The British-born, Australian-raised photographer Ben Watts, is no stranger to the streets. In fact, it was the clubs and nightlife of Sydney that first introduced him to the urban culture that would later make him famous, long before his shoots of Interpol or Alicia Keys could.
With an energy and spirit captured in his photos that Watts prides himself on, don't expect a static, pretty portrait from this gifted shooter. Instead, his images of everyone from unknown boxers to world-renowned supermodels pack a powerful punch. Lively, active and dynamic, his subjects leap off the pages of such notable publications as ID, GQ, Rolling Stone and The New York Times Magazine to name a few, earning Watts the enviable title of the one of the photography world's fastest rising stars, as well as its most unique.
Luckily in New York, his home of the past 12 years, the handsome brother of Naomi Watts has found the only city in the world that can equal his own vitality and talent. "Some days the city can take the wind out of your sides," Watts says, "but I thrive on the energy whether it be stressful or uplifting. It's a bit of a whirlwind, but once you get addicted to it, you love it. It's exhilarating—like a drug." A dapper dresser and down-to-earth guy that is just as likely to grab a pint with his mates as jet off to Paris for an assignment, his passion for all types of photography is only matched by that of travel, music—and football. "When I get back from a long trip" says Watts, "The first thing I do is relax in my home and catch up on the English Premier League."
With a plan for his second book—a follow up to his highly successful scrapbook Big Up in the works, an exhibition at MILK studios planned for the end of the year, and an "endless list of people I want to shoot," Watts doesn't show any signs of slowing down soon. But no matter where his high-octane career takes him, he's always happy to touch down in the Big Apple. "New York is a mecca—the most urban city in the world—and the first in pretty much everything," says Watts. "When I'm driving from JFK or LaGuardia on the LIE, and catch my first glimpse of the city, it always lifts the hair on the back of my neck. You feel the excitement. I've always said that the day I lose that feeling, I'll leave—but that's not happening anytime soon." Happily, we know the feeling well.
A great photo book, it deals with pop culture and cult lifestyles, which are my favorite subjects to capture as well. …more
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With comfortable clothes that are also easy for me to wear to work, it's perfect street wear. …more
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