Cary Benbow (CB): Why did you become a photographer? How did you get started?
Carrie Schreck (CS): I messed around a bit with film as a kid but the real answer this: when I first lived in San Francisco, my boyfriend and I never locked our car. It’s best just to leave it unlocked with nothing in it; if someone breaks in, at least you don’t have to replace your windows. One night someone must have been ripping off cars, got into ours and fell asleep. The next morning my boyfriend walks in with a Canon AE-1 left in the back seat. That’s how I got in to photography. Seriously. I still have that camera.
CB: Where do you get the ideas for your personal photography?
CS: I’m looking for genuine moments, powerful moments, and I hope to have the right mix of luck and speed to be able to catch them and do them some justice.
CB: Explain the idea behind your portfolio images submitted to the Enthusiasm themed issue – How do they relate to your other projects, or how is it significantly different?
CS: I’ve been shooting moped riders and moped gangs for 7 years. I shoot it because it’s my life and what’s going on around me, but it’s such a close-knit community, it’s a brotherhood and sisterhood. The story lines around each gang, each ride, each rally are a total challenge to capture. I wanted to save the memories for the people in them, that was always my first priority. Say, if Ashlee ever has kids and they are able to see a photo of her bombing the Coronado bridge after racing hundreds of miles, fixing her bike on the side of the road, doing something silly and dangerous but daring… maybe they’ll be inspired. With a photograph, that inspiration can happen long after I’m gone, after she’s gone.
CB: Seven years definitely counts as a large, long-term project. What work are you currently shooting?
CS: ‘Larger series’ is about right. I’ve taken about 50,000 photos over the last 7 years. This fall I’ll be showing a slice of them at Haphazard Gallery in Santa Monica opening October 29. I’ve gotten the selects down to about one thousand, so I’m still editing. This coming week I’m traveling to Europe to meet with some moped gangs over there, tour a factory, follow a race, then I’ll be back in the states for the big national rally in San Francisco. That will be 8 years in total shooting bikes, I’m about ready to find a new subject.
CB: What will you be doing while you are in Europe? Where will you be traveling?
CS: I’ll be in Slovenia and Croatia, so I’m very interested in the lives of people displaced passing through from Syria and Jordan. I’m drawn to human ingenuity and how people excel at making the best of their situation. If I can find people willing to be photographed, I might. There are some moments that just don’t need to be photographed, I’m always aware of that, too.
CB: What or who are your personal photography inspirations?
CS: You know, strangely enough I found out a few years ago that my great Aunt was one of the first famous female photographers, Nancy Ford Cones. Like me, she liked documenting life’s moments. In her later years she started to become more experimental, creating scenes, when her husband died she stopped shooting altogether. Weirdly, I learned all of this way after my own interest in photography began. In a way I feel like I’m continuing to shoot for her, so she’s a big inspiration for me.
CB: How would you describe your work to someone viewing it for the first time?
CS: If Arthur Pollock had a 5D and hung out with grimey gear-head punks. Something like that.
To see more work by Carrie Schreck, visit her website at https://radradmopeds.wordpress.com/
Also published on Medium.