An interview I just did for Skin Deep magazine. For those who like to read.
name: Chase Lisbon
Location: The United States of America. Currently residing in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas on location for a feature length erotic movie.
Occupation: Artist and Entrepreneur How did you develop such an original and unique style of photography?
I never set out to become a photographer. I became one out of need. I simply needed a person to photograph the sets for my website as I was developing Supercult.com so I got a cheap camera and went at it. I've always been into doing as much as I can myself. At some point along the way I decided that I should probably figure out how to take a picture that was at least half way good. Because I was doing everything alone, I would have to spend periods of my life developing each skill set a little at a time. Videography, photography, website building, marketing, etc. At some point I made a conscious decision to really work on my photography to try and get to a point where I could start to make my work to look more like my visions... what was/is inside me. It can be a frustrating process. I spent a few years in a basement and sort of cut myself off from everything else outside of Supercult. I never paid any attention to other people's photography. I was very paranoid of the thought of absorbing other people's style. I feel like a person's work should really come from their inner consciousness if it is to have any soul. I can say that there is influence in my work from the things that I do look at that inspire me or fill me with marvel. I love the fantastical backgrounds of Boris Vallejo. I love the shadows, sexuality and dark overtones of Frank Frazetta. I love the mood of David Lynch and everything about Kubrick. So I'm not saying that I developed void of any influence. I think all people will see things in life they really are attracted to, and that will influence them in a way, but that attraction is made by a connection that is deep rooted in your psychology somewhere. So I did not look to photographers or photography while learning, as I wanted to bring out my passions and my passions weren't in photography and still aren't. For the most part I find photography to be a boring medium and don't feel that I have any sort of mastery over it. I think from time to time I will get into moods where I am more focused on it and during these times I may even do work that genuinely makes me feel happy, but most of the time I am just aware of my inadequacies and lack the motivation to develop past them. Well that is how it is for now. At some point in the future I will probably decide to go forward with taking it up a level, but for now I am focused on video and movie work. I like working with video much better. It is like adding speed and sound to a photograph. Have you always appreciated good use of light in both art and photography?
I think I have always appreciated it without knowing. I didn't really become aware of how much I DID appreciate it until people started pointing out my lighting styles. I began to put it together that everything I found aesthetically superior was lit in such a dramatic or passionate way. From paintings of space to movies like "Night of the Hunter". I was never schooled in art and have only a high school education. I know nothing of classical art outside of what I have picked up from conversations, but I have always been drawn to Catholic paintings. I guess if you really looked at my work and the work that I appreciate you my get the idea that I live in a cave and wear a cape. I cannot tell you what it is that fascinates me about the darker side of things. I have absolutely no appreciation for horror movies or gore, so I guess this is really more about mood. A darker mood. Maybe art is the safest way for me to get that out of me. I seem to have acquired a bit of a surplus of it and it's good to have a steam valve. Kevin Rowland once said, "From a youth of waste and a life of mess, it's a prize to be able to express myself." When it comes to cameras: digital or film?
I couldn't use a film camera if my life depended on it. I can't even take a good Polaroid. My only real photographic advantage is my lighting. I am powerless without it. What do you believe are the fundamental differences between porn and erotica when it comes to capturing images?
I recently saw a movie where a man was trying to describe something of a different subject and he said "It's like defining Porn. You know it when you see it." For people involved with either side of the business, the differences are very clear. It's hard for me to say if it is as clear to an outside point of view. In my opinion the common term of "porn" would really define anything that is made for the straight purpose of selling someone an orgasm. Erotica, for me, is about showing the beauty of sexuality. Sexuality is the key to creation, and without it we wouldn't have life. When you are looking at erotica, you are looking at art that celebrates or glorifies sexuality. It should be very apparent that the focus is as much about the way it is portrayed as the subject itself. Although my work is very dark aesthetically, I don't think it is subject-wise at all. How did you meet the wonderful Apnea? Did you begin the website together?
