Today’s interview is with Ben Sasso!
Where did you start as a photographer? Was finding your voice an organic, mellow process or did it involve some angst in the growing pains?
I actually started in yearbook class in high school. When I graduated, my yearbook teacher gifted me an old film camera and I assumed that I was going to be a killer photographer right away. I was pretty discouraged when I was wrong. My first few rolls looked like I was shooting them with my eyes closed so I decided to give it a rest for a while. It stuck with me as a hobby but I never considered it as a career option until I was on the road and stayed with a group of guys who were all my age and shooting full time. From that point on I knew it was what I wanted to do and I put in the work to make it happen.
You have your choice of location, an unlimited budget for wardrobe/props/gear etc. What does your dream shoot look like?
Oh man. Since I shoot outdoors, killer locations are high on my priority list. If the budget was open, there is a pretty good chance that I would end up either in Greenland on some icy mountains or in Peru on some of the largest sand dunes in South America. Wardrobe and props would stay minimal because I’m a fan of simplicity but if the budget was unlimited you better believe that my whole crew is going out for sushi after the shoot.
Is there one piece of advice that you would give to all photographers?
Shoot for love, not for money. This is absolutely a job of passion. I think it is massively important to shoot the type of work that really gets you excited instead of shooting what may make you the most money. If you shoot what you love, you will be creating your best work, improving faster, and drawing in clients who love the same type of work that you do. It’s kind of a no brainer. We are artists and have the freedom to create whatever in the heck we want, let’s take advantage of that.
For you, personally, primes or zooms?
I shoot all primes (35L, 50L, and 85L mostly). I love the shallow DOF and clarity that they give me and I also love the way it gets me thinking while I’m shooting. I’m much more intentional about which focal length will bring out the mood I want because of it.
What is your best piece of advice for photographers attending an educational event? How can he/she get the most out of it?
Open your brain and absorb. No matter what room you are in, there is always someone in there who knows more than you about something. Be open to learning and welcome it in. No idea is too small to write down.
Your mobile work often includes an intriguing sense of space and scale. When confronted with the opportunity to capture space as an element of design, is doing so a considered choice or an unconscious natural reaction to the scene in front of you?
Thanks! It is absolutely something I think about. Where the horizon falls, what perspective I shoot from, how I can emphasize certain parts of the frame, etc. Those are always on my mind when shooting mobile work just like they are in my other work.
You are a self-described lover of nature. What is one location that is on your bucket list to visit?
Wilderness is what gets me going. Anywhere that I can step off a plane, get away from concrete, and get lost. Greenlend, Norway, Sweden, etc. I know you said just one but that’s just way too hard.
What is your hope for the attendees of your “Style and Brand” session at Click Away 2015? What should attendees expect?
I am constantly getting emails and messages from photographers asking how to find their style and how to develop something that is both unique, and recognizable as their own. The Style and Brand session is the long answer to that. I will be talking about how to develop your photographic style, how to experiment within it to foster progression, and how to build a brand that brings out the best in that style.