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Q&A:  We catch up with Niall Benvie, who looks back on his year in photography…

19th December 2018

This week we catch up with Niall Benvie, who looks back on his year in photography...

Which image would you highlight from 2018?

“This is a composite of several elements photographed in the field studio against a brilliant white, backlit background, in the Austrian Tyrol. It was the first time that I used the Darker Colour blending mode in Photoshop and, with that discovery, the doors have opened to the creation of more complex composites than I’ve ever been able to make before. The biggest challenge, as ever, was lugging three tripods and another 15 kg of lighting equipment to make the photos in the first place!

Any words of wisdom that you came across in  2018 that you’d like to share?

“To become a better photographer, first become a more interesting person.” Unattributed.


Is there an interesting book (or exhibition or piece of music etc) you’ve read (seen, listened to etc.) In 2018 that you’d like to share?

“A collection of Wendell Berry’s essays, edited by Paul Kingsnorth, entitled “The World Ending Fire” is, at its core, a searing indictment of the treatment of the soil in industrialised countries and, in his estimation, the attendant breakdown of local economies, health and societal cohesion. It’s an implicit call for a return to agrarianism. Photo-book-wise, it is Lys, by Sandra Bartocha and Werner Bolman”.

The World-Ending Fire: The Essential Wendell Berry

Published by Allen Lane



Lys, An Intimate Journey to the North

by Sandra Bartocha & Werner Bollmann

Lys Publishing



Is there a photographer whose work you’ve come across in 2018 that has really inspired or impressed you?

Angélica Dass, with her brilliant Humanae project. And I have deep admiration, as ever, for the inventiveness of Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison.

What food do you take on a shoot?

“Charlotte cooks for our guests on tours and retreats so we always eat very well. I especially like her leek and tarragon crumble followed by her orange and ricotta tarte! If I’m working for a client, I have a big breakfast and don’t usually eat until the job is finished for the day”.


If you could have any photographer(s) (dead or alive)  over for Christmas drinks who would they be... and why?

"I think that would have to be Eliot Porter. He was contemporary of Steiglitz and a pioneering “art” nature photographer who loved birds. We’d find plenty to talk about, I think. Unfortunately, he died in 1990 so will be a bit mouldy by now”.


Who has been a photographic influence on you?

“In the last year? My wife, Charlotte: a lot of good ideas come from us going on a car journey and knocking ideas back and forth until they can be recognised as a plan. As a photographic example, my interest at the moment is in refining my still life and food skills and I look to the work of Nadine Greef, Linda Lomelino and Marte Marie Forsberg”.


What's your favourite place on Earth to take photographs?

Anywhere I feel I’m getting under the skin of the place. Right now, I’m really keen to return to the high alpine meadows around Blato in Slovenia with my field studio gear.


How do relax after a long day shooting?

“With a long, deep, hot bath and, ideally, a good brandy. Preferably 1866 Gran Reserva”.


What's the most exciting bit of photo tech news from 2018?

"I can synchronise my Elinchrom flashes with my camera at 1/8000th second shutter speed. Actually, this technology has been on the go for a couple of years but it’s been much the most helpful innovation in my commercial work”.

Niall and Charlotte will be leading our Burgundy photography tour in 2019, click here to find our more.

Light and Land

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