Ben Loris Blair

Published 1/1/0001

undefinedWhere are you based?
Auckland Central

When did you first pick up a camera?
I first picked up a camera when I was 17 while living in a small town in the South Island. It was a Canon 1000D with basic kit lenses and a 50mm. The cows on the farm were my main subject for quite some time!

What do you most like to photograph?
For me, people are the most interesting to photograph.
I like to establish a connection with the subject beyond a chance encounter. Everyone is different which really interests me, I like to embrace it and think it allows me to creates more diverse work.



What gear do you use most often?
The main gear that I use is my Canon 5D Mk III with a 24-70mm, 50mm, 85mm. I also have a Broncolor pack that I use for all my studio lighting.
If you had to choose only one lens, what would it be and why?
If I had to choose one lens it would be a 50mm lens - Canon 50mm f1.2L or the Sigma Art 50mm f1.4. It’s perfect for portraits.

What is/has been your greatest challenge as a photographer?
Moving from rural Southland to Auckland was probably the biggest challenge for me. I often wondered if I made the right decision. I consider photography to be more of a lifestyle than just a job for me, so integrating that with my life has been a challenge.


What do you feel has been your greatest photographic achievement to date?
Booking my first photography job was probably my most memorable achievement. The first time I got paid to do what I love was amazing.



Who/what motivates or inspires you to keep doing what you do?
I’m inspired by the likes of Richard Avedon. I love how his work is minimalist, and black and white. I find his simplistic approach to fashion photography inspiring, he consistently shows movement in his images, gives life to his subjects and the garments they are wearing.

I’m also very inspired by Nick Knight for his originality. He's inspired by prevalent issues and popular culture. His work is relevant and timeless.

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?
If I wasn’t a photographer, I would probably be living in the South Island working as a dairy farmer.



Could you describe your dream client/job?
I would love to be working for European Fashion Labels doing their campaigns, and working with other like minded creators. Having a creative and trusting team is important to me, collaboration and creating work with other people, sharing ideas and opinions, pushes me further and allows me to grow. Being in this kind of environment would create my ideal job.

Do you feel like you need to study to become a photographer?
Although I studied photography for three years, I don’t believe it is vital to becoming a photographer. Tutors and lecturers can only teach you so much, the rest is up to you and your natural eye. Study was good for me in the sense that it allowed me to transition from country life in the South Island to living in Auckland. It gave me time and a good grounding to make connections and learn in a positive environment, prior to being fully in the industry.


You are assisting, would you recommend this? And what are you learning from it?
100% I would recommend assisting, as I said, you can only learn so much through an educational platform. From assisting I’ve learnt how to use different equipment and how photographers interact with, and work for their clients. I am constantly learning how they work with light to get different results, how they work in teams and market themselves. This insight into their work has allowed me to pick elements from various photographers work ethics to implement into my own, and helped me gain a vision of how I want to be as a professional.

How did you start assisting, what would your advice be to someone who wants to start assisting?
I started assisting through Garth Badger. I met Garth through Ucol where I was studying, he needed assistance for one of his exhibitions. From there I interned / assisted him and throughout this time he gave me invaluable knowledge. Prior to hands on experience my knowledge was very limited and I am entirely grateful for his patience. My advice would be, always be open for opportunities and take every one you can. Go to events and exhibitions, find local photographers who inspire you and get in touch with them. Try to meet and connect with people who are like minded, the industry is all about connections.


In your opinion, what makes a good photograph?
There are so many different aspects that make a good photograph. It’s very subjective. Not everyone may find the same image engaging or beautiful.

As a young photographer you’ve already found some success photographing up and coming labels and producing interesting, creative work. A lot of photographers struggle to make the transition from study to booking jobs. Is there anything you’ve done that you think has influenced your success?
I feel like I'm in this transitional period. I still have a lot to learn, which is why I like to focus on my assisting so I can constantly grow as a creative. Marketing yourself well is important, having a sound understanding of your aesthetic and constantly shooting personal work so you can be seen. Continue to meet like minded creatives - graphic designers; illustrators, stylists, makeup artists. Its not an industry that you can really succeed in alone. There is usually always someone else involved so its important to maintain and develop new connections.




Who/what motivates or inspires you to keep doing what you do?
Creative people who are killing it in all aspects of the creative industry. People who are honest and confident in who they are as people, who aren't fixated on fulfilling a surface level expectation. 

What’s next for you? What are you hoping to accomplish in 2016?
I want to continue transitioning from studying into full time photography. I want to produce some really cool shit, and keep collaborating with exciting and creative people. I also aim to keep assisting as much as I can, that's huge for me this year.



If you'd like to see more of Ben's work, check out his;




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