric shot taken at Tate Mod­ern tes­ti­fies

Craig takes time to find an in­ter­est­ing take on the mun­dane

A keen eye cer­tainly paid off in this shot

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