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5th September 2012
Pause for thought
Title of film: 30 Century Man
Director: Antony Crook
Photographer-director Antony Crook creates considered yet understated works that play with light and location to startling effect

Across both his stills and video projects Antony Crook’s style demonstrates a delicate calm that pulls his protagonists to the forefront of his elegantly constructed narratives and creates a space for quiet contemplation. His projects to date include fashion films for the likes of Jaeger and Oki-Ni and the beguiling short 30th Century Man, featuring Mogwai’s track How To Be A Werewolf.

How and why did you first get into photography and what was the catalyst for your move into film?

I was always very interested in art, which led me to an Art Foundation course in Manchester when I was 18. It was there that I first developed film and printed a photograph in a darkroom. That moment I new quite profoundly that’s all I wanted to do. I made my first film in 2010 and I had a very similar experience. I found it moved me in the same way that photography does, but it has more possibilities.

How do you find storytelling differs between the two?

There’s of course sound and time to consider. But it feels very natural to me. I see them as mediums that we live and operate within constantly, and I try not to make it more complicated than that.

Your use of colour palette and light is similar across your work, there’s something quite restrained and delicate about it. How would you describe your own aesthetic?

I can shoot in different styles and techniques, but left to my own devices I seem to make work that has a certain look and feel. I’m not entirely sure why, I think it’s just how I see things. There is an argument that we photograph things in a way that we see ourselves, almost like we’re making self-portraits. I sometimes agree with this.

What do you shoot and film on? Do you have a preference for Red / Alexa?

I prefer Alexa. I don’t think it matters too much what you shoot on though. I think you can do great things on a 5D and ever lesser systems. It’s what you shoot and how you shoot it that matters the most.

I’d like to shoot more on film as I think it slows down the process and the discipline involved translates into the final image – this is definitely the case in still photography. I think people often shoot too much and too quickly with digital, with the idea that you can fix things later.

You’ve shot quite a few fashion films – do you tend to find the creative process is quite collaborative on these projects or are you given quite a degree of free reign?

It depends really. Sometimes there’s a lot of free reign but then others that are more collaborative. I think collaborating is important. I also like to cast ‘real people’.

Can you tell us about your short Rapha – the trailer was beautifully intriguing.

“30 Century Man” was a story about James Bowthorpe who’d just broken the world record for cycling around the world. He and I decided to try and make a sequel to it and asked Rapha if they wanted to help us.

We were both going to be in Japan with other work and decided to do it there. Mogwai very kindly gave us the score. I wanted to find someone that, like James, had done an amazing thing in an understated way. And I think we found him with Nao the boxer. James wrote a story using myths and metaphors and we found some animators that helped us tell it.

Where do you look for creative inspiration?

Mainly real life and the people around me. I go to a lot of art galleries too. I go through periods of not looking at what other people are making in film and photography, and I don’t have a TV.

Are you working on anything at the moment that we should be keeping an eye out for?

The Hudson River Project is another project with James, but feature length. He’s coming to New York to make a rowing boat and oars out of things that he finds on the streets of Manhattan. Then he’s going go to tow it by bike to the start of the river high in the Adirondack Mountains near Canada and then row it back to city. A small crew and I will be going with him. We’re hopefully shooting this autumn, and there’s some great people collaborating on it.

See a selection of Antony Crooks photography and work in Related Content

LINKS: RSA/Antony Crook

Credits

Thirty Century Man

Photographed and Directed Antony Crook.

Shot in Tromso, Norway.

Music by Mogwai
Styling by Glenn Kitson
Art Director Andy Bird
Edited by Keith Mottram

 New York Times, Go down arts centre, Nairobi

Photographed and Directed by Antony Crook.

Music by Nancy Elizabeth

Edited by Keith Mottram.

 

Baracuta, Made in England

A Rig Out film.

Filmed and Directed by Antony Crook.

Styled by Dan Doyle

Edited by Sam Bould at Big Buoy.

Colour and Post production by Moving Picture Company, London.

 

Knock for Knock, trailer

Filmed and Directed by Antony Crook

Music by Mogwai – “Drunk and Crazy” edit

Written by James Bowthorpe

Edited by JD Smyth at Final Cut, New York

Boxer Nao Tsuchiyama
Stylist Glenn Kitson
Casting Emi Kameoka
Voice Atsushi Nishijima

Tokyo Producer Masa Kokubp

Location Manager Mitsu Hamazaki
Fixer Dan Doyle
Produced by Ben Porter RSA films

Illustration Rebecca Strickson
Animation Gergely Wootsch, Elroy Simmons
Graded by Pearly Leung at Final Cut New York
Post production and VFX Cecil Hooker, at Final Cut New York

 

The Stream

Photographed and Directed by Antony Crook

Shot in Ouarzazate, Morocco

Music by Rebelski, by arrangement with Woodwork Music
Styling by Glenn Kitson
Art Director Andy Bird
Edited by Keith Mottram