About Last Night: Ben Watts Turns It Up Montauk Style
[Ben Watts]( http://www.milkmade.com/articles?utf8=✓&search=ben+watts) brought a little slice of Montauk to Milk Gallery last night as friends and fam came down to celebrate the opening of the scrap-booking photographer’s latest retrospective-WATTSUP MONTAUK. Pumped for the evening, Watts’ first reaction to the space was totally spot on, “There’s going to be a lot of love in the room tonight, and a lot of excitement.” While braid-swinging DJ [Chelsea Leyland]( http://www.milkmade.com/articles?utf8=✓&search=chelsea+leyland) set the mood blasting those reggae and hip-hop summer jams, faces like Bambi, Coco and Breezy, [Sara Sampaio]( http://www.milkmade.com/articles?utf8=✓&search=sara+sampaio), and [Scott Lipps]( http://www.milkmade.com/articles?utf8=✓&search=scott+lipps), were spotted getting down and striking a pose in front of Watts’ floor-to-ceiling collage of photos from his brand new book, Montauk Dreaming.
Found admiring his work, Watts shed some light on his notable method, “The collage is just my style, I’ve been doing it since college. My life is a scrapbook, I think in scrapbooks, I talk in scrapbooks, I dress in scrapbooks. Everything I do is a big old scrapbook. Sometimes it can be a little difficult to focus and I’m guilty of that. I wish I could just pick one good image, but there’s so much going on and I’m so excited when I get my camera out to take pictures that I just want to include everything.”
Along with images from Montauk Dreaming, snapshots from Watts’ previous books like Lickshot, and Big Up, are also star features of the exhibition. A crowd favorite was the shot of [Aaliyah]( http://www.milkmade.com/articles?utf8=✓&search=aaliyah) (R.I.P.) and [Missy Elliot]( http://www.milkmade.com/articles?utf8=✓&search=missy+elliot) sprawled out on top of a car in matching yellow jumpsuits, or the photo of Heath Ledger casually holding his skateboard aloft -perfect examples of the charismatic moments Watts has been able to capture.
To Watts, every single one of his photos has something to say. “Today when I was looking at these as they went up I was wowed. Every face brought back an experience, and to me that’s a life memory. They say a picture tells a thousand words and it really does. It’s capturing a moment in life, as a lot of things do, except for me it’s a very powerful medium. Looking at these images tonight is like a life event. I can go through them and recognize different times in my life when I took that picture, what that person said, what they’re about and what was going on with me at that time.” If last night was any indication of what is going on in the life of Ben Watts at this time, then his life has been one hell of a party.
WATTSUP MONTAUK will be running at Milk Gallery through July 11th
Photography by Zltako Batistich