With a background in painting, film, writing, and photography, we always love to see what director Scott Crary is up to with his eternal Lomo LC-A+. More than a choice, analog photography is a holistic approach to life, to interpret every moment and memory. In between finishing his first book of short stories called CHILDREN REMEMBER and working on set with some of the biggest names of the movie industry, he managed to shoot a few rolls of LomoChrome Purple and share his results with us. Stolen snapshots on the streets or portraits of his forever muse his dog, Kafka, Scott turns every sight into a scene straight out of a movie.
Hello Scott! It's great to have you here again at Lomography! First off, can you tell us why do you still shoot film?
To me, photography IS film…period. Even the most amateurish analog photo feels somehow more finished, more alive to me than a digital image. There’s still something sterile and soulless, even about the best digital photograph. When you shoot on film, it’s an actual transcription of light on the negative. There’s something holy about that. Mystical. Sun-touched artifacts. And film photography just makes such an ally of chance, and chance is essential to any valid art, to the poetic…to life, to the spiritual.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Gratitude. Every photo is a ritual of gratitude. Every photo is an inherently spiritual act. You wait for those moments of elevated consciousness, of exaggerated life. When sensations seem just a bit louder. You find those moments when a generous dream seeps into reality. And you try to thank the dream—the dream of your life—by preserving it, by making some record of it with your camera. Photography, if it’s done right, should be tangible consciousness. Any art should be advertising for one's soul.
Photography is such a miracle. To be able to see with each other’s eyes. Just the idea of being able to gift others some spectacle moment that was gifted to me…that’s always what inspired me. The idea of that hunt. And photography is a hunt. But one that ends in the immortality of the prey, rather than the prey’s death. I’m overwhelmed by the magic of that, every time I hold a camera in my hands.
From the pictures you sent us, do you have a favorite one? Can you tell us the story behind it?
The one of the bird balanced on the Blessed Virgin’s head. He seemed a consolation dispatch straight from Saint Francis, singing a tiny three-note song to me and staying just long enough for me to win my shot before returning to his sky.
What did you shoot the pictures with?
An elderly, well-traveled LC-A+, and a flash.
Your colors and tones are great. What settings do you use to shoot the LomoChrome purple?
I like to play around with the ISO and have a bit of roulette courage with it. Shooting with a flash, even outside, at 200 really gives you those rich colors and contrasts. I did that a lot with most of these photos.
What’s your favorite subject to shoot with the LomoChrome Purple?
Strangers with strange faces. My ever-patient dog, Kafka. Things I think will be vanishing soon: atypically arrogant flowers, a momentary light…all things temporally fragile.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to shoot with the LomoChrome Purple?
Same advice I would give for shooting on any film stock: Beauty is everywhere. Harvest it. The more you look for it, the more you will see it.
And as regards LomoChrome Purple, in particular: don’t just fall for the cliché (but entirely justified) allure of how the film plays oh so very nice with flora and forests and sun-saturated vistas. Shoot interiors, shoot at night, shoot counterintuitive to the gimmick of the effect. The film really pops when using a flash in darker settings and you get more subtly surreal colorations. It’s a really versatile film.
You have a film coming up, do you want to share some details about it with us? What should we expect from it?
It’s a memoir film of sorts, called AND THIS STAYS BETWEEN US. From a very young age, I never differentiated life from its documenting. So the film will incorporate private archival content that spans literally every year of my life, in every conceivable format: from old cassette audio to VHS to single-megapixel flip phone camera footage to 16mm to HD to childhood scribbles. It charts the arc of an entire human consciousness, asking: why do we become who we become? And also: what are the essential images of a life? It’s shaping up to be the aesthetic lovechild of Caouette’s Tarnation, Mekas’ Walden, every word Sophie Calle ever wrote and every piece of video art I’ve ever seen. And I’ve been working in entertainment in some form or other since I was about 16, so there will be plenty of exclusive behind-the-scenes cameos from projects I’ve done over the years, from names like: Kim Gordon, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, David Lynch, Black Thought of The Roots, Jim Jarmusch, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, De La Soul, Tracy Morgan, Cat Power, etc., etc. We are here to meet ourselves. To tell our truth. Our story is not really ours until we tell it, until it belongs to others too. And that’s really the motive for this next film.
When will the film be out?
Next year, COVID-willing.