By Rick Bhatia
Asymmetric Magazine: Tell us about your series.
Rick Bhatia: ‘Created Environments’ is something I hold close to my heart. The use of various tools (editing software, lighting, and smoke machines in some cases) has enabled me to bring together elements of different images to create a whole new visual. I like to think of these pieces as figments of my imagination brought to life. I know, it’s complicated.
AM: How do you conceptualize your environments/what's your biggest inspiration behind these shots?
RB: The quote “If you have a goal, write it down. If you do not write it down, you do not have a goal - you have a wish” is what has inspired me to create a lot of the work in this submission. Whenever a visual enigma crosses my mind, rather than writing it down, I pick up my camera, gather my props, and try my best to bring the vision to life.
AM: What is your typical process for these shots?
RB: My typical process for these shots requires a lot of patience. If the image requires some aspect of a human, it can require setting up a tripod (if I’m incorporating myself) or a friend willing to be in the handstand position for a somewhat prolonged period of time. I wouldn’t call the images from ‘Created Environments’ photographs, but rather collages of my photographs. The process of creating these images emulates the process of creating a painting when it comes to creative freedom.
AM: Can we find any real California environments emulated in your created enviornments?
RB: Yes! The Golden Gate Bridge and the Los Angeles River
AM: How does this series compare to your portrait and landscape photography? (featured here)
RB: With my portraits and landscapes, you’re seeing ‘what is’—with Created Environments, you’re also seeing ‘what is,’ but it’s more of a ‘what is’ merged with ‘what is happening in my mind’. Working on this series is always my favorite because I never know how the final product is going to look, but I always seem to find something that works for me.
AM: What can we expect to see from you next?
RB: I’m currently working on bringing together Portraits the concept behind Created Environments, while staying true to my minimal style. Stay tuned!
Rick Bhatia is a photographer back and forth between Los Angeles and Santa Cruz. Currently, at age 19, he is a student at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) pursuing a degree in Intensive Psychology. "Having been born in Dubai and raised in California with Indian roots, my mind is constantly balancing the ideals, values, and expectations of varying cultures. However, I’ve always seemed to have a creative drive. Photography, along with the application of a Critical Psychology Lens, has allowed me to realize some of my creative visions (many are still in production)." You can find more of his work at rickbhatia.com or on Instagram.
Check out "Visual Minimalism" previously featured in Asymmetric here.