Recently I had the chance to chat with Brooks Institute Alumnus, Benjo Arwas. During his time at Brooks, Benjo was a source of inspiration to so many and continues to drive many of us to work harder. His sheer talent and ability to produce large quantities of top notch work was/is astounding.
What have you been working on since graduating Brooks Institute? I am doing exactly what I was doing while I was in Brooks, just without driving 3 times a week back and forth to Santa Barbara. Shooting, Producing, pushing the work out with marketing, promoting, meeting people, being exhibiting, and consistently creating to learn and to experiment.
You shoot a lot of film, what does film give you that you can’t get from digital? A wise friend of mine define it the best. Film is like a hand written love letters, or like a conversation in-person. It will always last and will touch a person better then text message, or email. I see film as opportunity to have a bit more time with the character/personality and to get to know them better, the camera is only a tool for a great conversation.
What is your routine before you go on a shoot? Pre-production is number one in everything, but you need to know how to be flexible if anything changes. Usually, a lot changes because you see the wardrobe and the model/talent in person, and you get a different tweak of inspiration. I rarely follow what I planned at the very beginning, I am always making little changes in lighting, background, location and mood – eventually talking with the creative team to see their thoughts and feedback, and continuing from there or going back to the source.
All of your personal is work is amazing. which of these projects is closest to you, and what inspired it?
All of my editorial and personal work are close to me and I see as “personal work”. Everything right now is close to me, but the most favorite ones are those which I created as an outtake, or just before or after the main shoot. These are the moments where I was actually just capturing the person’s character, not the set, the makeup, the hair etc…Its a different feeling for me that allows me to be connected with that picture better.
What advice do you have to the upcoming graduates from Brooks, or any young photographers?
Bob Dylan said: “Don’t think twice, its alright,” and thats the main thing, If you have an idea, or vision – just go for it and make it count. Prepare yourself for the worst, and know how to find quick solutions. Go out and expose yourself to the world and get inspired by people and places. Photography is only 3%-5% of the actual profession – everything else is dedicated to promoting, getting inspired, pre production, post production, accounting, marketing, traveling, casting, meetings and what not. The “click” is the last thing you are really doing…If everything around it is well prepared and perfect – will take you less then 3 minutes to capture the moment you planned. ALL IMAGES © BENJO ARWAS
For more work and information take a look at benjoarwas.com
Make sure you check out my personal favorite of his projects
I LIKE STRONG BLACK COFFEE, AND ART