The Bad Choices Project gets it’s first graphic novel, with support from Lensbaby

Two characters from the world of Bad Choices stumble in the late afternoon along a riverbank

photographed by Andy Batt

Lensbaby, makers of creative effect camera lenses, asked me to help them launch a new lens, the Sol 45mm. They wanted me to choose a personal passion project, and for me, that meant a new story within the world of Bad Choices .

My first job was to integrate the Sol 45 look with my storytelling.

Lensbaby gave me a pre-production model to carry around and experiment with. It’s a distinctive lens with loads of personality. The important part for me was integration; I didn’t want to simply overlay a lens on top of an image. The lens needed to be part of the storytelling. There’s a swirling, dreamlike quality to the images the Sol captures, and I wanted my story to be communicating that idea as well.

My attempt at a storyboard. Don’t judge.
A lost inmate from an apocalyptic jail wanders the forest wearing a yellow helmet
Subject Fourteen wanders, lost, through the woods

I spent time sitting the writer’s chair.

I needed to discover which characters would be part of this world. This became an opportunity to add a character to my world. “Subject Fourteen” is someone who’s been stripped of his own name and lost in the woods. After creating a quick set of graphic novel storyboards to help me map out the story, and discovering what the visual story would be, I went looking for locations.

No matter how rough, creating a storyboard is integral to my process.
The look of the Sol 45 lens really became a part of the story.

“I wanted the helmet to feel like something that would trap someone, with various test probes and hoses attached to it.”

I turned to my costume designer Becca, and we came up with a backstory for 14’s outfit. He’s not the first ’14’ to wear it—it’s old, patched and worn, and now that it’s been through salt water, and a muddy slog through the woods. It’s real ugly. The helmet was tricky. I didn’t want it to be military or look like a robot. I wanted it to feel like something that would trap someone, with various test probes and hoses attached to it; a helmet for testing someone and keeping them isolated. My prop master Galvin Collins jumped in to create a ‘savage’ level build. He created a full package of working parts, age and damage, mysterious hose attachments, medical gauges and straps.

Sketch storyboard for Misled #1
Amitesh Prasad plays “14” and Tina Kraft is Turner

We had an amazing day on location, creating everything that ended up in the book, and working with the crew from Lensbaby. It took some time to refine the design process, do a few rewrites of the sparse text and dialog, but now that I can look on it as a final printed piece, I can say that I’m happy, and truly looking forward to writing and shooting Misled No. 2

-andy batt


Misled issue No. 1 on sale now!

As part of the fundraising to continue the project, this beautifully printed 24 page graphic novel is on sale for $25—completely overpriced! BUT it comes with a signed mystery 5×7 print, my hearty thanks, and the joy of knowing you supported ART! You can always go read the comic online—it’s FREE to read, and FREE to share. If you like it, buy a print copy!

New for 2019 –It’s All About The Hustle; Part II

Andy Batt’s Bad Choices Project on Patreon

For the past four years I’ve been working hard, doing many of the things (concepting, writing, sketching, backstory-ing {yes, it’s a word now thankyouverymuch}, art directing, creative directing, regular directing, retouching+compositing, and mostly/lastly photographing. The difference is that this time it’s for me—so the good is that I get to do whatever I want, the not as good, but still good, is that I get to do everything. Or at least, it all has to start with me—and with a project of this size, I’ve happily delegated, assigned and collaborated– because what’s left is still an IMMENSE amount of work.

The while thing is called Bad Choices — it’s dystopian post-apocalyptic story/world/show, and it’s all flowing out of my head—characters, backstory, locations, events—all the things necessary to building a story universe from scratch.

I’ve shown the work here and there, private portfolio reviews, to a few people and places and have gotten a lot of encouragement from those interactions. So now it’s going Big(ger)! Now it’s got stuff to buy (art prints! poster prints!) over at our Big Cartel page, it’s got it’s very own crowdsourcing fundraiser page on Patreon (that makes it InternetReal™, right?) and I’ve actually printed the very first graphic novel from the Bad Choices world, called Misled No. 1 (Purchase and free PDF link coming in another post! Stay tuned!)

You can see a lot of the work on www.andybatt.com/badchoices — and you can read all about the hard work on my Patreon page—that’s where I’m hosting the process blog, covering anything that comes out of my head, and anything you all want to know (hint: you can ask questions over there)

Thanks for reading

-andy


Check out the for sale stuff here: https://andybattphoto.bigcartel.com/badchoices

Check out the Patreon (and throw a dollar+ in the hat if you BELIEVE): https://patreon.com/badchoicesproject


Reflections on the Grand Canyon

Next week Andy is heading out to float the Green River, through Stillwater Canyon in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. This made me realize we’ve never shared the images he created on his 18 days floating the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

Here’s a small selection of the work, along with a short interview I did with Andy. You can see the full gallery of images here.

What was it like being on a trip where photography wasn’t the main focus? 

It’s nice to experience the world without worrying about finding/making images—but it’s hard to turn off that vision, to stop ‘seeing pictures’. For the most part I gave myself specific times to do photography, and the rest of the time was spent without a camera, or just making snapshots—mementos of the trip and not ‘art’.

What was it like being off the grid for 18 days?

It’s great to be disconnected from devices, the internet, phones—that’s amazing. It’s the issue of power that was tricky—being a digital photographer in the wilderness creates all types of issues for charging up batteries—from packing in multiple pre-charged camera batteries (expensive) to having a solar panel to recharge in the field (slow and time consuming).

How did you decide what to photograph? How did you choose your subjects?

There’s a few games I always play when I’m out hunting landscape. I’m looking for shapes and alignments of distant objects and features, or repeated patterns and juxtapositions of lines and angles. I also look for disappearing moments; the light in the Canyon is amazing, but fleeting. It’s being sensitive to how the light is moving and changing—which in the Grand Canyon is all the time. Have a camera ready and photograph it “now’ because it will be gone by the time you dig your camera out of the bag.

From a wash right outside of Page, Arizona

Slow shutter on the Colorado River from camp.

How did you tackle the scale of the Grand Canyon?

The scale in the Canyon is beyond human—you build your impression by looking all around you because you are surrounded by amazingly huge and formidable forms. You can’t possibly photograph the complete vista, so I’m looking for ways to evoke a sense of wonder and place without burdening myself with an impossible assignment. Even “small’ features in the Grand Canyon are gigantic.

Of course, the literal idea of scale is possible using the same tricks that photographers of the early west used—include a body in the image for scale.

Find the people for a sense of scale

Looking at these images now, what comes to mind?

about midway through the trip…

I want to go back and photograph the Grand Canyon again—I learned a lot about my process and seeing light + shape in that amazing place. Seeing these images with fresh eyes makes me happy.

Cottonwood Creek

Blacktail Canyon

Exiting the canyon

Obligatory double rainbow parting shot, for those that made it to the end!