We are delighted to publish our tenth Portrait of an Artist interview to this special column within TheAppWhisperer, edited by Jennifer Bracewell. This week Jennifer has interviewed Kristie Benoit a very interesting and talented mobile photographer, you’ll love this. (foreword by Joanne Carter).
We also have a dedicated Facebook group set up for this Column too for chat and discussion – please join us here, Jennifer regularly adds and contributes to this. In addition we have set up a Flickr Group dedicated also to this column. We would like you to send all your mobile portraiture images here and we will curate and create showcases of this group. Please go to the Flickr Group here.
Contact details for Kristie:
What are your earliest memories of photography and/or art?
My earliest memories of art go back to grammar school. I remember always loving to do art projects, or anything that had to do with creating something visual, whether it was through drawing, painting, dancing, or music. As far as photography goes, I guess I could be considered a “late bloomer”. I didn’t develop an interest for it until I purchased my first iphone, back in 2010, and even then, I didn’t fully understand how much it would have an impact on my life, and how much I truly love it. I could kick myself for not taking those photography classes back in high school! 😉
‘Depth of Soul’ ©Kristie Benoit
What have you sacrificed for your art?
This is a tough one to admit, but I’ll be honest. I have mostly sacrificed time with my daughter, because once I fully immersed myself into photography, that is all I wanted to do. There was no balance between that and family life and there were many times of feeling guilty. I felt that if I wanted to succeed in this, that I had to put in the time to learn, and there is so much to learn, whether it be from using the mobile phone and learning the apps, to learning how to use a professional camera, once I got one. As the years have gone by, and my daughter has gotten older, she understands that this is a true passion of mine, and she has even joined in on the photo taking with her own polaroid camera. The balance is still not quite there, but I am happy that she joins in on the fun of creating from time to time.
‘Forest Nymph’ – ©Kristie Benoit
What is it about portraiture that appeals to you?
People are beautiful, no matter what shape, size, or sex they are and to capture the essence of them, in many forms, is a wonderful thing. There’s no better way to express yourself, in my humble opinion. A portrait can express so many things, and its really up to the viewer, and how they see it, or how the photographer wants you to see it. I, personally, love to see a portrait and think, “I wonder why they chose to take this? I wonder what was going through their mind at the time? How did they decide to come up with this edit?” I also hope that those are questions people wonder when looking at my work.
‘Love, Above All’ – ©Kristie Benoit
Why do you think mobile photography and portraiture work so well together?
For me, portraiture is the easiest way to learn techniques such as working with natural lighting, shadows, expression, feelings… Especially self portraiture, as you yourself are always available. You learn how to become more creative, in order to improve your craft. I can definitely say that my images from when I started, to where I am now, have vastly improved due to my eagerness to learn more, and become better at what I do. All of this from a mobile device, who would’ve thought?
‘Musical Blondes’ – ©Kristie Benoit
Tell me about awards and recognition you’ve received?
This year, I had one of my self portraits in a mobile photography exhibit at The Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio. This is such a huge honor for me, as it’s my very first exhibit to have any of my work showcased in. Aside from that, I have had many of my images featured on social media sites, such as Flickr and Instagram. I also have a few prints on canvas, for sale, at our local Art Exchange in my town. It’s always an honor to have my work recognized, and very humbling to know that my images are included with so many other very talented artists, who far exceed what I do.
‘The BW Legs Series’ – ©Kristie Benoit
Which of your own images are you most proud of and why?
– I am most proud of a series of images I shot. All were taken on my iphone, from overhead, to which I had to get very creative and manage to hang my phone from the ceiling. I used a self timer, and did each shot, one by one. I would set the timer for 15 seconds and then scramble to get into place before the shot would take. I then would look at the image to see if it was something I liked, and then move on to the next one. I ended up with 11 images all together, which was definitely a lot more than I anticipated. The entire shoot took about 2 hours and all editing was done with several different apps on the phone. For me, they evoked a lot of different emotions, and that is what I always try to do with my self portraits. I feel that these are some of the best images I have created to this day.
‘Weathering the Storm’ – ©Kristie Benoit
What have been the high points and low points of your career so far?
The high points for me, are getting recognition for what I do, especially from other artists whom I admire so much. I have met some incredibly talented people who have taught me so much about photography, editing, getting creative, and I have had the chance to collaborate with some of the most talented artists. I love to learn techniques and tricks to create artwork, more than just “taking a selfie”.
Low points would be creative blocks, feeling like I have nothing to give, nothing new to create. There is nothing more frustrating than feeling like you’ve done everything you can think of, and that you can’t create anymore. Because I do so much self portraiture, I sometimes feel as if people may get sick of it, or think that I can’t do anything else but take “selfies”. I like to think I make portraits, and sometimes works of art. Either you get it, or you don’t.
‘You are the only woman who ever answered the demands of my imagination//anais nin’ – ©Kristie Benoit
What would you say the biggest myth is about mobile photography?
I’d say the biggest myth about it is that it’s not “real” photography. Of course it’s real, you’re looking at it! As they say, the best camera is the camera you have with you, and sometimes it’s just a mobile phone. Before I ever had my Canon, I came across many people who thought my photos were taken with it, instead of my mobile phone. It just goes to show that it’s not a passing phase. Mobile photography is here to stay! There are exhibits all over the world, for just mobile photography, it’s an amazing time for it, and it’s only going to continue to grow. I’m happy to be involved in such a phenomena.
‘She wants the silence but fears the solitude’ – ©Kristie Benoit
What/whose work of art would you most like to own?
Woman With a Head of Roses by Salvador Dali & I would love to own more pieces done by my friends. It’s such a joy to have so many talented people in my life, and to own pieces of their work is an honor.
‘The principles of true art is not to portray but to evoke’ //Jezy Kosinski – ©Kristie Benoit
What song would work as the soundtrack to your life?