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Get to know Ben Ray­ner: the pho­to­gra­pher who has shot ASAP Rocky and Mia Goth

Ben Rayner is a photographer whose photographs are the epitome of ease, cool and fun. He has photographed people like Felicity Jones, ASAP Rocky, Bella Hadid, Greta Gerwig, Lil Wayne, Russell Brand, Mia Goth, Alexa Chung for magazines like Vogue Russia, The New York Times, Wonderland, Vice, Dazed and Confused…

His pho­to­gra­phy is simp­le yet effec­ti­ve. It’s enter­tai­ning but not in a laug­ha­ble man­ner but just in a smart, wit­ty way with few hid­den con­no­ta­ti­ons and a good eye on what makes some­thing inte­res­ting and worth cap­tu­ring of. From dogs to models to other pho­to­gra­pher friends, Ben cap­tures them all in their, let’s say, natu­ral habi­tat and in a way, not­hing seems to be for­ced and ever­ything loo­ks just right and relaxed.

What makes you want to take pho­to­graphs?
Ever­ything! Natu­re, peop­le, the ground. I kind of taking pic­tures of liter­al­ly ever­ything. I worked out I had an acci­den­tal seri­es of the backs of peo­p­le’s heads in the street, and colo­red hair. I’m real­ly inspi­red by ever­ything. I am kind of from the school of thought of shoot at the moment and then edit after. Edi­t­ing is a lar­ge part of my work and makes me make sen­se of ever­ything after I have shot it. I often edit work a long time after I have shot it.

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When and why did you tra­de Lon­don for NY?
2010, I was 25. I fan­cied a chan­ge gro­wing up in Lon­don my who­le life, and I had been com­ing to NY a lot for work. I love Lon­don, but I think I like New York more. I love the ener­gy of the city, and it still has­n’t got old for me. I am a child of the 90s so grew up watching a lot of Ame­ri­can TV and movies, so the­re was some kind of romance to NYC to me. It still has­n’t left me. I was also a huge punk rock/​indie rock nerd, and all the bands I lik­ed were Ame­ri­can. I thought I always wan­ted to live in New York and it was a dream come true when I final­ly made it.

What is your favo­ri­te thing about Lon­don and what about NY?
Lon­don: I love the buses. Ever­yo­ne rides the bus in Lon­don. It’s a gre­at way of see­ing the city from high up if you ride on the top deck, two of my friends James Pear­son-How­es and Will Rob­son-Scott did a cool pho­to pro­ject of pho­tos just from the tops of buses. I also love how OLD ever­ything is in Lon­don. And I real­ly miss Lon­don flats. They are qui­te unique.

NY: I love parks, wal­king the streets, it’s the best place in the world to walk around. I like all the old peop­le too. OLD New York peop­le are so cool. I even like New York in the winter.

When you take pho­to­graphs of someo­ne who is more known, do you ever feel more pres­su­red becau­se they are more expo­sed and much more seen, so ever­ything has to be that much bet­ter?
Not real­ly. I have been doing this for about 13 years now, so I am real­ly used to it. I actual­ly shot pret­ty well known peop­le very ear­ly on in my care­er, so I tre­at them the same as all my sub­jects. I have a very strip­ped back style so I like to think I can shoot more famous peop­le in a real­ly rela­xed way so that I get some of their real per­so­na­li­ty out. Things are plan­ned but allow spontaneity.

How would your dream shoot look like?
I don’t real­ly have a dream shoot. I like to spend time with peop­le to real­ly get their true sel­ves. I would love to shoot Chan­ce the Rap­per, Kanye, Dra­ke, at the moment, though.

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Is taking pho­to­graphs some­thing you always wan­ted to do?
At this sta­ge it’s kind of the only thing I know. I ori­gi­nal­ly wan­ted to be a music jour­na­list, though. I even had an indie rock fan­zine I publis­hed when I was 14/15. I inter­view­ed Nine Inch Nails, Idle­wild, NOFX and lots more bands. I took all the pho­tos and wro­te all the reviews too. It was obvious­ly ter­ri­ble! I used to get into every con­cert for free though and a moun­tain of pro­mo CDs. It was awesome

Ana­log or digi­tal?
I love both! I still shoot both. Film has a spe­cial place in my heart as it is what I star­ted on but it’s not always practical.

Do you may­be remem­ber what was the first pho­to­graph you took?
I had a came­ra that loo­ked like a dino­saur when I was about 5. I pro­bab­ly took a pho­to of my bro­ther in my back garden.

What did you want to be gro­wing up?
First­ly a Music Jour­na­list, then a Pho­to­gra­pher. Befo­re that pro­bab­ly a footballer?

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Who­se work do you admi­re the most?
Wolf­gang Till­mans. He’s my fave. He shoots ever­ything. He is a big inspi­ra­ti­on. I shot him, and he was a won­der­ful man.

What was your first real job?
I worked in KFC in Lon­don. I got paid mini­mum wage and got shou­t­ed out con­stant­ly. It was horrible.

Do you ever Goog­le yourself?
Sure. The­re’s also a well known music jour­na­list in Cana­da with my name.

When was the last time you had a slee­p­less night?
Last night.

Do you skate?
Not in 2017. I stop­ped qui­te ear­ly. I love skate­boar­ding, though.

For more pic­tures, have a look at Ben Ray­ners Insta­gram account here

09 Mai 2017 · NEUBAU EYEWEAR
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