Monday, 30 April 2012

Talented Photographer Cierra Benavidez Interview

Today's interview is with a young photographer that in my opinion will have a bright future with the amount of talent and creativity she has,

Closer look to Cierra,

Introduce yourself:
Hey, I'm Cierra! I'm turning 18 years old on May 20th and I live in the Santa Barbara, California :)

Who has inspire you the most in terms of photography?
In terms of photography, I am most inspired by pretty much everyone on flickr. I also have the common favourites Annie Leibovitz, Edward Steichen, etc.
What is your favourite style of photography?
I love many different styles of photography, but my absolute favourite is conceptual. There's something about being able to create something that I see in my head into real life that makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside, it's an amazing feeling to finish a piece that I'm really proud of!
What style of photography do you find challenging?
Self-portraiture, hands down. I'm a strong believer that everyone on the planet can take a decent photo of themselves, and I believe that about myself, too. But most of the time I dread standing in front of my camera knowing that I'll have to photoshop things later on. I also have a hard time connecting my emotions to my work.

What do you look for in a model?
Confidence, singularity, and versatility. If a model isn't willing to do something a little crazy for a piece I'm shooting, I usually move on to something different and save the concept for another day. It really irritates me when a model tells me they're interested, and then backs out last minute due to fear of getting looked at by strangers or getting a bit dirty. I also really love when a model has a different look about them, something that really sets them apart and puts all focus on them. The last thing I look for in a model is versatility. Being able to pull of two completely different looks/emotions is really important in what I do. I like to mix things that wouldn't normally go together and find a way to make them benefit each other:)
Name other photographers you admire.
The list is too long to name all of them, but some that popped into my head would be Kirsty Mitchell, Sarah Loreth, Kiara Rose, Alex Stoddard, Karrah Kobus, David Talley and Robby Cavanaugh.
Who are your biggest supporters?
I would say mainly the Flickr community:)
What do you enjoy doing other than photography?
I absolutely ADORE writing! I started writing when I was really young, and every so often I'll write a story or poem to go alone with a photo I've taken.

What are some of your favourite films, books and musicians that keep you inspired?
Films inspire me in visual way. Sometimes I'll see a scene in a movie that I absolutely love, and I'll try to create an image based off of the location the film was shot in or the even that was taking place at that time. I love finding quotes/lyrics in books and songs too! I love looking up the lyrics to a song and trying to decipher what they could mean, and then create a photo off of it.

Do you think that you have your own personal signature ?
Hmm, I can't say I have one! A lot of the time, the photos I create are just snapshots of a scene being acted out in my head. People have told me my work is very cinematic looking (which is what I aim for some of the time), but mostly I just want to create a visual story and know what the audience is thinking.

What scares you the most?
failure. criticism. death.
Tell us a weird fact about you,
I have pretty bad OCD when it comes to numbers. I really love the number 3 because it has a beginning, middle and end. But when I'm driving, the radio volume has to end in a 5 or 0.

If you could create the perfect camera what features would it have?
PERFECT auto focus ALL the time. It irritates me to no end when my lens doesn't focus correctly! (which is why I focus manually for everything now)
Do you recommend any websites for photoshop tautorials?
I'd say Google and Youtube are great places to learn new things or get help on something that you're stuck on!

What is your favourite photo taken by another photographer?
I can't choose just one!
What is your favourite photo taken by you?
This one!

Do you think its hard to be unique and have your own style in photography? how do you manage to stay creative?
I think it can be quite hard nowadays with all the technology and Internet stuff that we have. A lot of inspiration for me comes from other's photographs I see online, and sometimes I worry that I won't be able to come up with concepts all on my own, but in the end I realize that I do:)

Do you think photography websites such as Flickr can be unfair in terms of comments and followers to some people sometimes?
I've seen some streams that have thousands of views and, well, not-so-fantastic photos, but I can't say it's not fair. If you're good, people will find you eventually. I don't mind too much about he AMOUNT of attention I get, I really only care about whether or not I get a GOOD response:)
Some people say that pretty girls who take lots of photos of themselves make it easy, what do you think?
I think, to a certain extent, that being attractive does play a part in creating the photo that you want. But does being attractive mean you'll always get the better hand? No. I would much rather pick a model who is confident, easy to work with and not as attractive (in the society's mind) than a supermodel who isn't willing to trust me in what I'm doing and take my direction. I always prefer a model who is more focused on the art and concept than one who is focused on how her face looks.

Do you prefer shooting indoors or outdoors?
Outdoors! However, I have come to find that I really love shooting in crappy indoor lighting. I love the grunge feeling it gives to a photograph!

Is fame important to you?
In my opinion, being recognized for your work is something everyone strives for. I do hope that one day some of my work will be featured in vogue or shoot professionally and be well known, but most of all I just want to be happy with my life and always create because I love to create, not because I'm paid to.

When you first started at photography, what were the mistakes you made a lot?
One of the mistakes that I often made was over-editing. I still do sometimes, and I have to remember to take a step back from what I'm working on and come back to it later. Sometimes I get so caught up in what I want, I end up forgetting that I need to be flexible and let whatever happens, happen naturally.

(my first photo I ever fell in love with)

Name people you enjoy working with models or other photographers, or people you wish to work with both models or photographers.
I love working with almost every single one of my models! I hope I can work with more photographers later on!

Any new project you're working on?
I've been trying to get my next short story series together, but it's proving to be quite difficult.

Is there a photo you regret posting online?
I honestly cant think of a photo I've regretted posting. I've only ever posted 1 nearly-full nude, but it didn't receive any perverted or sarcastic comments so it worked out quite well :)

You were a part of a collaboration with David Tally and Conner Allen, how did it go?who do you wish to collaboration with next?
It was honestly one of the best experiences of my life so far. I had never collaborated with other photographers before, so I was really nervous! But David and Conner are both absolutely amazing and kind and it was amazing to hang out with people who share the same interests as I do! I plan on meeting with them again in June/July and hopefully I'll be going to the Midwest Meet up in July! :D

Links you should know:
Cierra's Flickr-- Formspring-- Facebook

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