Paul Batt is a graduate of both the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) photography departments and is currently a PhD candidate in Fine Art (Photography) at Monash University, where he was employed as a Sessional Photography Lecturer.
Batt’s work has been exhibited widely throughout Australia and overseas in both group and solo exhibitions, including the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), the Australian Centre For Photography (ACP) andThe Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP) and has received numerous national photography prizes and awards. Paul’s has had work featured in a number of national and international publications and his works is held in significant public photography collections such as the Monash Gallery of Art (MGA).
KALTBLUT: Do you travel a lot? It seems like it. Is there a place you call home?
Paul: I live in my home city of Melbourne, Australia and lately I have been travelling quite a lot. I’ve just returned from shooting and exhibiting trips around Australia and recently travelled international to China and New Zealand. Previously I lived and studied in Germany and it wasn’t until I returned from Europe, that I realize how at home I felt here in Australia. So in a sense my home here in Melbourne, has provides me with a sense of self and sanctuary, while artistically it’s where I find many of my subjects.
KALTBLUT: Where are people the easiest to work with when it comes to shooting?
Paul: Good question! I find it really important to win the trust of a person when I’m approaching them about being involved in one of my projects. I tend to think people are the easiest to work with, if I approach them in an open frame of mind and am honest about what I’m trying to achieve. So in a way, regardless of where I am, that approach tends to help to put a subject at ease.
KALTBLUT: Did you ever have a moment or met someone that shaped you?
Paul: I guess if I had to choose a single moment it would be seeing Walker Evan’s series of Subway Portraits published in the book ‘Many are Called’, that has left the most lasting impression on me. I remember the first time I saw the book as a student, I found the ‘truth’ that Evans had captured to be all at once oddly tender and brutally honest! It’s really shaped my sense of what photography is all about and its still one of the few bodies of work I keep coming back to…
Paul: Much of my work over the years has been concerned with these same ideas concerning human absence or presence in urban environment. I’ve explored this notion through out my work by documenting people, places or objects and examining the subtle variations they can come in. At the moment I have a number of new projects that I’m working on and I plan to continue to explore theses same themes.