Q&A: Chris MacArthur


Have you recently been living by any life philosophy? Nothing special other than good ol’ “Never give up” and “Everything happens for a reason”. Those two have never failed me. What is it that interests you about photography? It allows me the opportunity to get into far-out situations that I could never imagine while meeting cool and fascinating people. What is the worst thing about city life? Dog poo everywhere, unnecessary horn-honking, the abundance of idiots and assholes, so many rules and laws to remember, I could go on forever. I love the city but I’m a small-town hillbilly at heart. What part of the planet would you like to explore? Everywhere. I’d like to start with some non-trendy US states: Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama etc. I could also really use a carefree holiday down to the Bahamas or somewhere similar right now. What do you think is the most plausible of the supernatural? All of it. (kinda) Ghosts, Bigfoot, flying saucers, moon men, crop circles, The Lochness Monster – I find all these stories too good to be not true. If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? I align myself often with “Red” from That 70’s Show as well as “Chandler” from Friends. They’re leaders, right? Pick a field of science to be an expert within. The field of science where people pet cats or listen to jazz to cure their depression. What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t? My friend Eric crashed real badly off a massive jump while skiing back in high school. He broke several bones and smashed his faced so bad you could hardly recognize him: blood everywhere, swollen eyes and nose, teeth missing, braces all tangled and twisted. It was epic. I think I did have a disposable camera that day but was focused on getting him to the hospital than “capturing the moment”.

Choose a job you would be willing to do for free on the side. You mean OTHER than documentary photographer? I’d like to be a taste tester of new and innovative instant ramen flavours in Japan. Describe the most important photo you’ve seen. Anything by Diane Arbus or Richard Avedon. I think they’re important because they set the bar for great photography. How often do you take other people’s advice? Not very often. Unless it’s something super compelling or that produces an “Ah-ha!” moment, I tend to follow my own instincts. Describe a personal hell. Listening to a recording of my own voice. Alternatively, running out of coffee or toilet paper. Which living person do you most admire? The guy who recently stole a bucket of gold flakes from the back of an armoured truck in NYC. On what occasion do you lie? Hmmmm, I might need extra space for this question. Job interviews, dates, dealing with the police, when people I haven’t see in a while ask “So, like, what have you been UP TO??”. However, I’m mostly pretty straightforward and brutally honest. What was the last crime you witnessed? Last Halloween I came across a car crashed head-on into a telephone pole that had just been used in a robbery. I hadn’t realized what had just happened and thought it was a delightfully elaborate Halloween set up: lights on, radio blasting, smoke coming out from under the hood etc. I stood around looking at this in admiration when people started coming out of their houses and accusing me of being the driver and telling me not to move cause “the police are on their way!!”. I quickly walked away.

What is the best way to educate yourself? My personal favorite is borrowing books and magazines from the library. To me, this has always been a no-brainer. Recently though, someone made fun of me for professing my love for chilling at the library and I thought “Oh yeah? Go fuck yourself.” Ultimate camera? This is where I say: “It’s the one YOU HAVE!!!” But otherwise, I’m sure it’s being develloped by Elon Musk or some other fancy tech person at the moment. Most used camera? iPhone 5S. What object do you want? Wilson Blade tennis racquet. What object do you need? A box of printer paper and a new ink cartridge. How would you explain the internet to someone from the 1950’s? It’s where we go to complain about Donald Trump, brag about our accomplishments and watch porn. Are you satisfied with your level of physical strength? Very satisfied. Describe a cheap thrill. Cliff jumping in the summer. Or getting high at home by myself and listening to very loud music, usually pop-punk or emocore from the early 2000’s. Also Swiffering my apartment brings me great happiness. Pick an historic moment from the last hundred years to bring a camera to. I would have liked to have been the official tour photographer for Tupac in the 90’s. Are impulses more important than consequences? Yes absolutely. Unless you’re drunk. Which talent would you most like to have? It’s not a talent but I’ve always wished I were just 10% smarter. I think about this every time I get a parking ticket or read the latest “Top 30 under 30” article. What is your plan for the next 24 hours? I’m going to make blueberry muffins while watching the Miami Open final (Nadal vs. Federer) then go for a long and brutal run, probably 8 miles. Tomorrow’s Monday so I’ll resume my never-ending quest to try to make money and get ahead in life.

Featured  — Chris MacArthur’ “Welcome to Spirit River”. For more info and work visit chrismacarthur.ca / Instagram.