Behind the Lens of CaptureCharles
A chat with CaptureCharles before his upcoming rave photography exhibition at club 77.
Your exhibition features photos taken across Europe at various parties and festivals this year. What drives you to document these moments?
I am always curious to see what will happen at the next event. I've enjoyed photography long before I started clubbing. After attending a few times, I was hooked. Now, I truly enjoy taking photos and shooting videos for events and artists.
When and how did you start taking photos and why film?
I began my photography journey with the 'CaptureCharles' project in 2019. Prior to that, I had never been interested in shooting on film. However, after seeing a friend with a film camera at another friend's birthday, my curiosity was piqued. I was intrigued enough to purchase a point-and-shoot camera later that week.
The weekend I bought the camera, I ended up at a warehouse party. I happened to have my camera with me, and I haven't stopped shooting since.
Can you talk us through your favourite photo in the exhibition and why?
As difficult as it is to choose a favorite photo for this exhibition, I'd have to select the shot from DC-10 in Ibiza. In the photo, the glowing red DC-10 logo is behind one of Skream's friends. He has a cigarette casually hanging from his mouth, accompanied by a massive smile. That image is definitely a favorite of mine.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt along the way?
Listen to your intuition no matter what; it's always leading you to the next step.
Does looking at a party through the lens of a camera make you see it differently?
I think there are lots of little moments you can observe when shooting a party. You become much more aware of how people act and think while they're at an event, simply by watching their actions.
Travelling tends to be full of high-highs and low-lows, can you give us some of your best and worst moments?
There were many remarkable moments, as well as some challenging times while I was away. Some of the highlights included meeting industry figures I admire, like Calvin Harris, Skepta, and Skrillex. They were all incredibly gracious, taking the time to engage and show genuine interest in what I had to say.
Another high point was shooting a T-shirt cannon on stage at the Forbidden Fruit Festival in Dublin. KETTAMA and Mall Grab were doing a B2B in front of 20,000 people. Mid-set, someone handed me the T-shirt cannon, and firing it was the coolest feeling ever.
However, there were some challenging lows. The constant battle against fatigue and sickness was tough. My travel days were often hectic, which can be fun initially, but eventually, the body wears down. In Ireland, while I was shooting the AVA Festival, I fell really ill. Nevertheless, I had to push on. I'll never forget spending three straight hours in the Boiler Room pit, shooting KETTAMA and X CLUB.'s sets back-to-back. It was a massive mental battle the entire time, but I managed to push through.
What was the most unexpected thing you ended up shooting during your trip?
One standout moment was Skepta’s 'Mas Tiempo' label launch at KOKO in London. It was a last-minute call-up. I had to rearrange some parts of my trip, but I'm so glad I took that risk. Skepta ended up using one of the photos I took on his Instagram. Additionally, I had the opportunity to shoot Skepta’s set at CIRCOLOCO in Milan. It was another last-minute shoot, but it definitely paid off.
You photographed the rave scene in London, what was that like and did it live up to your ideas of it?
The rave scene in London is incredibly cool and welcoming. The first rave I attended was hosted in an industrial complex on a Thursday night. I was amazed by how much effort everyone put into dressing up. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it exceeded all my expectations. I can't wait to go back.
When photographing underground or illicit events, how do you navigate this being a space which is often purposely hidden from prying eyes?
Before heading to an event, I always check in with the promoter to see if they're okay with me shooting. I'm always cautious and strive to be respectful of event spaces and attendees. At the majority of raves I've been to, attendees are very welcoming and open to having their photos taken. However, there have been times when people or promoters prefer not to have photos taken, and I completely respect that.
What’s next in store for you?
My next big plan is to spend an extended period in Europe next year. As much as I love Australia, it can be somewhat limiting for artists. I'm hoping to return overseas in the near future.
CaptureCharles exhibits rave photography from his recent adventures in Europe at Club 77 More info here.