We talked to Chris Carter, legendary electronic composer and co-founder of Throbbing Gristle about his experiences shooting with the Lomo'Instant Square Glass and his love for film photography.
Hello Chris, tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi...Well, I guess primarily I am regarded as a professional musician, specialising in electronic music. Though I see myself as less the musician and more of a tinkerer of sounds, an experimentalist. I've been recording and performing for more than 40 years. After a short solo career the first band I was in was Throbbing Gristle, I then started performing as Chris & Cosey with my partner Cosey Fanni Tutti. But I’ve also been involved in lots of collaborative endeavours over the years too. Currently I am working on a new album with Cosey and Nik Void for our Carter Tutti Void project.
How did you get into photography?
When I left school one of my first jobs was as a darkroom assistant at a photographic studio in Soho in London. It was long hours and quite intense but I worked my way up to darkroom technician and made myself useful on the studio floor. I learnt a lot of what I know about photography from working there. When I first met Cosey she was a keen 35mm photographer and had her own darkroom… we’ve learned a lot of our photographic skills and techniques together over the years.
What do you think the appeal of film photography is?
I think it is a personal thing and not for everyone but for me, it’s the whole analogue process of shoot, develop, print. Also, film is what I initially learnt my craft with so I tend to gravitate back to it as I feel comfortable using it. There's also that element with 35mm film that you have to trust your own skill and judgment, as you can’t see what the actual shot will truly look like until you have developed the film and printed the image. Like I said it’s a process. Also I think there is a different visual depth to film. It is hard to describe but I know it when I see it. I’m guessing but I think it may have something to do with how atoms and protons combine to make the physical grain of film - as opposed the binary ones and zeros of a digital image. I have friends who left film for digital and would never go back and some that use both. Which is fine, I also use digital myself but film is a completely different mind set - I suppose it’s regarded as old school now but I am pleasantly surprise how many people still use it.
How did you get on shooting with the Lomo'Instant Square Glass?
I love the alchemical, almost magical, aspect of using instant film, which I’ve been shooting with alongside 35mm since the 1970s. Admittedly instant film can be pretty hit and miss, it always has been. But in some ways that can also be some of its appeal. It makes it all the more exciting to use, as you never know quite what the results are going to be. A shot can sometimes look nothing like you expected and occasionally far better than you anticipated. For someone like me who likes to experiment it is an ideal medium… just shoot and have fun.
What projects have you got coming up in 2018?
I’ve just released my first solo album in 17 years on Mute. It’s titled ‘Chris Carter’s Chemistry Lessons Volume One’ and people seem to really like it, which is wonderful. I’m also going out on the road and playing a few improvised solo shows around the UK - something I haven’t done in a while… that should be interesting.
Chris has a solo modular set coming up on 24-25 Aug at the Sea Change festival
Chris Carter’s Chemistry Lessons Vol. 1 is out now on Mute
Follow Chris Carter on twitter chris_carter_