Interview for Russian website Cultural Evolution

Ben Hopper

I’m happy to share an interesting slightly more technical/photography oriented interview I’ve done for the Russian website “Cultural Evolution” last February.
You can find the English version below or head to their website and see the original post here.

7 questions for a photographer / Ben Hopper

How many photos do you need to take in order to get a good shot?
It really depends on what and who I’m photographing. It can be one photo and it can be a 1000. Sometimes I need to take 200 photos in order to let the subject get used to the camera and me. Some people I shoot have never been in front of a camera like that so most of the first photos will be quite bad but I have to take them to get to the good ones which appear towards the end of the shoot.

3 best photos you have taken recently
There’s no such thing as ‘best’ for me. But I can select 3 of my favourites. 3 that I’m more satisfied with.

Which kind of cameras do you use and what is your favorite photography accessory?
I mainly use Canon 5D MK II and MK III and Mamiya Leaf Credo 80 and 50. I really like the 55mm f2.8 lens on the Credo 80 body. It’s equivalent to about 35mm on DSLR full frame. There’s something very intimate about this lens when shooting portraits with it. It’s also my favourite lens for landscapes which I hardly photographed before using the Credo system. The file quality is incredible. Really gives a whole new meaning to each image you take. There’s a weight to these fragments. Otherwise the Canon 24-70mm L f2.8 has been a favourite for years. Best lens for my performance work; circus and dance. That or the Canon 70-200mm L f2.8.

Which is your most frequently used Photoshop tool, plug-in, action set etc.?
I use everything in the “Basic” panel on Adobe Lightroom as well as the “Clarity” on Lightroom quite a lot. I really love cranking up the curves. Boosting the image to its limits. I’ve also been getting more and more addicted with inverting photos into negatives. I mainly do it in Lightroom now and playing around with the RAW files. There’s a whole new project I’m starting to work with nowadays, photographing full body tattoos in negatives using the Credo 80.

The first photographer who comes to your mind and why?
Manuel Vason. Manuel is a friend and pioneer in performance photography. He’s one of the only photographers I know that I can look at most of his work and think ‘I wish I took that photo’.

Your advice and some tips for a beginner photographer
Be true to yourself. Don’t copy. Be unique. Photograph what you truly love. Don’t be afraid to contact people / magazines / blogs about your work. Don’t wait till people approach you, is what I’m saying…

Be polite and patient. It takes years. Be grateful too, the camera you have in your hands can open a lot of doors. Don’t abuse this power.

What would you photograph, if you were able to travel through time and space?
George Carlin.