“When I start browsing the pictures I took on a shoot, there’s one thing that matters to me: the feeling a picture gives me. I have to feel ‘it’ before I start editing the image.” explains Tim Batist to us, a Belgian photographer who tries to capture the beauty of woman. Each photograph transmits a certain atmosphere, an absorbing detail, something that makes your eyes stop and see the story that is being told.
Where does your passion for photography come from?
It all started when I was a teenager: I bought a compact camera and took it to every party. As a souvenir of a great night. I always loved capturing moments, even though my pictures were really shitty. Later, I started working as a freelance local journalist and I could make a little more money if I also took pictures with the articles I wrote. So I bought the cheapest DSLR camera I could find.
My passion for photography got really big when I met my girlfriend eight years ago. We started travelling a lot, to Thailand, California, Croatia, Slovenia… I really enjoyed taking pictures while travelling, especially of my girlfriend, who now is my wife. A couple of years ago I started shooting other people and I haven’t stopped since. With one simple mission: trying to capture their beauty and making them feel great about themselves. Today, I’m shooting with a Fujifilm X-T2 hybrid camera.
What is the essence of a good picture?
When I start browsing the pictures I took on a shoot, there’s one thing that matters to me: the feeling a picture gives me. I have to feel ‘it’ before I start editing the image. The picture needs to have some vibe, some dreamy atmosphere, that draws my attention and makes me stop browsing my photos. It’s very hard to define what it is that attracts me in a picture, but it has something to do with pureness. And it’s not perfection that I’m looking for.
It’s the same feeling that I appreciate when I’m scrolling through Instagram. Some pictures just make me stop and keep looking at them. Great photographers like Danny Lane, Bob Sala and Damon Loble surprise me every single time with their amazing shots. Very important to me is that pictures, even nude ones, give me a feeling of ‘beauty’ and not ‘hotness’.
“It’s very hard to define what it is that attracts me in a picture, but it has something to do with pureness. And it’s not perfection that I’m looking for.”
Planned vs spontaneous?
Spontaneous, without a doubt. For every shoot, I have some kind of mood board, but I hardly use it. Copying poses – or worse: pictures – is absolutely not what I want to do. I use mood boards for reminding me and the model of what kind of mood I want to create. And honestly, very often that is what I call ‘the C-Heads mood’. So I prefer taking pictures of girls wandering around on the beach, checking their phone or playing with their cat. I often tell them: ‘act as if I am not here, even though I realise that’s really difficult’.
In contrary: in ‘real life’, outside of shooting, I don’t like surprises at all. Then I would say: planned, without a doubt. But I have to admit that the best parties are the unexpected ones.
How has the coronavirus affected you?
Very drastic. We can no longer meet friends, so I can also no longer shoot. And I really miss doing it. But that’s not such a big problem, because it’s not my job. So I’m not losing any money and I shouldn’t be complaining about it. I work as a journalist for a local newspaper, so it’s very busy. There’s a lot to write about corona. Too much, I sometimes think. But again: I shouldn’t complain, because a lot of people are temporarily unemployed. I’m happy that I can keep working. And now that we aren’t allowed to go out or travel, I can save more money to buy a new camera or accessories. I try to see the bright side of it.
“I think these are also very interesting and challenging times for photographers. They can take pictures they never imagined they would ever have or be able to take.”
And how do you think the coronavirus will impact the photography industry the next time?
I think it has two sides. Of course it hits the photography industry very hard, like it hit a lot of industries. Travel photographers can’t travel, there are no weddings for wedding photographers, no concerts for concert photographers and I can keep going on like this. So it’s bad.
But from my point of view, as a journalist, I think these are also very interesting and challenging times for photographers. They can take pictures they never imagined they would ever have or be able to take. And I believe that, after this crisis, people will enjoy life even more than before. And in a world like that, there’s always a place for photographers.
What is the first thing you are going to do after the COVID-19 quarantine?
The very first thing I’m going to do, is having a party with my closest friends. I can’t wait to invite them to have a party in our small but cosy garden. I’m pretty introvert and antisocial, so I never thought I would miss my friends as hard as I do now. Maybe I’m more of a social person than I thought. My birthday is at the end of May, so hopefully this lockdown will have ended by then and I will be allowed to celebrate with my friends. The second thing I’m going to do, is arranging a shoot. Definitely!