kris alan carter photography
INTERVIEWED BY SHANNON CRAIG
Watch one episode of any run-of-the-mill true-crime documentary, and you’ll likely walk away knowing one absolute truth: Florida is a shit show. The people are unhinged from tip to top; the natural landscape—both flora and fauna—are murderous, blood thirsty, and probably poisonous. And then, of course, there’s the fucking weather, bad enough before climate change wreaked havoc on its already unpredictable and potentially catastrophic tendencies, which now keeps the Sunshine State under the constant threat of being submerged in the Atlantic for good. Then there's Kris Alan Carter.
“It is what it is,” they say, or so will South Florida-based photographer and crime scene technician Kris Carter’s headstone say when our most penis-shaped state takes him down. For now though, Kris’s in-the-moment, bystander perspective to photography is giving viewers a glimpse into this country of disaster with a refreshing, dusted-over polish.
Kris talked to us recently about his work, his inspiration, and what he’s drinking.
Foul South: Give us a little background on yourself—where were you born? What school did you go to? Why are you here?
Kris Carter: “It all started when I was born in Hialeah, and when I turned one my family moved out west to Pembroke Pines. I've been living here ever since. I went to school at Broward College and studied Crime Scene Technology and Forensic Photography. I graduated from BC this past summer.”
FS: What sparked your interest in photography and when?
KC: “I can't really pinpoint what got me started on photography, but since I was probably 12 years old I enjoyed taking photos of things that I saw. Not necessarily in an artistic way, but to document. Every couple of years my family would do a huge month-long cross-country trip and I was exposed to new places. When I was around 15 one of my neighbors gave me a 35mm Olympus camera and that's what got me interested in film. Getting the negatives back from the lab was always exciting for me and I enjoyed having something tangible rather than just a digital file.”
FS: Why do you choose to shoot candids and undisturbed scenes rather than doing more studio work?
KC: “I think there's a beauty in both undisturbed scenes and [conversely] the photographer playing a part by interrupting the subject. I've always found it fascinating that things can be existing and most people see them as mundane, everyday occurrences. It just takes someone to notice it and view it in a different light.”
FS: Camera and format of choice?
KC: “It honestly depends on what type of work I'm trying to do, and my purpose for taking the photographs. I usually jump between 6x7 on a Mamiya 7, and 35mm on a Leica M3.”
FS: Living in Florida and working crime scenes, you’ve got to come across some weird shit. What’s the strangest series you’ve shot?
KC: “The rodeo. Growing up in South Florida, I was never introduced to traditional American activities like that. The first time I went to the rodeo, I felt completely out of place and like I stuck out like a sore thumb. I've gotten more comfortable over time, and realized [that] if you act like you're supposed to be there and know what you're doing, then no one really questions it.”
FS: Any upcoming shows or plans for your work?
KC: “Not really. I’ve kind of taken a step back from putting my work out there and just focused on making and enjoying what I do.”
FS: Fair enough. What will be etched on your gravestone?
KC: “It is what it is.”
FS: Describe your dream shoot.
KC: “This one is really tough. I've always been really into behind-the-scenes shots of movies. So maybe to be the still photographer for a Herzog film?”
FS: As far as inspiration is concerned: who inspires you most and why?
KC: “I really admire Diane Arbus' work and who she photographed. For that time period, and even today, her subjects were seen as outcasts and she saw them in a different light. She gave her attention to people that nobody else would.”
FS: What are you drinkin’?
KC: “A Jarritos Club Soda is doing the job right now.”
FS: Share something most people don’t know about you. Keep in mind we don’t have a lawyer on staff.
KC: “I'm not too secretive of person, so I think pretty much everything is out there. I used to know how to ride a unicycle, so there's that.”
Follow Kris Carter on Instagram @krisalancarter, and make sure to hit him with those DMs so we can strong-arm him into a gallery show where his ragged, off-hand style can be appreciated by more rich—and probably fucked—Florida residents.