lexandra Benetel is an eighteen year old amateur photographer from Sydney, Australia. Photography has gradually become one of my greatest passions in her life along with music. She considers her work to consist of many dimensions. “Although I believe I am still developing a specific style, it is evident by looking at my work that portraiture is something I’ve resonated with. I’ve experimented by creating conceptual pieces while also producing simple photographs that simply capture a moment the way I saw it first exactly.” WSI: How did your journey into photography start? Your work focuses a lot on concept portraits and self portraiture, please tell us more about it. AB: Photography has always been a part of my life since I was quite little. My family is known for travelling a lot and I was fortunate enough to travel to Europe when I was just ten years old. My brother and I had been given a small disposable camera each, which would be used throughout our trip. There is one specific moment that I remember from my visit to London, England… perhaps two. The first being me running in the wide open space of what seemed to be the centre of the city, outstretching my arms as if to say, “I’m in London”. I had always wanted to do that. The second being me standing in front of a building, contemplating whether I should take the photo right then or to wait for something more significant to pass me later on. I guess looking back on that memory now, I’ve always been one for capturing an interesting composition. But, I have to say that if I were to specifically pick one age where my journey in photography
started, I would have to say that it was when I was fifteen. I had decided to choose Visual Design as one of my Year 8 Electives at school because it had caught my eye when I had read about it in an information booklet. It involved painting, drawing, photography… anything you could think of under the heading of ‘art’. I was so interested in just creating that I had decided that I’d take the course. Turns out that it was one of the best decisions of my life! My teacher was and is quite spontaneous in the classroom with his lessons. He may have something planned but then at the last minute, see something and transform it into a fun and creative lesson. He introduced me to pinhole photography and from then on, I was hooked. One day in class he made us all sign up to Flickr and I am forever thankful to him for that because Flickr has truly changed my life. To go back to why I take so many self portraits, my simple answer would be “because it’s a way for me to portray how I feel”. At the beginning of my ‘photography journey’ I would never show my face in my self portraits. I wasn’t comfortable in front of the camera yet and I felt that with my back turned it created mystery and conveyed the emotion I wanted to achieve well. Gradually, I explored other people’s work and noticed that an emotion could simply be portrayed by capturing someone’s face. I decided to slowly work my way into that and I find that by doing this, it really tells a story. My conceptual work however is a little different. It allows me to become someone else, a character in fact. I love putting myself in someone else’s shoes and capturing that on camera. I love the idea of creating new worlds that are out of this world. That’s always fascinated me and I have a lot of fun with that in the creating process.