A first glance at Carlitos Galvan's work might give the impression of being created by several different photographers. For the nine years he's been taking pictures, the 25-year-old Galvan has mastered quite a number of styles. Whether it's fashion, street life, self-portraits or even his shots of the outdoors, there's a simple elegance in his approach that even he has trouble explaining.
"Just whatever's in front of me," says Galvan, who says he got his start after watching an Annie Leibovitz documentary while growing up in Spring Valley. "Life is great and whatnot, but I want to make the ordinary, everyday things look more interesting. I like to shoot everyday life."
In Galvan's work it's easy to see the influences of iconic shutterbugs like Leibovitz, Stephen Shore's images of everyday American life and Irving Penn's fashion photography. But it's Galvan's nudes and self-portraits that are most compelling. Many of the nudes are of his boyfriend Octavio. Within them the viewer gets a striking sense of the intimacy of their life together. There's nothing overtly sexual about them, but as with any compelling nude photograph, it's both best and hard not to stare.
"The nudes are a much more conceptual thing," says Galvan, who chose the title, Gay Stuff, for a new showcase of his work at the Little Dame art boutique in University Heights, which opens Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. "I try not to make it too much for people. Sometimes it's simple and they're just intimate moments."
And it's these intimate moments, whether of his boyfriend laying in bed or a family waiting on the corner of a Baja street, that are Galvan's bread and butter. Not still-life photography, but just life photography.
"I'd say I seek out the moments, but most of the time what you see is just my life," Galvan says.