A photograph must not reveal everything - there has to be a hidden part or something mysterious.
Born and raised in southern Germany, Herb Schatten lives two lives: one as a scientist with a PhD in chemistry, and the other as a photographer of sensual nudes.
He says his interest in photography coincided with the birth of his first child in the mid-90s. “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. “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 towards models that are 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 okay 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.”
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