The Mission: Shoot Photos Of Naked Women While Your Mom’s At Work. The Result: “My Moms House,” Evan Carter’s First Book
As these things do, inspiration struck on New Year’s Day while guzzling champagne, drunk in your mom’s hot tub. Atlanta photographer Evan Carter’s parental figure was away, ringing in 2015 in Mexico. He was a boomerang kid with a freshly inked Economics degree from Occidental College living back at home. But Carter wanted to create his first themed photography book, showcasing his black and white prints.
The mission: Find tiny gaps in his mom’s schedule where she would be out of the house and try and shoot pictures of naked women while she’s gone and put out a photo book without her finding out.
The goal: To become the photographer you want to become while living at home with your mom.
Eleven models, 14 photo shoots and 65 Kickstarter backers in 9 countries later, the result is “My Moms House: A Photobook By Evan Carter,” which will be officially unveiled tonight at the offices of Russell Carter Artist Management at 567 Ralph McGill Boulevard in Atlanta from 7 to 11 p.m.
“I never outright lied,” Carter explains laughing, while sitting on the counter next to the stove in his mom’s Atlanta kitchen. “I just told her, ‘I have a photo shoot today.’ And sometimes I would ask specific things like, ‘Will you be at work on Tuesday from 2 to 7?’”
“He was trying to be covert about it,” explains Evan’s mom, folding kitchen towels and aprons fresh out of the dryer. “I’m usually pretty darn blasé. But I’m a neat person. I tend to notice when things are out of place.” Or perhaps, when a naked model is sprawled artfully on your couch. Or perched upside in your bathtub. Or straddling your staircase.
Sadie (and her butt) even inspired the project’s introduction: “It’s hard for a graduate to move back home, harder still to be a photographer while living with your mom, but while the cat was away…” Sadie died a few days after the project went to the printer and is buried on the property a few feet from where Carter stood to take one of the project’s most stunning shots — a model in repose in the backyard, shot from above with the house windows serving as reflective devices.
Sure, there were the occasional interruptions, like the day the painters dropped by. Or when the guys showed up to stain the floors. Recalls Carter with a grin: “They wanted to come back and stain the floors like 12 more times.”
But when Carter ended up with 3500 photographs and needed to select just 50, he decided to come clean with his mom. “She’s such a photography lover and has a background in photography,” Evan explains. “I wanted her curation skills and I value her artistic sensibilities.”
“It was nice that he wanted me to be a part of it,” says Evan’s mom. She had two ground rules: “Don’t use my name and don’t tell people where I live.” And she had veto power over any images that might reveal too much about her private life to the world. She concedes that curating images of models posed throughout her house was sometimes a little unsettling. “Once in a while, I would look at a photo and think, ‘Wow, she is right on my desk,’ she explains laughing. “So, that was kind of weird at times.”
One family favorite in the book is the image of a naked model crawling under Evan’s mom’s office desk with a fax machine in the foreground and a framed photo on the bookcase of his youngest brother Adrian as a little boy, his face in his hands, staring in the direction of the model’s posterior.
Growing up in a house filled with photography, art and music (Evan’s dad is Atlanta entertainment lawyer and artist manager Russell Carter), Evan’s mom, noting his photographic abilities, signed him up at age 12 for a black and white photography darkroom class at Callanwolde where he learned how to make his own prints and pay attention to exposure and focus. Even now, Carter says he prefers to shoot his personal work on film, leaving digital photography for his professional concert and portrait assignments.
And while he’s perhaps best known for that cellphone photo of Prince at the Fox Theatre taken days before the music icon’s death in April, Carter has been in the pit at concerts with his trusty Nikon, shooting everyone from the Rolling Stones and John Mayer to Grace Potter, Snoop Dogg and Big Boi for years now. In 2015, he shot the photographs for the Indigo Girls “One Lost Day” album.
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At 26, Carter says his goals for “My Moms House” aren’t all set in stone. Says Carter: “If I end up running around the world shooting bands every night, great. Maybe I’ll get to shoot editorial for magazines. Maybe this helps me get into grad school. Or maybe I’ll just sell 100 copies of this book and call it a day. Success for me with photography means being a photographer full time.”
Oh, and one other thing. “The biggest goal is not to live in my mom’s house.”
An opening reception for My Moms House print exhibition will be held Thursday, Oct. 6 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Russell Carter Artist Management, 567 Ralph McGill Boulevard, Atlanta. For more information on how to buy a copy of the photobook or a print from the collection, go to mymoms.house or visit evancarterphotography.com
Richard L. Eldredge is the founder and editor in chief of Eldredge ATL. As a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Atlanta magazine, he has covered Atlanta since 1990.