Batts -- With The Lights On
|"I make you special
under the lights. Now you're like Eve out of the garden...." --
Batts lives in three creative worlds: the world of hipster fashion
photography, the world of photo manipulation -- creating collages of
images and the written word, and the world of fetish and erotic
A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Carlos was
influenced as a teenager by the works of such eminent photographers as
Annie Leibowitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Richard Avedon and Irving Penn.
Their work prompted Carlos to teach himself photography. "It all
started in the 10th grade when I bought my first camera, a Pentax K1000
with a 50mm lens. I had a part time job on the weekend, and it took me
weeks to save up enough money to buy it. To this day I count that as one
of the finest accomplishments of my entire life. As I walked out of that
store clutching that camera in my hand, I knew I had just purchased
something that was going to change my life forever."
Six months ago Carlos left Baltimore for Los Angeles. He describes his Baltimore work as moodier, his Los Angeles work lighter. Carlos decided to relocate to LA because, "there are more opportunities, and people are more willing to believe your bullshit out here. People are supportive of different ideas."
As you see in these photographs, Carlos' sense of lighting, color, style, mood, atmosphere and texture is for him "what it's all about, the attention to detail." He regards himself, rightly, as a painter and designer. When shooting a picture, Carlos takes whatever theme is running through his head, combines model, props and colored lights, then seizes and extracts the emotionality of the moment, capturing it on film.
"For me, for a couple of hours while the lights are on, I can forget about the crap that exists outside of the studio. My painting and my art have always been my escape. It makes me sick when any form of reality crosses over in the fantasy photo world. I'll tell you a secret. I love the girls when the lights are on, but when I turn them off my interest in them is non-existent."
Carlos Batts' work has been exhibited and sold throughout the United States and abroad. He has done a variety of gallery exhibits, CD covers, book covers, and countless shoots for magazines. He is currently writing a book entitled This Is Why I Hate Myself, which is a documentation, both visually and in the recounting, of "ten years of shooting crazy people and putting up with it."
Enjoy our exhibition of Carlos' "lights on" world, which continues on the next page.
photographs copyright C. Batts FLY
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