Chris Suspect

The Candid Frame


One of the lauwers photography at least for me is the doors can open. Being photographer has provided me access to people and communities that I might never have considered otherwise the combination of a camera and my curiosity has gifted me with meeting fascinating people and entering their world and many times. Those encounters have been especial- to me as the photographs at created. Chris suspects photography is all about that. His explorations of subcultures in the areas of music and sexuality have resulted in images. That are raw an intimate. His latest book leather boys gathers images of a segment of the gay community in and around the DC area. The story of how he gained access and his process over the years provide some valuable information for anyone taking on a long-term personal project regardless of the World. They are hoping to explore this. Is your body an ex and welcome back to the candidate frame and it was good to see. It's been a long time yet. Has I'm trying to think I guess the last time I saw you This past summer at focus on the story Ryan. I'm looking forward to talking to you. We met a couple of years back. And you're always been on my radar but it's just like as with as with so many people who I put down on my list sometimes years before I finally get them on the show but I'm glad we're funding hearing chance to sit down and chat. I do want to remind you ever. I've been on candid frame before. Are you on the panel? Yeah Yeah at Miami Straight Photography Festival but I think about it in terms of one to one conversations. Sure Yeah I had just a taste now. I get the full meal I guess. Okay okay scared me for a bit getting ready but no comment background. I found out that he come from a family. Did A lot of traveling. Your Dad was a diplomat. You were born in the Philippines. That is that is correct. I was actually adopted in the Philippines. Which is interesting and I'm definitely not Filipino. So yeah was adopted there. My family was with the State Department and my dad travel to various countries around the world. All the way up through the end of my college experience. So I've lived in Thailand Denmark Moscow London and then visited various countries for like a month or a week or whatever the entire time. Did you have any any idea in terms of your birth be? We have information get to you so I actually. When my dad passed away a couple years ago she left that to me. But I still haven't looked at it weren't well I you know. Part of it is is. My parents were my parents. I've felt adopted or not. You know it was just something. I don't know man should ask my my therapist about that but I just haven't I haven't really like I feel like I don't want to give up on. The idea of my parents are my real parents because they adopted me. And that's who cared for me you know. I'm a little scared to find out who my real parents are. What if there is life changing information there? You know who knows yeah? That's fascinating especially the fact that it's just sitting in a letter somewhere. That's well it's not. It's not just a letter. It's a whole packet with a bunch of official documents and stuff so so doing all this traveling. How did he sort of color? Your perspective in terms of when you finally came in critter life yourself here in the in the states. Well I have to say that little funny story about my first time that I remember in the United States was coming back for first grade and I could speak Danish better than it could speak English and I was held back a grade because my English language skills were not that good and then from there. I went to Thailand. I believe you know from there. I went to Moscow. Actually so I have I think a more of a kind of a like a world view of and I was friends a people of all different kinds of cultures classes races. What have you I would say was a very wholesome upbringing in terms of Having kind of a global perspective and in your early twenties you're part of a of a of a punk band music start becoming occurred of your early life so that's another a funny story I remember being in Moscow and I guess the sex pistols had come out. And this is I. Think nineteen seventy six and I guess there was a article in the New York Times or The Washington Post because we used to get that at the embassy in Moscow Mama's reading about it and she's like Chris. You wouldn't listen to that stuff would you and then and then on our First trip our trip to Helsinki Finland. We got to go to a record store in the first album. Picked up was was a clash album. Actually I didn't WanNA bring home a sex pistols but I'd done a little bit of kind of asking around the embassy like what did some of the other punk bands picked up a clash in devo album and ever since then I was kinda hooked but because I was traveling and nobody I knew played an instrument. I didn't even play an instrument and it wasn't until I got to college that I met up with some people that played instruments like one of my roommates play guitar. Who's really good? He's still actually playing today on the Jam Band Circuit and anyway so one night. We're hanging out late. It leaves the house and they're like hey play the space and I'm like I don't even know what to do. There's like follow the dots man and so I just followed what they were doing with their hands. And then I was like you. Know the hippy. Music is okay. But I'm really into punk rock. And then when I've moved back to DC after college I met up with some of the former members of the band scream. I don't scream was a big discord banned. They were banned. I really enjoyed in high school early college. And that's the band where David Grohl came from and so this is some of the other members one of the other members from scream their original drummer before girl was in the span. It was like man. This guy's awesome. I get to play with him. And that's basically how I jumped into that in. How long were you into? I played in punk bands from ninety three to two thousand and on. I'm still playing in my neighborhood so I've just been continuing that I still I still. I still play a little bit in a Plano. Reggae DUB reggae band in my in my neighborhood but I was playing. I started my own record label. I put out like twenty plus CDs with international distribution all around the world toward all over the the. Us many times so yeah. I like to travel see new places. Meeting people were using a camera. Did you document those times? Not at all? It wasn't until the birth of my son that I got a camera and that was because of my wife she was like we need to get a camera and at that time it was like I don't know if we can afford it and whatever so I got a cannon power shot and this this had been like two thousand six or so. My son was born in two thousand and five so it was a little bit after that. We we still. I think the I felt. We had the IPHONE camera which is like we need a better camera so and then are basically read the manual and then I went out just shooting around my neighborhood or wherever. Just kinda figure out figuring out all the settings and that's where I figured out like what motion blur could do and stuff like that shutter drag and that was really cool and the entire throughout my entire punk rock career. I was always going into the library or on the Internet. You later in the late nineties to find just kind of like raw images to use for flyers and that's how I kind of discovered who who we g was and Dion rbis and stuff. I didn't really look at them through photographers. I was looking more through a punk rockers. I like going. You know what? What are the photos that kind of excite me or that are weird a different? That will look really good on a flyer in peak people's interest and so I spent a lot of time in the Arlington County Public Library in their photo book section. Just kinda going through trying to find stuff and yeah and so. That's kind of so I had my and I even bought like some photo books to just to use for flyers so wasn't until I actually started work in a cameras. Like hey man I could probably make photos like those guys did in those books.

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