The precision of imagery in Benjamin Furland's art is immediately apparent in each of his photos. Every detail -- from makeup, to fashion, to pose, to lighting -- is meticulously played out to vibrant ends. Whether they're delicately glamorous women of golden eras or colorful playthings in fantasy worlds, his models are elevated to a status of mythical beauty. We spoke with the Argentinean photographer about his concepts, process and work ethic.
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Sez G: You are located in Buenos Aires. Is that where you grew up? How does the city influence the evolution of your art?
Benjamin Furland: I was born in Bahía Blanca, a small city located south of Buenos Aires. I spent only a few months of my life there, and then I moved with my mother to Buenos Aires. It is a pretty complex city. It is cosmopolitan and diverse in all its aspects.
It is impossible for me to say Buenos Aires has not been an influence. Just walking down the street soaks you in its vibe. There are very modern areas, and others are very colonial, but my favorites are definitely the ones that are more related to Buenos Aires' Golden Era (the 30s and 40's). At some point it was known as "Buenos Aires, the Paris of America"
Sez G: When did you start photographing portraits and how did you end up shooting the exquisite women you shoot today?
Benjamin Furland: I started in 2003. I had previously studied photography and film, but it wasn't up until that year that I grabbed a camera again. I quit my job (at a politics consulting company) and with the little money in my pockets and some more from some stuff I sold, I managed to buy myself a camera.
Now, if you ask me how I ended up doing what I do to date? I don't know. These past 4 years were like a roller coaster. I guess it is the result of lots of hard work and effort.
Sez G: You do a lot of fashion photography in addition to your photojournalism. How interested are you in fashion design?
Benjamin Furland: Photojournalism belongs to another time in my life. I always wanted to be a war correspondent, but due to my age I never got the chance to do it. Now I am 100% dedicated to fashion photography and have personal projects that are linked to "fashion," but I'd say they are a little more twisted.
Sez G: Walk me through a typical shoot. Music, lighting, mood?
Benjamin Furland: As hard as I try to make it a relaxed process, it always turns out a bit chaotic. There's a lot of work, and a lot of people involved behind a picture. I don't work with natural light. All lights that aren't studio lights, must be off. I consider myself obsessed with correct lighting. I can be setting up the lighting for hours, in order to get the results I am looking for.
Mood? I am very quiet. I focus on what I want, and I go for it, in the model, in the light, in everything. Music? I personally choose EBM (VNV, Covenant) But it depends a lot on what I'm shooting. I try to make the music I play work as a soundtrack to the pictures, which means it can go from Edith Piaf to Marilyn Manson.
Sez G: You're an Edith Piaf fan! I too grew up listening to and loving The Little Sparrow. What about her inspires you?
Benjamin Furland: Just like the city, The Little Sparrow represents a magnificent era for me. Women, were WOMEN (I hope you understand what I'm saying). Piaf and Dietrich, are ideals to follow and to achieve, actually.
Sez G: The make-up on your models is often incredibly creative and flawless. Do you have a preferred make-up artist, and how much collaboration is there between you and him/her?
Benjamin Furland: I think of myself as a very precise guy. I consider makeup to be essential in a photography production. You can have an incredible location, wonderful lighting and a gorgeous model, but if the makeup is mediocre, than the picture as a whole will most likely fail.
My makeup artist is Guillermo Fridman. He is Yves Saint Laurent's official makeup artist. I've found his work to be excellent and dynamic. When it comes down to a take, his empathy brings wonderful outcomes.
Sez G: Your Marrakech Times series was shot in Buenos Aires. Have you been to Marrakech, and what inspired you to create this series? How often do you travel, and to where?
Benjamin Furland: Marrakech Times is an editorial for a local fashion magazine. The main idea behind it, was to summarize a remake of Casablanca. To transport the viewer to that place in time. Mysterious, glamorous women… to bring the classic 'femme fatale' look, to a new photographic version of it, in color film.
Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to visit Marrakech yet. It's something I definitely want to do. In fact, I haven't had the chance to travel as much as I'd like to, in these past 3 years.
I focus on work, and in making more and more photographs.
I lived in Germany for a year, which gave me a whole new point of view on Latin America.
This is not meant to bruise any egos, but the aesthetics used in Latin America are completely different from those used by the Europeans.
Sez G: You have 3 behind the scenes videos for Fashion TV Sexies on YouTube. Tell me about this series.
Benjamin Furland: Sexies is a show that the Fashion TV Channel transmits. The idea behind it is to show photo productions of beautiful girls. I think its a good opportunity to show a little bit more of what's behind the scenes and my work in general.
Sez G: From the looks of your portfolio, you must be shooting all the time! What else do you like to do?
Benjamin Furland: Lately, I don't do much besides working. Workaholic? Me? Yes, probably.
Sez G: Why "Hollow One?"
Benjamin Furland: I probably don't have a BIG reason. Simply liked the concept of an empty being as a nemesis of what I pretend.
Sez G: What's next for you?
Benjamin Furland: I am working on a little project. But there is still nothing summarized. I promise you will hear about it.
To learn more about Benjamin Furland visit FurlandStudio.com.ar.
Benjamin Furland - by Sez G.