Crickmay was an entirely self-taught photographer, moving to London at the age of 15 working as an assistant for the Viennese-born photographer Lotte Meitner-Graf, who had a studio in London's Bond Street in the late 1940s and became a strong influence on his career.
Crickmay’s first venture into the world of theatre photography was when he photographed one of his neighbours, the pianist Ivor Newton, who suggested attending one of the Royal Opera House’s open photocalls ahead of a first night. Impressed by his work he was invited to return.
While photographing stars of the theatre, opera and fashion, as well as the Royal Family, his greatest love of all was for dance. In 1969, this passion brought him to The Place, where he captured images of contemporary dance legends such as Robert Cohan, Kenneth Tharp, Naomi Lapzeson, Isabel Tamen or Lauren Potter in the studio and documented London Contemporary Dance Theatre on stage. Many of these images have become iconic.
Crickmay regarded dance photography as a collaboration between dancer and photographer and was interested in capturing both the hard work in the studio as well as the slickness of a performance.
Dance photographer Chris Nash remembers ‘Crick’, as he was lovingly known, as “the master” of dance photography, who was an important influence in the early stages of his career and LCDT dancer Isabel Tamen remembers taking part in many of his more experimental shoots, as well as the classic image that he took of Kenneth Tharp and herself, leaping, which is currently on display in our theatre bar in an exhibition of posters celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Place.