Hauntingly beautiful, serene and magical: Alex Benetel’s photographs capture mysterious yet dream-like worlds, filled with oddities that encompass aspects of reality. Inspired by her travels, she loves documenting a memory or special occasion with the use of a camera. Having been named as one of the 20 best artists on Flickr, she was invited to New York to exhibit in The Flickr20under20 exhibition curated by Ivan Shaw, Director of Photography for Vogue.
Come into the mysterious world where magic is real!
Name: Alex Benetel
Occupation: Primary Teacher (Just finished uni and graduated in April!)
Tell me a little about your photography: It’s hard to explain my photography in a few words, just because I’m always trying new things and trying to grow as an artist. But, I like to create a sense of mystery and magic in my work. I love to create worlds but include familiarities from aspects of reality so people can still relate to the concept.
How would you describe yourself in three words? Sarcastic, TV-addict, dreamer. That’s probably more than three.
What’s your food guilty pleasure? Chocolate – every time.
Who are some of your favourite artists/designers and why? I am a huge fan of Tim Walker. His work is so extraordinary and I just love that sense of fantasy and magic in all of his photographs. Gregory Crewdson is another inspiration of mine. I’m a big lover of films and that cinematic quality he creates in his work is something I admire and want to experiment with more in the future. Another name I’d like to mention is Annie Leibovitz – another truly incredible artist.
What is the biggest risk you have taken with your photography? I’ve done a lot of crazy things to get some good shots, some of which weren’t totally… let’s say acceptable to do, but hey, if no one’s there, why not? When I was in New York a few years ago, I spent a few days with some photographer friends and we set off a smoke bomb in a place where we probably shouldn’t have. I’ve made one of my other photographer friends climb under a fence and stand on a cliff edge at a somewhat infamous tourist location in Sydney too. I mean, you’ve got to take risks in order to get cool photographs but the biggest risk of all is putting yourself out there!
If you weren’t doing what you’re currently doing, what would it be? Literal answer – If I weren’t sitting at this computer typing these answers, I’d be catching up with all of my TV shows while eating lots of chocolate and drinking tea.
Serious answer – I’m in kind of a limbo stage in my life. I’ve just finished university and graduate in April. I have no plans other than to focus more on photography, travel and do some casual teaching. If I weren’t doing all that – who knows?
What’s the most exciting thing that’s happened to you in the last year? My lips are sealed on that one until sometime in 2016. Sorry!
What’s a project you’d like to undertake? Travel to some of my favourite cities around the world and document that entire experience and perhaps create a book about it. I’ve seen a lot of artists do that lately and I think that’s so inspiring and something I’d really like to do some day. I love the idea of living in New York for some part of my life, so the idea of immersing myself in that city in particular and documenting my experiences there sounds incredible.
How did you find your experience as a showcasing artist at RAW Artist’s first Sydney showcase? Honestly, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I had people looking at my work and I mean really looking at my work. I remember this one guy who stood there for at least 5 minutes and told me how great my work was. I got to sell prints and have real conversations with people about both my photography and photography in general. Just seeing people take my business cards was super exciting and I’m so glad that I got to share such a special night with my family and friends.
What advice would you pass onto to other artists who will be showcasing in upcoming RAW Artist showcases? Don’t be stressed and just enjoy the night. Yes, that whole preparation process is a little stressful but it’s your night so enjoy it and relax. Be prepared for people’s questions and new opportunities to come your way – it’s truly exciting. Connect and get to know the other artists as well. But, most of all, be yourself and be proud of what you’ve achieved.
Lastly, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received? This is such a difficult question to answer because I’ve received so many little pieces of advice over the years. I guess my parents have always told me to do what makes me happy and forget about the rest. Sometimes work/university becomes too much and it’s important just to stop, look what’s happening around you and take a leap of faith. Go on that holiday you’ve always dreamed about, take that opportunity that scares you to death because at the end of the day, you don’t want to look back on life wishing you were happier.
Where can we get social and be friends?