Visual Communication second year student, Ben Neale, uses the lens to capture the ordinary, making it extraordinary.
I can’t help but notice your genuine interest in the city of Adelaide. What is it that you most like to capture through your lens?
My photography is so integrated with my day to day life that I mostly shoot the places that I’m already in, so that’s made Adelaide my prime subject since I moved over here in early 2016 to study. I made a small run magazine about the city in 2015 when I was just visiting. It was my first print foray and it paved the way for many Zines since (I made a Zine a month for all of 2015 and 2016- it was nuts). The things I like to capture are nice looking and simple. Either that or I connect with the message the subject conveys. I also go for bright colours, keeping it minimal and clear geometry. My graphic design influence can be clearly seen in my photos. I like to capture beautiful simple compositions in seemingly plain normal places.
How do you stumble across such wonders?
I explore a ton. Before I moved, I had run my hometown of Canberra into the ground. Zooming around the city, exploring the suburbs, I saw more of the city in one year than I had in my eighteen previous years of living there. This is mostly because I was out of school and had time to kill. I’m all about speed, getting places fast and getting shots fast. I hate to waste time. I like to spend it wisely.
With so much on your plate, how do you find balance within your busy lifestyle?
I always bite off more than I can chew and hope the stress gets me over the line. My time right now is devoted to full time uni, casual hospitality work, part time graphic design and web work, personal photography and developing my own personal brand. Sleep fits in there somewhere. I only do it all because I love it. The passion keeps me going, that and cold brew coffee.
Travel is so evidently a big and exciting thing for you, so where to next?
Hopefully getting to another continent very soon! My most recent trip was to New Zealand and I shot like eleven rolls of film in two weeks (plus a few thousand digital shots). New places and new surroundings absolutely pique my photography interest. From place to place there are so many different visual languages in the man-made infrastructure and in the natural surrounds.
Out of curiosity, how many cameras do you own?
At last count, 18 cameras. 13 of those shoot film and a few are purely there to look pretty. Shorter answer: too many. My daily camera setup is a big old Canon 6D, usually with a 17-40 mm because the wide looks so good on video, and my trusty Nikon Litetouch AF point and shoot in my pocket.
Photography is an expensive business, is it all worth it?
I should have gotten into pet rock making because pipe cleaners and bobble eyes are way bloody cheaper than camera gear. I’ve come from shooting with my parent’s cheap digital camera to shooting with professional gear. It’s expensive but makes ridiculously high quality images which is fantastic on a professional shoot. It has its drawbacks though. My friends know that I constantly have a big Canon camera hanging off my wrist, just in case the right shot appears in front of me. It gets heavy and leads to me opting to leave it at home more and more. I’m trying to minimise my gear now so there are zero barriers between me and shooting. Large heavy gear makes it harder to bring a good camera with you every day to uni. I just bought a camera that I think is the perfect mix of pocketable daily camera and professional level quality. Any Sony RX100 shooters out there with tips for me? Hit me up on insta.
What has been one of the hardest challenges you’ve faced?
My hardest challenge in my creative life is defining a clear style and motifs in my work. It became achingly clear when selecting photos for this piece that my subject matter, styles and cameras vary hugely. I’m just going to keep doing what I want with my photography while building my Instagram and my personal brand.
What’s your current focus?
My current focus is furthering my design work, building a personal brand, getting my website up to scratch (bneale.com) and working up some kind of audience on Instagram. Feel free to come take a look @ben_neale.
Check out more of Ben’s work, including his Zine, SHOOT at bneale.com
Words by Rachael Sharman.
Images by Ben Neale.