The Man In The Middle
If you have seen a CRG bout in the last few years you have undoubtedly noticed the man in the middle of the action, spinning with his camera in dizzying circles to capture the one of a kind shots that you can only find at a live roller derby event. Oh yeah, and he has a really cool beard. Have you seen him?
That is Joshua Craig and we think he is amazing. So amazing, in fact, that several skaters wrote in with their very own questions for our favorite photographer and, just like his photography, his answers didn’t disappoint us.
CRG: How did you hear about CRG?
JC: Research, research, research. My wife was finishing graduate school and beginning to look for jobs. We knew that meant we weren’t going to be in the Oklahoma City area, so I said I’m willing to go anywhere, but they need to have a roller derby league. I would’ve gone to a place without one to support her, but I’m really glad we ended up in Raleigh!
CRG:Have you ever photographed roller derby before CRG?
JC: I shot for the Tornado Alley Rollergirls and the Victory Dolls in Oklahoma City for about a year and a half before we moved to Raleigh.
CRG: What draws you to the sport?
JC: I absolutely love roller derby. It’s fast, it’s hard hitting, it’s a challenge to shoot. Plus, the people are really interesting and extremely nice.
Originally I was drawn to it for the spectacle. I loved that the teams like the Valkyrie Vixens were dressed up like viking she-warriors and Cell Block 9 wore prison jumpsuits. That was a heck of a lot of fun. Who doesn’t want to see that?
The more I was involved though, the more I realized what amazing athletes these ladies were. This wasn’t just fake wrestling on quads. This was real.
CRG: Do you have a “derby name”?
JC: I keep trying to come up with one, but I’ve never been satisfied with any of them. I’m open for suggestions.
CRG: Do you photograph other sports?
JC: I don’t photograph any other sports on a regular basis, but I’m drawn to less mainstream sports. I’ve shot a couple BMX/Skateboarding events, I shot Highlands Games back in April. That was amazing. I keep meaning to get out and shoot some rugby.
CRG: How did you get started in photography?
JC: For years I had music as my creative outlet. When that was no longer my focus, I still felt the pull to do something creative.
I truly believe that there is beauty to be found in everything, we just aren’t always looking for it. I felt like photography could really help me show people some of what it is that I see.
CRG: What was your very first camera and how old were you when you got it?
JC: Cheap Kodak point and shoot digital back in 2000 or something.. I just used it to do snapshots. I didn’t really get into photography until around 2005. I kept feeling the pull to do something more creative with my life. My wife and her family picked up on it and bought me a Canon Rebel (film) SLR for Christmas. After shooting my first few rolls of film I was hooked. Ended up getting a digital Rebel XT about 4 months later. So early thirties for my first real camera…
CRG: Are you a photographer for a living?
JC: Nope, maybe one of these days. Clients people, I need them..
I’m actually a code-monkey. I’m fortunate enough to make my living doing something else I have great passion for. Building standards compliant, accessible websites.
I’m the guy who takes the pretty pictures from the visual designers and translates them to code. Hard for me to believe I’ve been able to do that for nearly 17 years now.
CRG: What is your favorite thing to photograph?
JC: Take a look at my flickr site it’s dominated by derby, so I guess right now that’s my favorite. I’m thinking I want to start taking more portraits though. I’m really happy with some of the black and white “pseudo-portraits” I’ve been getting at the Skate Ranch.
CRG: Do you get dizzy from spinning around capturing the action?
JC: You would think so, especially as fast as you have to spin to follow the action. I’ve been fortunate that it’s not a problem for me.
CRG: Do you have a favorite rollergirl to photograph?
JC: Well, a friend of mine seems to think I do, but I honestly just try to shoot where the action is.
CRG: Do you have other hobbies?
JC: I’ve got a few guitars and other stringed instruments. I haven’t played seriously in several years, but I still bust them out from time to time. I’ve also started kayaking recently.
CRG: If you could photograph anything, what would it be?
JC: This is a tough question. I like to shoot a lot of stuff. I would love to do more music photography. I would love to do more travel photography. Maybe I could travel around and do music photography. Yeah.. I think that’s a winner.
CRG: Do you use product in your beard?
JC: Less now than I used to. I learned from experience that “product” is extremely flammable.
Now that you know the man in the middle, say hi to him. Better yet, book him for some photography jobs- we could surely come up with fifty or sixty letters of recommendation! But you don’t have to take our word for it, check out his work on flickr or his website. We know you will be impressed!
Thank you for everything you do for CRG, Joshua!
Contributed by Hot Mess Express