1. Can you please tell us a few words about yourself, where are you from.
My name is Cassian Gray and I am a half-Spanish, 23 year old photographer from south London. I am an only child and have lived my whole life just me and my mother.
2. What is your photography story, how did you start? How did you get where you are now?
I guess the story began when I was 12 and my mother handed me a small Lumix that had an incredible zoom. I would go around, finding small insects and birds and photographing them, amazed by this device that could see closer and freeze time. Many years later I began a photography degree at Kingston School of Art. This is when I realised that photography is something I will do my whole life and aim to sustain my life from, creating a professional career from the medium I love.
3. What’s your favourite gear to use (camera, lens, film) ?
Has to be the Mamiya RZ67 with the 110mm 2.8 lens. There’s no beating it. I recently got a Hasselblad 500cm and have been loving it, yet there’s simply no beating the RZ. I should probably get a digital camera soon as I’m perhaps stuck in the past. I often think I was born in the wrong era.
4. What do you enjoy shooting the most? And Why?
People, because I love how the camera can act as a facilitator of engagement between myself and a stranger. This is what really attracts me to the medium – chance encounters with strangers that would otherwise pass unnoticed. I’ve also been shooting a lot during the night recently, exploring the empty suburbs and reflecting on life and the pandemic.
5. How do you educate yourself to take better photos?
I love looking through photo books – there’s nothing better than seeing a photograph in the flesh, in a sequence, part of something bigger. A tiny image on an iPhone screen could never equate to the tangible object. And to make better photos I’m just self critical and examine my photographs to see what I could’ve done better, compositionally or otherwise.
6. Have you ever doubted yourself? And what helped you to overcome that?
Of course, it’s the artist’s way I feel… And I don’t think social media really helps this self-doubt as naturally you are constantly in comparison to others. I guess doubting yourself shows you care. Overcoming those feelings has to come from within, be hungry for that image you know you can one day make, or the connection that can flourish from that. Often if I’m doubting myself it helps to take a step back, perhaps don’t shoot for a week or two, don’t even look at your images. Do something different like reading a book, and then return to your practice with a different, fresh and rested perspective.
7. What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer for you?
For me, the most rewarding part is when you get an image that you think has the potential to stand the test of time an image that’s going to age like a fine wine, and hopefully one day people will look at it and think back to a time when things were different. Some of my favourite places to shoot in London I highly doubt will be around in 25-30 years’ time, and representing places like that during their prime is a beautiful thing.
8. Among your works, which one is your favourite? Tell us the story behind it.
I think currently my favourite image of mine is of my dear friend and fellow photographer, Joss Matthews. He is pictured in the garden, two months after he graduated from university. He gazes into the sky as the clouds take over, and to me I wonder what he’s thinking about; perhaps he wonders what the future holds. This moment of limbo, after education and before life… It’s also just a beautiful image.
9.What gives you inspiration?
The world. Everything’s inspiring. There’s beauty everywhere. We get so bogged down with life and the relentless passing of time when in reality there’s so much to be grateful for and it’s easy to forget that. I take inspiration from the trees, the clouds, as well as other photographers, painters and artists. Music also inspires me and I don’t know what my life would be without it.
10. Exactly what it is you want to say with your photographs?
I guess I want the images to speak for themselves and for the people who look at them to take away their own personal truth, their own interpretation. We live in such an image saturated world that I want my images to stop people and make them look. I aim to make beauty become apparent.