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Meet Photographer Robert Benson

A San Diego Magazine photographer tells us what he's working on right now.

By Laurie Nicoud

Meet Photographer Robert Benson

Robert Benson

Robert Benson

I’m currently shooting/drawing/working on…

I’m going on roadtrip to Death Valley, Grand Tetons, Oregon and parts of California to shoot people in landscapes, and whatever else I see along the way. Trips like this always rejuvenate the creative fire. And I love the outdoors. I just finished shooting a huge ad campaign for The UPS Stores. You can see behind the scenes video here.

A personal project I’m working on is…

I’ve started shooting spearfisherman who jetski or go on a small boat up to 60 miles off short in search of tuna and yellowtail and other big fish. They look for floating kelp paddies then jump in after the fish. There’s no land in sight. Water’s impossibly blue. Pictures from the start of the project here.

Meet Photographer Robert Benson

Robert Benson photos

My favorite thing to photograph/draw in San Diego is…

The people who live here, engaged in something interesting.

The San Diego Magazine assignment I’m most proud of…

The June 2012 feature, “Fishing With the Urchin King Pete Halmay.” It’s a story about a 60-plus year-old guy who dives everyday for sea urchin in the waters of San Diego. (Robert, it’s one of our favorite photography features too!)

Meet Photographer Robert Benson

Robert Benson photo of a fishing boat from the water

What inspires me…

Light and shadow, colors, the work of a few photographers I admire, the unending quest to find something to photograph that is unique and hasn’t been done. I look at a lot of photographs and sometimes see an idea where I think, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Like Kevin Cooley shooting flares at night over a mountainous snowscape at night, long exposures on large format film. Or a Korean photographer who has an ongoing project of making portraits of trees—but he will put a backdrop behind the tree, a 100 foot tall canvas backdrop. Brilliant! Or the photographer who concentrated on shooting pictures of people looking at their phones, while some historic event was happening at the same time behind them. Or the series of dogs jumping into a pool after a ball, the photographer shooting from the water looking up.

If I wasn’t a photographer/illustrator, I’d be a…

Chef! I shoot food quite often and always admire how a good chef can take raw things from the earth and turn them into a beautiful and tasty dish. I’ve even gone as far as telling people that if I wasn’t a photographer I would be a chef!

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