Ben Lawson considers himself an artist first and a photographer second. He bought his first camera a 7 years old and was instantly hooked. His current goal is to bring boudoir photography back to his ultra-conservative community. What are Ben’s secrets? How does he set up his shots? Read more in today’s Photog Friday.
Name: Ben Lawson
Country of residence: USA
How did you first get interested in photography?
When I was around 7 years old, I bought an old manual twin-lens reflex camera at an auction. Being a kid and a beginner gave me the freedom to experiment. I was hooked as soon as my first prints came back from the lab. It was a sad day when the film it used was discontinued, and I had to retire my beloved first camera!
What do you like to shoot?
I think of myself as an artist first, a photographer second. I shoot subjects and concepts that interest me, or challenge me to expand my skills. I love working with other people, not just clients but models, makeup artists, etc. The experience of collaboration on an art project has always been very rewarding.
What’s your approach to photography, your philosophy?
As I said, I am an artist first. Although I have quite a range of subject matter and themes, they are all intended to create a body of art. Even client work like weddings and portraits are approached with the same goal in mind. I loathe the traditional formal portrait, and strive to have fun and be creative with everything I do. I collaborate with every client and model to convey their unique personality along with my own vision.
What is the best photo you have taken?
It is difficult in the extreme to pick only one image that I can consider my best, especially since I shoot a wide range of imagery. Almost every shoot lends one image that makes me sit back and think, “Wow, this one is really wonderful. I have
to share this with everybody!” Often they are those where serendipity is more a factor in it’s greatness than deliberation, although I’m still aware that skill and preparedness help set the stage.
What gear are you using? What else do you want to buy?
I’m a Canon shooter. I’m currently using an entry-level DSLR which I’m too embarrassed to mention, but hope soon to upgrade – I would love to get my hands on a 5D Mark II! Otherwise, I use my Canon EF 24-70mm 1:2.8L lens almost exclusively, though my EF 70-200mm 1:2.8L gets called into service occasionally.
Which area of photography would you like to explore further (macro, landscapes, portraits)?
I have recently started dabbling in motion pictures, and so far I have enjoyed being the director as much as the cinematographer. A buddy and I hope to start developing independent films from our own scripts in the next few years. One of the new pro-DSLR cameras with video is at the top of my list of things to have in the next 6 months.
Where do you see your photography 5 years from now?
I have determined to bring boudoir photography to the ultra-conservative area I live in, and even now I can see it slowly catching on. In 5 years, I hope the misconceptions about it have been all but overcome and boudoir is my most sought after service.
What the best advice you would give to fellow photographers?
Keep shooting! If you are client oriented, find subjects you can shoot for free during the down times. If you shoot primarily people, join a model site where you can connect with models to do TFT/CD projects. If you need inspiration there are a ton of sites, and even local photography clubs, that post regular photo challenges to keep anyone busy.
The more you shoot, the more you will develop your own style and discover the things that move you. Photography is all about passion, and if you don’t have a passion for what you are shooting, it shows in your work.
Where can we find your images?