We chat to photographer, Ben Rayner - on his creative journey, working with eco-conscious brands and shooting Zulu & Zephyr’s latest Marigold campaign with Leilani Eddie.
How did your career begin as a photographer & what has been your most memorable highlight to date?
I got a camera when I was about 15, to shoot waves and mates bodyboarding in South Aus. I loved it as a hobby and was inspired by surf and bodyboarding magazines - but my career as a photographer is really owed to my lovely partner, Marianne Roussety. Marianne had done some modelling before we met, so naturally I was inspired to photograph her. She grew her audience and I would shoot her for the collaborations she did with brands. That led to paid work together and from there, I started shooting with other models and brands. It all happened quite organically and it was a creative outlet I was craving instead of carpentry 5 days a week. My most memorable highlight has been traveling with Marianne to stunning nature locations around Australia. It's been so special to be able to share that with my lover.
How has your work changed over the last few years?
Apart from shooting digital and now mainly shooting #35mm, I don't think it has changed too much. The basis of my inspiration is still the same as when I first started creating with models and brands. Which is to capture the essence of the feminine respectfully in nature and to create with eco conscious brands. I do feel like I am definitely improving creatively and also believing in myself more and more.
We’re inspired by your decision to shoot with eco-conscious brands - what is it you look for in a brand that would like to collaborate?
I look for what materials the brand is using, their ethics, their values, their packaging and a big one for me now is seeing that a brand is committed to making ongoing sustainable choices. I have had a few no replies after asking questions on brand's ethics and sustainable practices in the past.
Why is working with eco-conscious brands important to you?
Not only is the planet in need for sustainable changes, I feel the society we live in and many people living in it have lost connection with nature. The more brands that switch or start with sustainable practices, the more nature can recover and the more awareness and knowledge gets shared to consumers. I'm also driven to help inspire change in the #35mm film photography industry, as you can see in my Insta highlight. Being in nature has so many positive effects on our nervous system, mental health and body so anything we can do to align more with nature is positive in my opinion.
Essentials for a shoot day?
A meditation and some positive affirmations before leaving home. On set, water, a natural zinc for my face (I've been burnt too many times in the surf and on set haha). And some boardies as well for an after shoot or lunch time swim.
What is the secret to keeping the atmosphere and good vibes going all day on set?
Being friendly, connecting with everyone on set and then trying to get to know the model to make her feel comfortable. Laughing and taking in the beauty of the locations we are lucky enough to create in.
Follow Ben on Instagram @raynjermain
Discover more of Ben's work here