Interview Series | Daniel Batallés

This week we have the talented Daniel Batallés, photographer! Read on to find out which rivalry he got to photograph for the NYTimes.com!!!

1. Give us a little description/bio/background of yourself. Where did you grow up?

Here’s my recipe. I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, lived there until I was 12. In November of 2000 I arrived to the states on Election Day. The destination was Palm Springs and I went with my mother and sister. My older brother had just moved to study at MIT in Boston. The next 12 years of my life would be spent in southern California with periodic trips back to Buenos Aires.

I went to a k-12 school in Argentina and I would always attend the elaborate theater productions put on by the high school. I began taking theater and acting classes as soon as they were available. From that point I have transformed from theater, to film to photography. It might just be time that I loop back to the beginning. For now, however, I am in photography.
I currently call between Buenos Aires and Los Angeles home and I am interested in living a year or two in New York or Rome.

2. How did you get started doing photography? What inspired you to pick up a camera?

I was very reluctant to pick up the camera. I remember going to museums and amongst all the work seeing photographs and thinking how the camera limited the expression of an artist. Which now I don’t believe to be so, but this was my first impression.

For example, Painting could be considered representational or conversely abstract interpretation. This feels like just the opposite of what a camera does: capture and create a copy. An imperfect representation, though it is a charming one and marvelous mechanism. This inspired me expand from what styles of photographic expression I have seen. Though my portfolio I would mostly consider traditional photographs, there are a few that engage in this nature of challenging photography.

I prefer abstract effects that are implemented in the moment. I appreciate digital effects, and they can play a collaborative roll, however there’s something about the philosophy of method that wows me.

One of my greatest inspirations is Robert Heinecken and his piece “Inaugural Excerpt Videograms.” This piece is about photographing without a camera. I encountered it at MOCA in Los Angeles and it reaffirmed what I was longing to do. So in a sense, I’m a photographer who wants to use anything to take a picture, but my last resort is a camera.

Robert Heinecken, Kyle Martin and post modernism in general inspire me. I draw from my close friends with whom I’ve worked with closely and come to admire their work and qualities. I recognize that I have been influenced and motivated by an odd variety. I believe the challenge will be raising a clear voice from a jungle of experiences.

I am venturing away from what has been the history of my family. My lineage is that of industrial businessmen. But the theater, art and topics such as psychology and overcoming depravity have long held my attention.

Heinecken and Post modernisms greatest quality comes from the thirst to challenge ones medium philosophically.

A piece that changed my life was Robert Rauschenberg’s “Erased De Kooning.” The short story is that these were two famous painters in NYC. Rauschenberg had a crazy idea and went to abstract expressionist Kooning’s apartment with a bottle of Jack Daniels and asked if he could literally erase one of his works. Kooning guided him to the painting he was working on currently. It had charcoal, oil paint, pencil, crayon, and cost Rauschenberg a month and many erasers.

3. Where do you draw your motivation from?

I believe I am called to create something that is absent in the spectrum of art photography, as I mentioned in the second question. I am determined to make a living from myself and pursue my self expression. I like challenges like fixing my own car, cooking, you name it- even sewing!

With any project I look to draw from different skills I’ve learned to form the project personally. I hope to create a body of work that is inherently unique to my life and reflect of the people in it.

4. Okay, so you recently had your photos on the NYTimes.com!! So awesome! Tell us about that experience! And it involves my FAVORITE Sport!

It’s a fascinating sport! I got to photograph the biggest rivalry in Argentina & South American club soccer. The two teams are Boca Juniors and River Plate, a match up known worldwide as the Superclásico.

As a kid I dreamed of going to a Superclásico, and when this all happened being so close to the action was surreal! The process to get from idea to being on the field was long and constant. After approximately 75 emails, a fervent editor at the New York Times and jumping through many bureaucratic hoops in Argentina’s system, it all came to be. I was very happy to see the story get published.

[see article from the NYTimes.com]

5. When you go to the grocery store, what are your must-haves?

I’m a breakfast guy. My body is 2/3 water and 1/3 breakfast. Must haves are fruits and everything a big midwest farmer would want on his plate in the morning.
On the other hand I must have my wine, cheese, ham, salami and bread.
I think this explains how mixed I am…

6. What do you like to take photos of? What’s your favorite subject matter to capture?

Tough question. My goal is expression. Thus there is a division of my work.

Let’s say “A” is an acute capture of a subject in a more traditional sense, but more often than not in unique lighting circumstances. My goal is to express the subject in my style for more commercial purposes like fashion.

“B” is my complete expression, which involves the photograph as a canvas, and what appears on it is meant to represent an idea more than a traditional photograph (or visual representation).

7. What is one of your biggest goals with your photography?

Fashion photography is my commercial goal. But my more personal goal is to continue inventing new methods of photography.

I believe every photographer has a place and I admire most anybodies work. I can see value in most anybodies style. However, for my purposes, I am keen on being in my studio lost in ideas and methods that I haven’t seen done before. My goal is to have a studio where I can explore odd light, optics and materials in combination with emulsion photography.

8. What is your spirit animal?

I’ve always identified with sea turtles. That makes me a tough guy right? It’s a graceful animal I admire. Strong and patient. I made a large paper Mache sea turtle when I was kid. It was a long process for an art class that I invested my dreams into. When it was painted and complete, I looked at this piece as a mystery of my nature and Mother Nature.

9. What is your favorite thing about living in Buenos Aires?

The tastes the city has to offer and its unique identity. It has quite a hustle and bustle, but it’s a city with hidden treasure and lots of art. Seriously I’m addicted to the food here. I would recommend anybody go for a visit or vacation!

10. What do you like to do in your spare time? 

I’m always willing to do or be somewhere different. So with that I don’t have a consistent hobby. I would say with my spare time I try to stay away from technology and get to know God and the people around me better. Whether it be Frisbee in the park, dinner parties, local concerts or weekend getaways.

11. What other cool things have you photographed??

The coolest project to date I’ve developed and worked on was a picture I took of a DJ in a studio with only black lights and white powder. I have also developed a portfolio of short films with my close film making friends and a documentary that took place in Burundi.

12. If someone wants to look at more of your work or contact you, how does one do that?

batalles.com for now. I’m putting together a Behance portfolio.

danielbatalles@gmail.com would be the best way to contact me.

——

Read past interviews I’ve done here:
iron leaf press – designing, letterpress, Danielle Ameling – Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Jerri Valentine – makeup artist/photographer – Des Moines, Iowa
My Vicarious Life – fashion blogger, editor, Katrice – Atlanta, Georgia
Body By Svec – artist, Emily Svec – Des Moines, Iowa
808 Shirts – screenprinters, Tampa Bay, Florida
Sara Fakhraie – artist, South Dakota
Wesley Cook (donate to his kickstarter project) – musician, Atlanta, Georgia
Brolester Records, Jeremiah Tuhn, record label – Des Moines, Iowa
Atom St. George – artist, Riverside, California
John Eric Booth – vocalist, West Virginia
Brent Houzenga – artist, New Orleans
Adrienne Gross of justADG – photographer, Des Moines, Iowa
Harley May – writer and comic, The South

——

And don’t forget to vote for me: The sexiest person in Des Moines.

 

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One thought on “Interview Series | Daniel Batallés

  1. All in All Great fires in my heart came with the long awaited future turned out to be hidden in the pasts present memory of graduated fragel digital anolog fibonachi sequations of standing wave lattices …..kept me taking in the now…deep now ….how now! He was Daniel Battelies a free bird from high horses having a spin with me Kyle mARTin studio. grand zar that guy..
    For sure live in lightlove

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