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Art January, 8 2010

Curated Q&A | Craig Wetherby

Photographer Craig Wetherby is well known for his keen documentation of action sports and musical subjects. Born, raised, and still living in New York, Wetherby works as photo editor of Frank151 and is a frequent contributor to publications ranging from Snowboard Magazine to The Wall Street Journal. Additionally, he has shot campaigns for Burton, Casio, Def Jam, and many more.

This week, Wetherby launched a new website featuring a brilliant selection of his past work. In celebration of the launch I asked Craig a few questions, and he was also polite enough to offer to share six of his favorite images.

Read the interview and see the remaining five photographs after the jump.

CM: What brought you to photography?

CW: I’ve always liked taking pictures but I originally chose a career in the medical field so I went to Radiology School to become an X-Ray Tech. After I worked in hospitals for a couple of years I decided that this wasn’t really how I wanted to live my life so began focusing more on photography. After a few years of shooting my friends skating, snowboarding and playing music, I was convinced that I needed to keep doing what I enjoyed most so it eventually evolved into more of a career.

CM: Your approach appears similar despite a solid range of subject matter – from music to action sports. Do you have a notion of how you want your work to look? Specific things on any assignment that you are trying to find?

CW: Not really to be honest. I look at every assignment differently and just adapt to the situation. I find that my style allows me to work in any given scenario with a wide range of subject matter and have been fortunate to always come out with some good material. I guess I’m just capturing moments in time…

CM: Tell me a little about your set up…. what do you shoot with?

CW: One of my first cameras was the Nikon 6006 35mm SLR. I got that when I first started shooting and then saved up some change to upgrade to the Nikon F4. I still use the F4 and its the most reliable piece of equipment I’ve ever owned. I also shoot with my Mamiya 645 when necessary and like to travel around with my Contax G1. I don’t really like to shoot with digital cameras because film has a completely different feel to it. I like the gritty, rough images and prefer that over the crisp, perfect images that you get when shooting digi.

CM: Some of my personal favorites from the site (which I’ve seen before) are photographs of Ricky Powell. Do you see yourself as part of lineage that includes guys like Powell, and even an Oriol?

CW: Well, both of these guys are friends of mine and I’ve always respected their work and style. We all shoot similar subject matter and primarily still shoot with film. To be considered a descendant of these legends in the game is an honor.

CM: It’s well documented that you are self taught. Any assignments or meetings that have pushed you in new directions and played a significant roll in defining your personal aesthetic?

CW: Trial and error is basically the method of how I taught myself to take pictures. I really didn’t know much when I started shooting and after wasting thousands of dollars on film and developing I realized that I needed to finally learn what  the hell I was doing so I bought some books. Also shooting in challenging situations like in the pit at a Slayer show or hanging off the side of a mountain in the snow kinda pushes you to react with the quickness and you need to really be on your toes to ensure that you get the shot.

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