Q&A: Carl Gunhouse


What part of the planet would you like to explore? Top left corner of the continental US. I’ve been as far northwest as Minnesota and as far north as the bottom of Idaho, but missed the rest. Which seems like a wide beautiful space of fracking boomtowns, the forest from Endor and just a chunk of the country I’ve never seen. Also I’d like to make it to Alaska & Hawaii, which seem just otherworldly. I haven’t been out on the road in a bit, but I feel it’s only a matter of time until I get out to at least the top left of the country. Have you recently been living by any life philosophy? Ha-ha, yeah, funny enough I have been living the adult life I would have most wanted at 16. For the last year plus, I’ve been regularly shooting hardcore (punk) shows and indie (professional) wrestling, so I guess that’s a philosophy. I am still straight edge and vegetarian, but they’re not terribly recent life choices. Who would you most like to see embarrass themselves? I wish nothing but dignity for all people. But I am going to say Geoff DeCicco, my oldest friend. When we lived together in college, pretended to go out, only to wait in our bathroom for half an hour with his now wife, so he could jump out from behind our fridge in a Chewbacca costume and scare the shit out of me. I feel he has it coming. Name a design flaw in the human body. I kind of wish I could just output prints from pictures I made with my eyes. I am not sure which orifice I would like the prints to come out of, but it would make my life better. Describe the most important photo you’ve seen. I immediately went important to me, as opposed to all humanity, and even then I can’t really think of a specific picture. But I spent a lot of time as a kid with my little sisters making slide shows of my mother’s photographs from her life before she had us. Or Justine Demetrick’s fanzine Intermission, particularly issue #3. Both made me want to pick up a camera for the first time.

What is it that interests you about photography? I think it’s kind of the general thing that is interesting about all art. I don’t think I am alone in feeling that everything has been done and there is nothing truly surprising or different left to do. Until someone does it, and there is that wonder and amazement that there exists this completely different way of making art that I never even considered. What Was The Last Crime You Witnessed? Oh this year, I saw a guy get chased out of a cellphone store on the Fulton mall in downtown Brooklyn and then get caught and arrested by a bunch of cops. Before that, I saw some pretty bloody rioting in Varanasi, India, around 2000. Oh, and I got mugged twice after that in grad school, the last time at gunpoint, so I guess I witnessed that. If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? I guess as a straight edge, vegetarian democrat, I’ll say Ian MacKaye, Ray Cappo, and Jimmy Carter. Also I can highly recommend the Carter Library in Atlanta. Carter is a much-underrated president. Also just saw New York Mayor Bill de Blasio enjoy the Bad Brains from the side of the stage at this year’s Afro Punk Fest, so I am pretty high on him right now. Who is your favorite hero of fiction Wolverine. I was always a big X-Men fan as a kid, and he was a gruff, undramatic anti-hero, who despite a desire to just sit back, drink and enjoy a cigar, would get the job done. On what occasion do you lie? Not often. I imagine, like most people, I tell a few small lies here and there to spare people’s feelings, but I think people who know me might point out I am not even good at that. Ultimate Camera? Not a gear head at all, but those digital Leicas do look pretty cool. Most Used Camera? I almost only use a Cannon 6D nowadays, I have a Nikon point and shoot, but I have yet to figure out how to use the flash. And I have a very unsmart phone and if it has a camera, I am not sure how to use it. Name one smell that triggers an abstract memory. I was recently at Randy Now’s Man Cave going through old LPs, and I caught a whiff of that old record smell, I assuming it’s a mold of some kind. It reminded me of being younger at other record stores, namely the Princeton Record Exchange. So I guess that’s kind of a sense memory. Describe your generation. Older. I think at 38, I am squarely in Gen X. I watched some of the MTV video awards this week, and instantly I turned into my dad. There were all these teens I didn’t know, talking about stuff that I never heard of, and for some reason, I only new the rappers. Describe A Cheap Thrill. All my art now involves wrestling and hardcore, so I guess that counts, but being that I am watching E’s red carpet coverage of the Emmys as I answer this, I am going to say that. Also I am officially not a fan of Lena Dunham’s new haircut. It is not terribly flattering for her facial features.

Choose a song to play over a montage of everything you did today. Answered emails, watched TV, edited some files, went for a run, hit the gym, did laundry, now on the couch. But after Afro Punk Fest this weekend, I’ve been singing Bad Brains to myself, so I am going to say, The Regulator. Which talent would you most like to have? Singing, being on stage seems like a super power. Also I’ll take painting, which seems equally magical. Name a quality about the opposite sex that you find unattractive. As a single white man interested in women, I am not sure there is a good way to answer that one without getting in trouble. But I am going to give it a shot. I think I speak for a large section of the male population when I say that despite anything our male centric culture might previously have suggested: Women, you can easily put on ten pounds, do whatever you want with hair anywhere on your body and dress however you’d like, and we as men would still be interested (also sorry, and feel free to direct anger at the comment section). Come up with a tattoo for one of your parents. My sisters always joked about getting sister tattoos where one would get a gun and the other a house so I think my dad could rock a gun and a house on his pecks like a hipster version of David Hillard’s dad. Name an artist that is overrated. Oooohhh good one. In the past, I feel I’ve been filled with all kinds of anger towards people, and I am very disappointed that I am currently drawing a blank. I answered the “what I don’t like about women” question, so I am going to sleep on this and come up with someone. What will baffle future generations about our day and age? Photography wise, why so many artists look like group shows that aren’t named Roe Ethridge. Ooohh I am not sure if he’s still popular, but I am going to say for the previous question Elad Lassry. He is an Ethridge redundancy who owes Neil Winokur a royalty check. On the whole, our endless discussion about how technology is changing everything, I fear isn’t going to age well. What is your plan for the next 24 hours? Starting now, going to heat up some of what’s left of a batch of my grandmother’s sauce I made, watch Monday Night Raw / Yankee game / Emmys, read a New Yorker from four issues back in a desperate attempt to catch up, fall asleep with my cat. Sleep. Wake up, eat breakfast, read emails, then The Times sports, art, and editorial sections, go for a run and to the gym, then do a lot of work around the house. I have a piece on the Winogrand show I am working on, then I’ll edit this, edit some more hardcore reviews, write some art reviews, some hardcore reviews, and finally straighten out my many hard-drive back-up system for my digital files and start getting ready for the upcoming semester, eat a salad… something along those lines.

Carl Gunhouse – From the series “America”.