The Truth Through The Lens Of Roger Benskin

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The Truth Through The Lens Of Roger Benskin

It’s not enough for Roger Benskin to just to take pictures. “You have to truly want “it” and be willing to grow and learn if you want to succeed.” says the Barbados native, who recently visited Paris to introduce new models to the business of fashion, while branding his company Shutter Legends . Whether traveling the world or working in studio, when Roger has a camera at his eye he continues to grow and perfect his craft. We had the honor of a Q & A with the Charlotte based photographer for insight on his personal life and his photography expertise.

Tell us about your family and upbringing

Most of my immediate family lives in the Charlotte area.  My dad and grandmother still live in Barbados and my mom, and brother live in Harrisburg, NC. Growing up, education was stressed by my parents; both my brother and I did well in school. Discipline as an integral part of growing up in the islands.  Even though some may think some of what we had to deal with may have been a little excessive, it set my brother and I on the paths were are on today. When we moved to Brooklyn, mom was a stickler for keeping us out of trouble. Looking past the discipline, my parents encouraged and supported us in whatever activities we wanted to do. Pretty much anything my brother was doing, I wanted to do it as well.  He was in the church choir; I joined the choir. He played tennis; I got into tennis. He graduated salutatorian from high school; I graduated valedictorian. We both did well for ourselves. I have to give credit to my parents, teachers and tennis coach for setting us on the right path.

Where are you from and how does it affect your photography aesthetic?

I was born on the Caribbean island of Barbados & lived there until the age of 10.  At 10, I moved to Brooklyn, NY. Quite a contrast between places but while there are so many differences, there are also many similarities.  Both Barbados and BKNY today are not what they once were. When folks visit Barbados for vacation, they typically stay and visit the more tourist friendly locations; beaches, downtown,Harrison’s Cave, The Flower Forest, etc.  They don’t really get to see the

heart of island life.  They don’t get to see the everyday struggles of the typical Barbadian.  The same thing stands for Brooklyn. Today, Brooklyn is flourishing, the old is being replaced with the new; so much progress is being made.  When I lived in Brooklyn, Manhattan was the place to be. Brooklyn was just Brooklyn, but we made the best of it. Having lived in both places; seeing the ups, downs, good and the bad; it has helped me to be able to see the beauty in things.  A few photographers love to use filters but I prefer to keep my images as natural as possible so people can see the true story; the passion,raw emotion, and natural beauty. That is why you will hardly see any major “retouching” of my images, especially people, unless specifically requested by a client.

What type of Photographer would you classify yourself as?

If I had to classify myself, I would say I am a General Purpose Professional Photographer with an emphasis on Fashion. The only genre I typically do not work with is newborn photography.

What is your take on Photography in Charlotte compared to the industry standards you have experience with?

We have some really talented Photographers here in the Charlotte area (shoutout to Mr. Glenn Roberson).  Now with that being said my next statements may sounds negative but should not be perceived in that context.  One of the things I believe that helps my photography standout are my OCPD tendencies. I am a perfectionist when it comes to many things, photography being one. I am constantly learning, evolving and improving.These are things that I wish many Charlotte photographers would do.

Working around the world with industry professionals, I’ve learned I need to constantly stay on top of my game.  There is so much competition in the Photography world. Everyone has a camera these days so everyone is a “Photographer.”  You have to truly want “it” and be willing to grow and learn if you want to succeed. This is what I would love to see my fellow Charlotte photographers do this.

Just at there are many “Do’s” I would like to see, there are also some “Don’ts”

TFPs (Trade for Prints): are ok every once in a while but I find it’s done a little too frequently here.  People tend to expect it all of the time when it’s such a commodity.

Flashes / Strobes at Fashion Shows:  Industry wide, that is deeply frowned upon for a few major reasons; It can be a danger to models, it’s an inconvenience to the audience and it can severely impact their fellow Photographer’s images.

 I have actually seen seasoned photographers basically throw other photographers out of a New York Fashion Week Show for using a flash….. 

For more be sure to check out the entire article in the  Dec/Jan issue of Level21. ( December 1, 2018)


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Roger Benskin

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