We've been well aware of Benjamin's street photography and street portrait work for a while now and have seen it go from strength to strength especially in the past year.
Make sure you check out his website for more including powerful street portraits... link after the interview!
Q: Benjamin please tell us a little about you
My name is Benjamin Nwaneampeh. I live in Essex, United Kingdom, but almost everything I do is in London. I’ve been doing street photography for about 4 years, but feel that I’ve been able to develop and perfect my style in the last year and half. I love the unpredictable nature of street photography, but would also classify myself as a lifestyle and urban photographer.
Q: Do you shoot mostly black and white street photography?
I look for strong contrast of light and shadow when I shoot. I think most times this works best with black and white. So, yes, I guess I shoot mostly black and white, however I’ve started shooting more colour in the past few months. I find that I enjoy shooting colour at night, as all the lights can create some very interesting photos.
Q: What's the trigger to occasionally shoot in colour?
My camera is always set to shoot in colour and I convert to black and white in Lightroom. My editing process is very simple. I use my own presets (2 presets - black and white and colour) and tweak things a bit according to the image. I decide to leave a photo in colour when it has one or more colours that really stand out in the midst of all the light and shadows.
Q: Do you find it hard to create work that is unique? How do you stand out?
Staying unique and producing fresh content is definitely very difficult. To be honest, I don’t think too much about it. Now that I feel I’m settled with my style, I just try to apply that same style in different situations and see what I can come up with. The thing is, you need to push and challenge yourself to improve, but most importantly have fun. Here are some things that I do to try and produce “unique” and “fresh” content:
I’m very clear on what sort of photographs I want to produce
I’m always on the lookout
I try to have my camera with me as often as possible. However, on the rare days that I don’t, I like to formulate shots in my mind as I’m out and about.
I look at other photographers work for inspiration.
Q: Is London the only place in your heart for street photography or do you have eyes on other places you'd like to shoot?
I try to shoot street photography wherever I am. At the the moment I’m in London, so my street photography is predominantly London based. I would definitely like to shoot street in Tokyo and New York.
Q: Pretty much only single people in your photos. What's the reason behind it?
My aim is to isolate and keep some sort of mystery around people in my photographs, so that the viewer is focused on the story I’m trying to tell. I like the minimalistic look. Having said that,there are times when I photograph more than one person to tell a different kind of story.
Q: How do you use social media? How has it helped you?
Well I’m on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I tend to use all three quite regularly for sharing my work and networking with other photographers. I feel that with social media, it’s important to engage with others instead of just trying to promote your work. We’re a community and it’s best to support the community. By doing so, you get to meet some really interesting and talented people.
Q: Finally, what single piece of advice do you wish you'd been given from day one of your photography journey?
Take it easy and perfect your style. It’s important to look at other photographer’s work and be inspired, but you need to perfect your own style. It’s the only way you can inject your personality into your photographs. You will enjoy photography more and eventually develop a consistent body of work.