Schatten: Light & Shadow
Herb says his interest in photography coincided with the birth of his first child in the mid-’90s and adds, “I had the opportunity to restore an unused darkroom in our house and spent countless hours down there in the cellar, developing film and printing my pictures.”
His passion for photography was driven by the need to be creative, yet he says he lacked traditional artistic skills and admits, “I struggled to learn five chords on the guitar, totally failed to learn the piano and have no skills in painting.”
Instead, he turned to photography, using light to paint the beautiful muses that are his canvases. “In the beginning, I just wanted to take pictures,” Schatten says. “A big game-changer for me was seeing that interesting light is the key to presenting something differently. This holds particularly true for nude photography, which is all about mood and lighting for me.”
For Schatten, the appeal is in showcasing sensuality, rather than sex appeal. “As you get older, the pure sexual side of the female form gets less interesting. I’m always searching for the underlying beauty as well as the potency and power of women. You can see naked bodies everywhere but present a woman in a way where she has a secret, and the guys go crazy. They’re always craving the forbidden fruit.”
When it comes to the type of models he prefers to shoot, he says, “I don’t have any strong preferences, but I tend to lean toward models older than 25 or 30. These women often have a more intense body expression when compared to younger models.”
When asked if he has ever had a muse, Schatten’s quietly coy. “This question makes me smile. I have photographed one particular woman over and over again, but I never published any pictures of her. She’s a teacher and obviously nude photographs on social media aren’t OK with her line of work. We are always joking that she is my muse, which is to some extent not that unfounded, as she really inspires me.”
The secret to a great photo?
“A photograph must not reveal everything. There has to be some kind of hidden part, a secret, or even something mysterious. This is what draws and keeps the viewers’ attention.”
You would expect a photographer to have an Instagram account, and you would be correct here. Somewhat surprisingly, though, Herb Shatten has a compelling YouTube channel as well. Based on the update frequency it appears that this may have been another on the road of artistic interpretations, although that does not diminish its impact in the slightest.
For the record, art photographers can get away with a lot more on Instagram than we ever could.