Carlos The Rollerblader for Portland Monthly

photographed by Andy Batt, December 2018

When a call comes in to photograph someone who titles themselves “Carlos The Rollerblader“, I say yes first, and then find out what the story is second. I’ve done other profile pieces for Portland Monthly Magazine, but Carlos’ portrait is one of my favorites.


First up, Carlos prefers They/Them pronouns. Yes this is new to some people, but it’s not that hard to do a little retraining and get your brain wrapped around the concept. Maybe it’s all the amazing SF that I’ve read over the past few years, but this just makes sense to me. The tricky bit is getting my brain to not need to be actively thinking about it, to get it firmly in place. This has nothing to do with making the image and everything to do with me being a better photographer.

I did some preliminary sketches and lighting tests on this one—the goal was to find a way of creating motion and direction, to find a visual metaphor for Carlos and their work as a stand up comedian and phone advice giver (seriously, Carlos will answer the phone and give you life advice). Also, Carlos is a rollerblader. Like, they perform on rollerblades, on stage. And everywhere else. Carlos has a constant feeling of motion, even when they are standing still.

Carlos arrived on set and we began the collaboration—they were a lot of fun to have in the studio. They also DJ professionally, so I turned over the airplay stream to them and we had killer music during the entire session.

I ended up with a carefully built, sculpted light look, designed to create beautiful tones where it hit and to drop off quickly to deep shadow where it didn’t.

The graphic quality of the light created that visual momentum, carrying you around the contours and lines of their face.

Of course, since it’s my brain we’re working with here, I had a second idea on the backburner—using a combination of a long shutter, carefully set continuous lights and a multipop sequence to add true visual sense of motion + I really wanted to do a full length shot to get those rollerblades in. It’s an old school technique but done with a deliberate intention in mind—it wasn’t about creating meaningless streaks or blur, it was making a connected graphic, echoing the design ideas in the portraits.

cheers
-andy

My 4 minute shoot with the real Tommy Wiseau

Dramatic entertainment photographer Andy Batt shoots actor Tommy Wiseau

Andy’s shoot with Tommy Wiseau

“This is probably wrong, but it’s how I remember it. I think Jason called me the day of, asking if he could use my studio to interview Tommy Wiseau. That guy from The Room. The “Oh Hai Mark” guy. I’d heard many stories about Tommy from Jason. There was no way I would turn down a chance to have Tommy in the studio.

Jason and Ian showed up with Tommy. He’s a whirlwind of energy, kinda crazy, kinda edgey, but also incredibly friendly. He’s intense. He’s nuts. He’s indescribable. Jason and Ian shot a couple episodes of  Tommy Explains It All — I learned all about Tommy’s Thoughts on Kissing, and his Secrets to Success. After they wrapped the video, I grabbed an opportunity to photograph Tommy—you don’t get the creator of The Room in your studio and not photograph him.

There’s no directing Tommy. He’s got very specific ideas about what looks cool, and a style that is all his own. The only way is to flow with him and let him take you on an adventure. I shot one test at 2:41pm. He jumped, posed, yelled, spun, squatted, invented a new pose, re-styled his belt, did some Mick Jagger poses, gave me the Victory sign, thumbs up, stuck his tongue out, made explosion sounds, vogued, and jumped some more. He was done at 2:45. In 4 minutes and 77 pictures he gave me a crazy amount of energy. After that Tommy really wanted to do group shots with everyone. I got to do a “cool guy back-to-back” pose with Tommy!

Tommy flew out of the studio in a cloud of crazy energy, just the way he came in, leaving me dazed in his wake.”

We can’t wait to see The Disaster Artist in the theater– in the meantime, here’s a few of the images.

Tommy Wiseau poses with photographer Andy Batt

77 photographs in 21 seconds

Curious Comedy Showdown – Six players enter the stage. Only one will survive.

CURIOUS COMEDY SHOWDOWN

Dramatic entertainment photographer Andy Batt created these hilarious portraits and video for Curious Comedy Theater’s Showdown improv comedy showcase.

See the final results here!

Six players enter the stage. Only one will survive. Often referred to as “The Hunger Games of Comedy” the Curious Comedy Showdown pits Curious Comedy’s finest players against one another in competitive improv matches that will make you laugh until you cry. Armed only with audience suggestions and razor-sharp wit, the players must create fast-paced hilarious scenes on the spot to win audience votes – round after round – in hopes of living to see another day.

Andy and artistic director Stacey Hallal sat down to hash out concepts, while Andy sketched some of his ideas. They agreed to the idea of a spoof on cowboys and the Wild West, and the final results are very close to those original sketches.

Featuring improv comedy performers Hallie Zmroczek, Audrey Butler, Matt Lask, Jenn Hunter, Eric Simons, Craig McCarthy, Tyler Quinn, Sarah JK Shoemaker, Nick Condon, Chad Parsons, Nathan Loveless, Bill McKinley, Chris Williams, Jay Flewelling, Laura Sams, Chase Padgett, Stacey Hallal.

Andy’s sketches during initial conversations about the shoot.