Behind the lens ; Exclusive Interview with Benjamin Lussier
Filmmaker, fashion lover and recent photographer
Flanelle : How long have you been a photographer ?
Benjamin : I’ve only started still photography a few months ago. I come from a film background (music videos, commercials, short films), so this is similar territory, but still pretty new.
Where does your passion for photography come from? And can you remember your first image? How did the world of photography show up in your life?
I started doing fashion short films two years ago and fell in love with fashion. Photography for me was another way to tell a story. I liked the idea of focusing on just one moment and freeze it in time. It’s also a bit more intuitive than film. In most cases, it doesn’t require a crew of twenty people like film does. With less overhead you’re free to improvise and follow your instincts. It’s very liberating.
Film was my first love and I think it’ll stick forever, but photography is a nice way to flex those “cinematic” muscles. At the end of the day, they’re different tools but they feel the same to me.
My first shoots were with my friends, just fooling around, figuring out how the camera and flash heads worked. It’s not stuff I would put in my portfolio but it was a very necessary step.
What gives you ideas and/or inspires you to create your photographs?
I try to express a feeling through visuals. More often than not it has a bit of a surreal edge to it. I like to play around with different perceptions of reality. I have a very up-beat personality. I think visual arts is a way for me to express a darker side.
And how would you describe your own work?
The visuals I create often feel stuck in an tense dream state. Tense might now be the right word because it sounds somewhat negative… but that’s definitely my comfort zone. I try to find symmetry and structure in that universe.
What is your favorite image that you have shot ? And why ? What is the story behind it ?
Probably photos of my boyfriend at the time; moments of vulnerability frozen in time. There’s a few photos where what you see in someone’s eyes can’t be staged or acted… those are the best.
What would be your dream image or photo shoot ?
There’s so many things I’d like to try. It’s hard to say. But there’s one place in Italy I’ve always found hauntingly beautiful; the Terrazza Mascagni in Livorno (Italy). There’s a simplicity to the architecture that almost makes it look like a bad CGI shot. It fascinates me and I’d love to do a shoot there one day.
If you would not have been a photographer, what would you have done ?
If film and photography didn’t exist, I think I’d be a psychologist. I like the idea of trying to grasp somebody else’s perspective.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
I’d love it if my job could take me to other countries, get me to see new places. I was born and raised in Montreal and I love it here, but I also want to see new things. I try to work hard to make that happen.
MODELS: CRAIG MAJOR, JAKE FORINO