CHRIS GRAY is an exceptionally talented and creative portraits and events photographer currently based in Newcastle Upon Tyne.
I interviewed Chris for Alexandra Rose Creative
Q: How long have you been a photographer, and how did you first become interested in this profession?
A: I started photography at university back in 2011, having never held a professional camera in my life. University taught me the basics of photography. It wasn’t until I left university that I developed my own style. I learnt a lot from ‘trial and error’. I took photos whenever possible to build my skills. I also self taught myself via YouTube tutorials.
Q: Did you find photography easy or difficult to get into?
A: When I left university, I was offered a job in Ibiza as a nightlife photographer. I had no experience in this particular style of photography and it was a complete learning curve to me. I had to learn more about ambient lighting rather than the studio lighting I was used to.
Q: Have there been any times when you’ve wanted to quit?
A: I recently went through a 4 month phase this year where I didn’t even want to pick up my camera. Due to personal circumstances, I felt like I had lost interest. I went back to Ibiza and my love for photography came back.
Q: Was photography your first career choice?
A: Photography was not my first career choice no, it was anything to do with computing. I had self taught myself since the age of 11 and figured that would be the path I would take.
Q: What first got you interested in photography?
A: I’ve always liked images which make you stop and take notice. My ex partner studied photography and it was her who pushed me to follow my own career goals in the same industry.
Q: What’s your signature/preferred style to shoot? (If you have one)
A: Most of my work you will find is fairly ‘dark’. It’s simply my preferred method of shooting. There is way too much glamour and soft looking images out there for my liking so I want to focus my camera at something different, and mysterious.
Q: What’s been your favourite shoot so far?
A: My favourite shoot absolutely has to be my most recent shoot at Whitley Bay. One of my favourite models had said she would like to shoot with me for the casting I had put up. It was a fashion shoot on the beach which again, would have a dark theme to it to go along with my style. Upon arriving to the beach the tide was in which meant my initial idea was no good. We didn’t want to leave the shoot and decided we would produce the same image on the rocks ,instead of sand. However, the sea was very rough and the waves were crashing against the rocks. We only needed 2-3 final images. The image I wanted to capture to most was to have the waves crashing up behind the model to give it an ‘intense action’ shot. While trying to capture this a huge wave came over and soaked myself and the camera. It wasn’t until I got home and checked the images that I realised I had captured the EXACT shot I wanted, only better than I could have hoped for.
Q: And your worst?
A: The worst shoot would have to have been when I lived in Scotland. I had planned a shoot to be published in a magazine, and I had contacted a very nice hotel for use of a room for 3-4 hours. Everything was going great until the model contacted me 30 minutes late to inform me she couldn’t get to the hotel. I had to pick her up which made us miss the first hour of shooting. The model had also been on a very heavy night and had broken out in heavy red spots. This meant the makeup artist took around two hours to try and hide the blemishes as not to reflect on the images. When it came down to shooting, the model had very little to no modelling experience. She had actually lied when applying for the casting. Because of all of these factors, the whole event was a disaster and none of the photos were published.
Q: Who’s been your favourite model to work with and why?
A: Maz Ulvants. We have only worked together 3 times but each shoot has gone beyond my expectations. Maz plans the outfits and makeup and I plan the final images and locations. I cannot fault her professionalism and she is by far my favourite model to work with.
Q: How have you seen your business progress over the last 6 months?
A: My main income is mainly from Events photography. I recently spent the summer in Ibiza again so upon returning to Newcastle, I found that I didn’t have as much work available as I had before. Thankfully in the few shorts months of me being back, I’ve received a lot of bookings and now I am looking to move towards family orientated photography.
Q: Can you name some of the companies you’ve worked for?
A: I’ve shot for many companies! The main one that I assume people will know about would be the world famous Mambos in Ibiza but also some superclubs such as Es Paradis, Eden and Gatecrasher. I’ve also worked for Kisstory, Colours, international DJ Jack Eye Jones and brands such as Boohoo Man, Nimes Clothing, Aces Couture and Natasha Kieran to name but a few!
Q: Where do you see yourself in 3 years time professionally?
A: In 3 year’s I would like to have my own studio open shooting for big brand names. I am hoping this will be based in Australia!
If you’re a media company looking to book a photographer, or a model looking to add to your portfolio then contact Chris Gray Photography at http://www.chris-gray.me/