Welcome to the fourth installment of our new column “On Our Radar”
Is there a photographer whose work you find yourself going back to again and again? Maybe you have never heard of this photographer? Perhaps they are “flying under the radar”? It happens but I want to find those photographers. I want to celebrate their work.
Each month we will be featuring an artist who is inspiring others, who may not necessarily be someone you have heard of. From time to time I will be enlisting the help of the SSG community to nominate an artist. I want to hear their story, share their triumphs and hear what they are doing to make this dream of theirs a reality. We can learn from others whether it be through inspiration, education or everything in between.
This community will only get stronger if we are there to uplift and give as many people as possible a voice.
Our “On Our Radar” artist this month is Ben Johnson of Ben Riley Photography
Nominated By: Chelsea Taylor
“I nominated Ben because he creates consistently beautiful images and has already found a signature style at a young age. His work always catches my eye and I can tell immediately if an image belongs to him!”
1. Tell us a little about yourself…the things that make you YOU!
I am 22 years old and am from a small town named Buna, Texas. I go to Starbucks about 5 times a week and post snapchats of my coffee cups every time. I am in love with Ariana Grande, I think about photography every second I’m awake, and my dachshund, Buffy, is my life.
2. How long have you been shooting seniors?
I have been shooting seniors since I was a senior in high school back in 2011-2012.
3. How has the industry changed in that time?
In my opinion the one thing that has changed the most in the senior industry since 2012 is that the senior girls are wanting more glam makeup. Highlighting, contouring, matte lipsticks, and flawless glowing skin are what my girls are wanting to include in their look. In 2012 I remember only having one girl get her makeup done professionally for photos. I didn’t even know the first thing about makeup back then but watching my makeup artist, Erica Strazz, I now know the names of Mac lipstick colors that my girls wear and have a deep appreciation of what girls go through to impress us boys, haha. I love that the girls feel confident in their own skin and their personality truly shines through in photos.
4. What made you decide to take a break from school? What have you discovered in this process?
My head was 100% not in the classroom that second year. I only thought about photography 24/7. I remember sitting in my anatomy class and seeing a skeleton on the projector and just thinking about posing it differently. I couldn’t wait to pack up and go home to shoot my seniors each weekend. I’ve definitely discovered that photography is where I feel the happiest at. My goal at the moment is to keep growing so I can support a family in the future without any worries.
5. Your adjective is?
“Lively.” I have been learning that you cannot worry about things that do not worry about you, and to just love and live life. I’m such a wanna be hipster, haha.
6. Your super power is?
Noises. My seniors know when I get that image I wanted. That noise always sounds like an excited velociraptor. I can make a pretty good dove noise also, haha.
7. What was your face palm moment in the senior industry with your business?
My face palm moment was when I attended the Three Nails Photography workshop. Hunter’s styled shoots and fashion posing completely changed my style of photography. Ever since I have treated my senior like they are shooting for Vogue or GQ.
8. In 5 words describe your goals for 2016.
“Get better with each session.” Those are five words in one sentence that my mom has told me since my very first shoot and they have stuck with me ever since.
9. What is the one thing you want all of us to know about YOU?
I’m grateful. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given, grateful to have this life I’m living right now, and I’m grateful for getting to do what I love everyday. Photography really can change a person and I’m proud of what it is making me.
10. What is in your bag?
My Canon 5D Mark III, 85mm lens, a pack of gum, and a notecard that says “treat this session like you’re shooting for Vogue.”
Chelsea thank you so much for introducing us to Ben! We hope to see much more out of him over here at SSG in 2016!