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Day 192: First Friday Feature: Alex Benetel

As soon as I discovered Alex Benetel’s work I was in love. The mysterious and unique environments along with the vibrant colors and stories captured my attention immediately. Alex has had the amazing opportunity of capturing stills on the sets of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and A Wrinkle In Time. It is my incredible honor to feature her in April’s First Friday Feature.

Portrait of the Photographer

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Alex Benetel and I am a creative fine art photographer from Sydney, Australia.

2. What got you started in photography?

It was in high school around the age of 15, when I started an elective called Visual Design. It was there where I was introduced to pinhole photography. It was an entirely new concept and experience that I completely fell in love with. From there, I was introduced to Flickr and began to take self portraits!

3. Describe your workflow, what is unique about your process?

In an ideal situation, I’d sit down and plan concepts thoroughly, however as my life has become more busy as the days go by (I’m a primary/elementary teacher full time), I haven’t had the luxury of doing just that! It seems as of late, locations tend to spark my ideas.  But, in saying that, I tend to have a rough idea of what I want to achieve either before going out on location or on arrival.

What I am constantly doing though, is writing down notes in a notebook or on my phone when concepts pop up in my head. Then, it’s all about trial and error on location because I’m sure like many photographers out there, you can have what you think is a bullet proof plan only for it to not work out how you thought. Once the photo is done, it’s back home to my laptop where the editing process begins!

4. What do you enjoy most about creating an image?

I love it when a concept comes together or even if a concept turns out better than I had originally imagined. I love the feeling of being at a location alone, witnessing beauty not many get to see in person. I love that magical feeling of looking at the back of the camera, knowing you have “the shot”. I also absolutely love editing – it’s where the magic happens and where it all comes together.

5. What camera equipment do you use? What have you used in the past?

I currently use a Nikon D850 with Sigma prime lenses – 50mm, 35mm and 85mm. The 35 is definitely my favourite lens. I’ve previously used a Nikon D600 and Nikon D90. I also started out with a Canon point and shoot camera.

6. Is there a certain theme you try to express in your work? What do you feel a need to share that?

I love sharing images that transport you to another world. I’ve always been a dreamer (still am) and have grown up loving fairytale/fictional films that take you out of your own reality. There are so many moments in our daily life, where we need to stop, appreciate the beauty around us and forget about all the things happening around us, to just be somewhere else for just a minute even if it’s not in this world.

7. Where do you find inspiration?

Locations inspire me a lot, films inspire me immensely as well and my own experiences and the experiences of others.

8. Out of your images, which is your personal favorite and why?

This is such a tough question, because it is constantly changing. A photo I always look back on fondly would have to be “An extraordinary sight” because it was my first trip to the South Island of New Zealand and absolutely blew me away. It was a concept I had thought of but wasn’t sure whether I could achieve it and it turned out better than I could have ever imagined.  “Nature’s Way” is also really important because it signified the birth of my unique style.

9. What is the biggest piece of advice you have ever been given? What advice would you give your younger self, the you who just started creating?

It’s simple but keep taking photos and sharing them. Chase after those connections and new opportunities. Back yourself.

You can find Alex through Instagram or her website.

Until Next Time,
Lillian Merritt

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