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Sienna Hayes, Meghan Claire & Femina by Soulcraft

Hello photography lovers!


You are in for a VERY special treat today! :)

We are finally releasing a very fascinating interview with an equally fascinating artist (a winner of countless photography awards!) : Benjamin Sumner Franke aka Soulcraft.

Benjamin is also a pretty magical human being with a very unique and soulful view on the world, and a great friend of UTadventure. We simply adore his deeply emotive, sensual, serene photography that carries a surreal narrative.

Learn about what started Benjamin with photography as his creative outlet, his thoughts on shooting on film, his best tips for art nude photography, and more!

We hope you enjoy!
 
Femina by Soulcraft
1. What started you with photography as a creative outlet?
 
BENJAMIN:

"My father was a professional videographer for various motorsports and ESPN shows when I was growing up so I was constantly surrounded by video camera equipment.

He gave me an old Sony camcorder when I was in elementary school, probably about 8 years old, and I would create stop-motion animations almost daily with it. I had a dream of becoming an animator and was accustomed to the idea of composing through a viewfinder at a young age.
Femina by Soulcraft
As I learned more about how animated films and games developed, I began studying illustration, conceptual design, and visual development, which I continued to study for nearly a decade in college.

I didn't start to think creatively with an SLR until I took a darkroom class in community college. Even then, it didn't become a focused creative outlet until after I graduated.
Anoush Anou & Muirina Fae by Soulcraft

2. What equipment do you use? Did you start with film, and move into digital, or visa versa?

BENJAMIN:
 
I'm overdue for an upgrade but I still shoot with the camera I bought a few weeks before I began my photography journey in 2018. I've used my Sony A7rII on multiple tours and it has been with me on all my adventures for nearly 3 years. In 2019 my dad sent me a box with his old collection: an Olympus OM-2n,  Minolta X-700, and a Nikon FE with a bunch of old glass. 
 
I shot my first roll of Ilford HP5 through the Olympus with Eva Villalobos and was blown away by the beauty of film. Since then I received a Mamiya 645 and an RB67 as gifts which opened me up to the world of medium format.

After that, I began experimenting with tear-off film with a Polaroid 600SE and got deep into modifying the cameras I own. My most favorite film/mod I've explored so far is probably 4x5 tear off sheet-film mounted to a 3D printed film back for my 600SE. 
 
Anoush Anou by Soulcraft
3. Do you prefer to shoot on film? And why should someone try it? :)

BENJAMIN:

As you've guessed, I think film is amazing and I love working with it. Not necessarily more than digital, but I deeply appreciate it in its own way. Much the way you can enjoy the speed, energy, and technical organization of a city just as you can marvel at the depth of nature and its raw complexity.

Film is particularly interesting to me because of how the medium limits you. It slows you down, forces you to focus, both literally and figuratively. There is no auto focus, there are only 36 shots. It makes you think more and shoot less.

The more I learn to value the process of capturing an image, the more precious time itself becomes. Photography as a whole has become a practice of presence. When you miss a moment, it's gone. When you stay with it and thoughtfully capture it, its gold.
Meghan Claire by Soulcraft
4. What are advantages / disadvantages of shooting on film?

BENJAMIN:

Shooting film is an homage to the origin of photography. Although young in our long history, the medium as both a tool and an art form has grown up very fast.

There are subtle differences in every film stock that you can explore. Some have unique color casts and create a classic look. Some have wild distortions of color such as Lomochrome Purple or "souped films". Every single stock and brand has different qualities depending on its emulsion.

A lot of the advantages of film are simultaneously disadvantages depending on one's perspective. For example, the roll you choose to shoot always has a fixed sensitivity to light. Where digital gives you freedom, film is restrictive and thus forces creative problem solving and critical thinking.
 
Meghan Claire by Soulcraft
Another advantage and disadvantage is the idea that you don't get to see it until its developed. It puts a new perspective on trusting the process and letting go of the results.

In a way, this emphasizes the importance of slowing down and thinking about what you're capturing. It makes the click of the shutter a far more meaningful moment, full of intention.

Instead of spamming 10 shots a second and picking your favorite on a digital screen, you think about it a little more, you breathe... wait for that shot... and click! When you get your negatives back from the developer, its so much more magical to see what you captured.
Femina by Soulcraft
5. May you share your favorite tips on making such beautiful art in nature as you do?

BENJAMIN:

In 1952 Henri Cartier-Bresson, a founder of modern photojournalism, proposed one of the most fascinating and highly debated concepts in the history of photography: “the decisive moment.”

This moment occurs when the visual and psychological elements of people in a real life scene spontaneously and briefly come together in perfect resonance to express the essence of that situation.

When shooting in nature, unless there are moving elements, I'm not necessarily waiting for the decisive moment but rather seeking an "alignment" of the factors I can control in relation to the elements of nature.

When everything aligns, a similar "decisive moment" occurs, but instead of a split second, it extends... it remains. When you find it, time seems to stop. 
Muirina Fae by Soulcraft
Your viewfinder becomes the frame of a living painting, you stand at the doorway peering out upon a perfect composition in a stasis of divine resonance. Stepping into it is deeply moving, all you can do is hold your breath and capture the moment. Discovering it requires an active collaboration between the photographer, muse, and nature in a dance of balance. 
 
I call the process, the Alchemy of Alignment. 

It's a process of creation, the purpose of which to seek and discover one's alignment with that elusive compositional crux.

Very few of my shoots arrive at this alignment, and few of my images hold the energy desire, but when they do, it's awe inspiring. Seeking those moments is what fuels my photographic journey."
Femina by Soulcraft
Did you enjoy getting to know Soulcraft and savoring his otherworldly art? :)

Then stay tuned for PART 2 of our even deeper conversation with this increidble artist, where we'll dive into what inspires Benjamin, how he battles the loss of inspiration (yep! it happens to the best of us), how being on UTadventure influenced his art, and much more!

Make sure to follow him on his IG to see more of his magic: @soulcraft

Oh and by the way, the registration for our 2022 events in Utah and Mexico is wide open on our website, just saying. ;)
 
2022 Tour Dates / Models

Let's make those memories together!

Stay inspired,
UTadventure team Dasha and Dmitriy

www.UTadventure.com
IG @UTadventure
Copyright © 2021 UTadventure Tours, All rights reserved.


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