Capturing Cronulla with Craig Golding
By Jamie Apps
Wandering around Cronulla you'll soon realise that it is one of the most stunning and picturesque areas in Sydney. From beautiful views out over the ocean, perfectly white sandy beaches or the thriving mall in the centre of town Cronulla has a little bit of everything. So, when professional photographer Craig Golding left the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) and had more time to explore his hometown, it quickly became apparent to him that he needed to capture Cronulla in photo form.
During Craig's 24-year career as a sports photographer for SMH he was afforded the opportunities to work at a raft of major sporting events such as the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Rugby World Cup and Swimming World Championships. He greatly enjoyed those experiences, describing them as the "pinnacle of a sports photographer's career."
Looking back on those days as a sports photographer, one event in particular stands out in Craig's mind as particularly special: "Covering Cathy Freeman's race at the Sydney Olympics was a brilliant moment. The hairs on the back of my neck were up when I was covering that. It was such a brilliant moment to be a part of and capture on film."
Since then, Craig has moved away from the tight deadlines and stress of newspapers to work as a freelance photographer. Entering into this phase of his career has given Craig more free time, which he has filled with a new artistic endeavour as he captures photographs around his home in Cronulla. With this Cronulla project, Craig has been able to recapture the joy he first felt as a kid with his very first camera.
"I've always been passionate about all of my photography work because if you're not, you're not going to last long but this was a different form of photography," explained Craig. "I had so much more time to just wander, think & observe things when photographing Cronulla."
This was in stark contrast to the pressure and stress of newspaper deadlines. Although the Cronulla project came with a more relaxed approach, Craig still wanted to keep one core principle at the centre of his work.
"With sports photography you have to capture the moment because you can't reshoot anything. I really enjoyed that style of photography, so I carried that over a little into shooting Cronulla. I don't set anything up, I just shoot things as they are so that it's a document that is as real as it can get."
Reflecting on the joy & excitement he has felt from this Cronulla photography adventure, Craig explained that this journey has been "quite relaxing & therapeutic" as he has discovered parts of Cronulla he had never seen before.
"Photographing Cronulla made me realise just how little I knew about my own suburb. I've lived here for such a long time but for most of that time I was heading out of Cronulla for work and didn't have time to explore, so this project was a bit of a discovery process for me
Given Craig has been discovering parts of Cronulla that he had otherwise overlooked we had to ask if he has a favourite location to shoot. However, Craig was quick to point out that Cronulla simply has too many incredible options to narrow it down to just one: "Different places make for different special pictures... whether you are on the beach side or the Gunnamatta side or whether you are just wandering around the streets and through the mall, there's something about all of it that's pretty special.
These days Craig is adding new pictures to the store on his website every week and takes great joy whenever a print is purchased because, as he says, "as good as your work can be, if people don't see it there's not much point to it."
Craig's photos of Cronulla can be purchased at www.craiggoldingphotos.com
Craig can also be found on Instagram @craiggoldingphotos