Currently crowdfunding TRIP, a documentary on the post-2000 psychedelic/rock’n’roll revival, here’s an interview with photographer/film-maker Lilly Creightmore originally taken from the first issue of the Fuzz Club Magazine

Lilly Creightmore is a photographer and filmmaker residing in London. Living a somewhat nomadic lifestyle she grew up in an alternative community in Ashdown Forest and spent years dotting around the world – doing stretches in Paris, Los Angeles, Austin, Cape Town, Berlin and Toronto. In the last decade she’s been travelling the globe and documenting the vast community of musicians, artists and poets that she’s crossed paths with within the global psychedelic scene.

Lilly developed a love of photography from a young age but she tells us it wasn’t until she was in her twenties that she started to pursue the medium professionally: “I’ve been taking pictures since I was 5, my Grandmother and Foster Dad always really encouraged me and took me to buy my first SLR when I was 14. I did a part-time photography course when I was 18 and only had eyes for the practical side, spending weeks in the darkroom.” She continues: “I ended up skipping the exams to move to Paris with a boy where I was a depressed waitress. Then I went on to work in the film and TV industry in London before falling head-over-heels into music. Finding a subject that I lived and breathed at 22 was when I really decided I needed to pack in the day job and become a freelance photographer/filmmaker.”

Thanks to a few chance-encounters Lilly found herself totally immersed in the world of psychedelia as it experienced a serious rebirth in the early 2000s: “Going to a random festival in August 2007 was a definite catalyst. Will Carruthers of Spacemen 3 and half of Brian Jonestown Massacre happened to be there, sort-of playing but mainly messing about, and we all became this big travelling dysfunctional musical family.  Shortly afterwards I went to New York and stayed in my bosses 13th-floor apartment on Bowery and it so happened that The Black Angels and A Place to Bury Strangers were playing at Bowery Ballroom the night I got in. I walked into the venue and saw a bunch of people I had met at that festival and, having not really heard of either band, every moment of that night just blew my mind.”

Constantly finding herself surrounded by like-minded musicians and artists, this sense of community inspired her to begin documenting her many encounters, toting a camera everywhere she went from that point on: “Another adventure, this time with a camera, to San Francisco and SXSW in March 2008 really sealed the family ties and I have continued to work with all of these good people since, as the subjects of my ten-year project TRIP.”

Having been in the works for around a decade, TRIP is Lilly’s attempt to document the global psych-rock resurgence in all its lysergic and hedonistic glory, bringing together heaps of footage and stills from some of the most exciting moments in the scene’s revival – shooting the genre-defining, the innovators and the swarms of new bands coming out of the woodworks. Talking about the project, Lilly explains: “I’m not sure if I have much to be proud of yet but when I do finish it, it will probably make my heart swell a little… or cause me to fall over in relief!” You can find out more about the film and help make it a reality by heading over to the Kickstarter page here.

Discussing what it is about photography and filmmaking that drew her so into that creative world, Lilly talks of a never-ceasing urge to document the beauty in reality – in its highs, lows and general mundanities. She talks about it being an almost innate sense, a constant longing to show things that others might not be able to see but have always been there. On what appeals to her so much about music-related work, she explains: “I realised recently that it’s kind of like synesthesia, especially when I’m photographing musicians. Creating an image from sound is a very satisfying symbiotic relationship to me.”

We begin talking of the photographers and artists that have influenced her throughout her career, to which she confesses: “I’ve never really paid as much attention to other photographers as perhaps I should. I appreciate many great photographers work, they just don’t necessarily influence mine. I’d say film directors, writers and musicians influence me the most. Nicolas Roeg, David Lynch, D.A. Pennebaker, Wim Wenders, Patti Smith, and most recently Walerian Borowczyk are some immediate and obvious inspiration, but it’s the people I’m working with and my friends and family that inspire and motivate me the most.” 

Her camera of choice? “The Canon AE1 that I bought when I was 14 is my go-to, I generally shoot film and it’s a consistently great camera – easy and cheap to fix when it needs it. I also have a Hasselblad which is a bit more temperamental but when we’re getting on it’s a total dream to shoot with!”

To conclude our interview, I ask Lilly who would be her dream subjects to shoot: “Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, with his rings and his beard. Oh and Nina Simone if she were alive, what a woman! And we have Warren to thank for those infamous words to really remember her by: ‘I want champagne, cocaine and sausages’” 

 

Header photo: Thomas Girard

(This article was originally taken from the first issue of the Fuzz Club Magazine, which is available to buy below)