Apnea had her site Apneatic.com and I had Supercult for many years before we met. We had only had one interaction ever. When she first started her solo site I saw some press on it and what she was going through. I wrote her about doing a banner exchange and it was a very brief and businesslike interaction. A few years later a mutual friend said that she wanted to work with me, and I called her. I was honored. We later found out that the same friend told her that I wanted to work with her. So for some reason he just made it all up and put us in touch. I was on a very long trip around the country and was about to embark on a few weeks of the Train portion. I needed a model to come along to be photographed everywhere I went for my blog work at Nerve.com. She agreed to come along for two weeks. We met at the San Francisco airport and have been together ever since. It was very strange, because there was never a "getting to know each other" period. It was really more like meeting someone I've known forever and picking up from that spot. The whole thing is very fantastical in retrospect.
How does Supercult differ from other alternative sites?
I think it is all in the style and the work that goes into it. The only two photographers are U.S. Romance and myself. If you look at the site you can actually see us develop through the years into our styles. I care way too much about the work I do and way too little about doing the things I should to make it more financially successful. Apnea has been a great help to me since we joined up. We put so much work into every set. I have never been concerned with having 1000 models from 1000 different photographers. I find it almost impossible to sit through a set of 60 pictures of a girl in front of the same background with the same camera angle and lighting as she moves around. When I started Supercult I really wanted to do something different. Now I feel like most of the industry is exactly like the way it was in 1999 except with tattoos and piercings. That probably works out great for a lot of people, but honestly I really care about building strong sets. My strength isn't in stand alone photos. My charge to myself is to make sets of 60 photos that are each strong enough to hold some weight of their own, but the real power is when they are shown together as a set. I want the audience to be able to click through and be continuously impressed. I'd like them to not know what is around each corner. The average adult content set on the internet is basically a large grouping of the same photo. I'm really just trying to speak from my heart and explain what goes into what we do. I'm not out to put anyone down, I just want to explain what we do differently. I get back 1% for every 100% I put in, and I try to put 100% into everything that I do. I care more about my work than my bank account, although it would be a lot nicer if I didn't have to worry so much about them both. Honestly, it would be much easier to just not give a fuck and take a never ending stream of raw pictures of hot naked girls, take it to the bank, and have my weekends off. That's just not what we are about.
What traits or qualities unite the girls featured on Supercult?
It's hard to say. Really it all comes down to what I see in a model. There are a lot of beautiful models out there. The only way I think anyone has ever become a Supercult model is through fate. The models become part of something much bigger than the site or myself. We're all family in a way. Like all families there are fractions and infighting along with the love and support. That's really what the Bangers are all about as well. We are all in this together however it came about. What’s the most captivating thing about a tattooed woman?
I was first tattooed in March of 1993. It was a period of tattooing where the outlaw side of it was overlapping with what would become tattooing today, I suppose. In my younger days having a few tattoos was still the mark of an outsider. I think today people have to really get into heavily tattooing themselves to reach that same level. I'm not talking about the people that get record contracts and a bodysuit the next week. I'm not talking about the people worried about getting their band's shirts into Hot Topic or making magazine covers. For me, being tattooed is just a visible sign of what is going on on the inside. There's something different about all of us that is easily identified through tattoos. If I'm in the store and I see a person with a lot of tattoos, I think there is a certain recognition made whether or not it is acknowledged verbally. So I guess I could say that a heavily tattooed woman is easily identifiable as an outsider. Alhough these days the lines are blurred as it has become so much more of a fashion statement. For me, my tattoos were always a sort of armor. I found strength in them and to this day they help keep a lot of people away. Which is great when you want to be left alone. Unfortunately the wind did shift a lot, and people seem to think it's acceptable to walk up and grab at a tattoo. This is way more prevalent in the cities. I do think that having your hands, neck, or face tattooed in 2010 is very similar to having having hair down to your ass in the 60's and early 70's. It's a way of taking freedom and control over your own person and telling the world that they don't own you and you don't give a fuck. Especially if you happen to be residing in the "Baptist Bible Belt".