LOS ANGELES — Carlos Batts, the veteran adult industry photographer and director, passed away on Tuesday night, his wife April Flores confirmed today.
The Baltimore native Batts was 40 years old. He and Flores had been married for 10 years and together for the past 13 after meeting at an art gallery in Echo Park, Calif.
"I'm still trying to process what happened," Flores told XBIZ. "He was my partner in everything. We all can’t believe it. It was so sudden."
A respected fixture in the L.A. art scene, Batts had been a commercial and fine art photographer for 23 years in addition to his eventful adult film career that he shared with Flores, the adult film star and model whom he considered his muse.
"It was lust at first sight," Flores said. "And for him, he really wanted to photograph me. He always said that I had really nice skin."
Batts directed more than 10 adult films in the past six years, including the Feminist Porn Award-winning title "April Flores World," "Behind the Red Door," "Dangerous Curves," "Glamazons," "Kiss Attack," "Voluptuous Biker Babes," "Voluptuous Life," "Alice" and "Young Hollywood." Flores was in all of Batts' movies.
"It felt like destiny and it felt like we had a message and a vision to mix art and sexuality," she said.
Batts' body of work also included the erotic coffee table books, “Wild Skin” and “Crazy Sexy Hollywood,” that feature images from his magazine editorials. Prior to his adult industry work, he regularly shot punk and metal hardcore bands as well as several hip-hop artists, actresses and models for mainstream magazines, albums and book covers.
Batts achieved a dream on July 27 when he and Flores celebrated the publication of their collaborative photo project “Fat Girl” with an art discussion and book signing at the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA.
The duo developed the concept for the book shortly after they met. Batts and Flores discussed photography, modeling and creating their art together at the MOCA event which included a Fat Girl Book Exhibit launch at the Coagula Curatorial.
Prior to the event, Batts described the occasion as "like Run DMC playing Madison Square Garden."
"It was a dream come true to have the book discussion at MOCA at a place that we had always aspired to be a part of, it just felt amazing," Flores said. "And we felt like we really were going places that we had wanted to go."
She said they had been working on completing a travelogue-style show, in addition to being two scenes into their next film project.
"I think Carlos impacted people in a positive way by including all different body types, ethnicities and gender representation and really focusing on the art of each project and always staying true to his artistic vision," Flores said.
Photographer Dave Naz, one of Batts' confidants, said in a Facebook post today, "I'm in shock and deeply saddened by the passing of one of my closest friends, Carlos Batts. Carlos was an amazing artist and a loving husband. Please keep [April] and the family in your thoughts."
Fellow photographer Rae Threat tweeted, "You were a dear friend, a great artist, a true inspiration. Thank you for everything."
Photographer Gia Jordan said in a tweet that Batts was "a prolific artist with so much to show the world. An authentic man, good friend and loving husband."
Batts, who has two brothers, was also an avid boxing and mixed-martial-arts fan who photographed fighters as a hobby.
Memorial arrangements were still being determined at post time.