Annie Leibovitz + Tim Walker.
Pasta + Chocolate.
Most recently, the Fairmont in San Francisco.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte + Bossypants by Tina Fey.
Alex Benetel: I am a twenty-three-year-old teacher and photographer from Sydney, Australia. At the age of 15, I enrolled in a visual design course, which sparked my passion for photography. I experimented with pinhole photography and absolutely fell in love with the process. My teacher then introduced me to Flickr and encouraged me to share my work. From there, I discovered a whole community of artists who were taking beautiful self-portraits. I decided to try it myself and haven’t stopped ever since.
I soon became part of that community and have since made some wonderful friends situated all over the world. In 2014, I was named as one of Flickr’s 20under20 Artists and was flown to New York to exhibit my work. The Flickr 20under20 exhibition was curated by Ivan Shaw, Director of Photography for Vogue. I was so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to showcase my work alongside artists I had admired for years.
Most recently in 2015, I was invited by Disney and Instagram to take stills on the set of Rogue One. I also graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Education (Primary).
Alex Benetel’s official platforms:
– How did you first become interested in photography?
I first became interested in photography during high school. I was required to choose an elective and decided to go with visual design. It was a new course at my school and seemed unlike any other subject I had studied before. It also sounded very creative, which both terrified and intrigued me.
At the time, I had never considered myself as very creative, so I thought it’d be an opportunity to experience something out of my comfort zone. There was a unit on pinhole photography and required us to develop our photographs in the dark room. For me, it didn’t start off perfectly and I soon found myself giving up my lunchtimes to work on my technique and develop as many photographs as I could.
Soon enough, I improved and shared them on my newly made Flickr account. It was from there that I started talking to young photographers from all over the world who were taking self portraits in places around their hometowns. They opened my eyes to the possibilities of photography and inspired me to take self-portraits.
-How would you describe your style of photography?
I aim to create beautiful photographs that capture mysterious yet dream-like worlds, filled with oddities that encompass aspects of reality.
-What is your typical camera setup on a shoot?
I pop my Nikon D600 on top of a tripod, have my remote ready in my hand and have me/someone else stand in front of the camera; that’s pretty much it! I work outdoors using the natural light so my setup is very minimal.
-Is there a theme or concept that runs throughout all of your work?
I always like to think there’s a sense of mystery and wonder in my work.
-How do you promote your work?
I promote my work through social media. I’ve found that Instagram is my best platform at the moment, but ensure to share my work on all of my accounts (Flickr, 500px, Twitter, Facebook). You never know who may stumble upon your work, so I think it’s very important to keep sharing in different ways.
-What is your post-production workflow like?
Post-production can range from being a very short process, to one that will take days or weeks. I tend to import my photographs and immediately start experimenting with colour, just to see what avenues are possible for the photograph. After I have a direction, I’ll begin by expanding the frame if I need to, retouch the image and then revisit colour.
I’ve taken so many photographs over the last six months while balancing my teaching job, so I haven’t really had the chance to sit down properly and edit some new work. But, that’s about to change so I’m very excited to get back into it!
-How do you balance doing fine art work and more commercial shoots?
Well, I haven’t really done a lot of commercial shoots. But when I shoot things for specific projects or exhibitions that follow a certain theme or have a specific deadline, I try to incorporate my ‘fine art’ style into it. That way, I don’t have to worry about whether to make more time to shoot ‘fine art’ work because my commercial work already fits in with my developed style.
-What is your dream project?
Honestly, I’m still trying to work that out. Being able to take fine art portraits around the world is something I would absolutely love to keep doing. Also, taking stills on a film set has always been a dream, so I’m hoping I get to do that again as soon as possible!
-What is your top technical tip?
I’m not a very technical person when it comes to photography. For my type of photography, it’s always about light. So if you’re wanting to achieve a softer look or have a photograph that you can play easily with in Photoshop, make sure you go out shooting on a cloudy day or just before the sun rises/sets.
-How would you advise someone just starting out in fine art photography?
Try new things, write down those weird and wacky ideas, explore places around your home (you never know what you’ll find), experiment in Photoshop and honestly, just keep taking photos and sharing them. The more you take photographs, the more you’ll improve and develop your own unique style.
-Do you see your work as documentary, commercial or art based?
Art based. However, when I personally look back on my own work, it’s somewhat of a documentary of my life, so there’s that element to it as well.
-What was the best career advice you were ever given?
My friend Rosie recently taught me a whole bunch of things, but something that I’ve learned over the years, and through her, is that you shouldn’t wait for opportunities to come to you. Try to chase them yourself and take some risks.