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Interview with Benj

@majutrindade 16 May 2023

I’m benj and i’m 24 years old. Based out of England I’m a full time fashion photographer, what you would see online from me however is mostly travel related content, but that’s just me taking pictures of the cool things I see! That’s it really, nothing more to it, or I’m willing to share with you lot haha I keep my personal life very private but you’d be able to catch some of it on my Instagram.

Well, I would like to start telling people how I found out about your profile! A repost on a profile of analog photographs made me fall in love with a portrait of a furry and horned animal. Lol. The beautiful colors and that cute animal made me start following your profile and keeping up with your work. By the way, is that animal a bull? We don’t have animals like this in Brazil!

Benj: That animal is a highland cow! They are super fluffy and actually really friendly and calm despite having such large horns.

How did you start your career as a photographer?

Benj: Photography to me wasn’t ever anything I dreamt of doing, or even planned. It just sort of happened. Back when I was in school I studied art and I was told I could take photos as a way of completing course work instead of drawing so… because I’m lazy I did ahah. Ended up enjoying it and buying a camera and then from that I started to go out with the purpose of taking photos. I got the same satisfaction out of making a good photograph as I did with finishing a drawing it was just faster! After a while people said I wasn’t too bad at it and I could do it for a job but I didn’t take it seriously at all for the first 3/4 years. Only in the last 2 years I decided to could do it as a job and now I’m full time as a fashion photographer.

Which are your greatest inspirations and preferences? Is there any camera or brand that became a lifemate? Any favorite film?

Benj: A lot of my inspiration comes from music videos, to me they are one of the most creative forms of visual art. The creative freedom they have with them is insane and with some videos they spark ideas in my head of how i could incorporate it into my own work. I also love to get inspiration from artworks, such as paintings and they paint the perfect or unique compositions in a way which if photographed would be insane. I don’t get much or any inspiration from photography itself at all honestly, apart from what my friends are making I don’t really consume much from Instagram or places like that. Just keep my photo taking to myself. I’m terms of brands I shoot Leica because I know it’s reliable and won’t break on me when I’m halfway up a mountain and the same with the film I use, mostly Portra 400. I’ve shot it so much I know how to expose it to get the look I want.

Have you always been in touch with analog photography? How were you introduced to it?

Benj: I’ve only shot film since covid hit as I had an old camera in the house and decided to order some film for it. My digital edit style is very comparable to a flat scan so it was a nice adding to start shooting film but I got hooked. The process and then slow nature of it really made me fall in love with making images that I felt meant more as I was consciously thinking about what I was making. Before I started shooting film though it wasn’t even something that was on my radar at all.

What is your main criterion to create a photo? For example, I give priority to lighting. I believe that good lighting is responsible for 80% of a good photo. Do you agree?

Benj: For me good light is a must, I won’t shoot if that light is bad, especially with film as it’s not worth wasting the film on something that won’t come out. Lighting wise though what I would consider bad light for one subject could be the perfect light to shoot something else so it’s always good to have something else in mind if the light takes a bad turn!

In your opinion, is it a crime (wrong) to adjust and edit analog photos?

Benj: Ahah I don’t think it’s a crime at all to adjust your photo in an editor. You make adjustments as the negatives are been scanned and you could scan it differently every time so putting it into lightroom to make further adjustments is what I would expect most people do. Unless they have very precise scan settings. If that’s that case they do the lightroom part at the scanning. And I want the best result from my image. Don’t get me wrong I do go crazy with it partly because you can’t due to the file sizes but if there’s a person or car in my landscape it will be getting cloned stamped out so I can make the image I wanted and shot the scene for.

What tip would you give to the people reading this interview that would like to start photographing analog?

Benj: For someone who wants to start shooting film I’d say just try it and learn as much as you can. Don’t expect each photo to be perfect at the start and don’t think you need a Leica to take good photographs. It can be discouraging when starting out making photos that just don’t come out so certainly for the first roll or two don’t make anything you care about as you are figuring out how it works. Just have fun with it and make the mistakes early ahah.

Follow @benj.story on Instagram.

Interview by: Maju Trindade.

Maju Trindade @majutrindade

Maria Júlia Trindade, mais conhecida como Maju, é uma influenciadora digital. Em 2016 teve um livro publicado, stylist formada em 2021 pelo IED, modelo, fotógrafa e dona de um Podcast. Atualmente faz parte de uma produtora de audiovisual como Diretora Criativa. Considerada um dos maiores fenômenos da internet brasileira somando mais de 12 milhões de seguidores.

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