10 Questions for Photographer Ben Heys

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We recently had a comment from a new poster on our old Xanny Dsijad thread, pointing to his own nude photos of her on his Art of Imagery web site. I was very impressed with the quality of the photography on this site - the first glamour photography site from my part of the world (Brisbane in Queensland, Australia) I could say this about. So I felt compelled to revive our old "10 questions for" series and interview Ben Heys for Asian Sirens.


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Asian-Sirens: What kind of photography do you like?

Ben Heys: I've actually got quite a varied taste in photography. I shoot lots of fashion, nude, landscapes, travel, sport and bits of pieces of other genres and because of that I often get asked what my favourite genre is to shoot. My answer is anything new, something I haven't shot before. I enjoy learning and pushing myself the most, when I'm setting up a look and not quite sure what the results will be that is my favourite kind of work to do. And the truth is that often these looks will fail, but you always learn something, in fact you tend to learn more from the failures than the successes & also just the problem solving aspect of looking at the LCD screen and seeing a pile of shit and having to figure out what you need to change up in order to turn it into the results you crave, well I find that about the most enjoyable and rewarding aspect of photography.

Asian-Sirens: When did you decide to become a photographer?

Ben Heys: I've been interested in photography since high school but back then we could never afford a half decent camera or the film/developing costs so that interest kind of hung around in the background for a decade or so. Then when digital cameras started to come into vogue and the quality got to a point where pros were starting to make the switch, I also found myself in a position where I was totally sick of bouncing from one job I hated to the next. This was around 2003 and it was then that I decided I'd get myself a 10D and a prime lens (50m) and set out to learn how to use it properly & make a living from it.

Asian-Sirens: Which photographers do you admire and why?

Ben Heys: To be honest I'm not someone that follows the work of other shooters at all really. I LOVE good photography and I absorb massive amounts of it but I tend to do it by the photo more than the photographer. I browse around lots on sites like photo.net and dA and I see so much work that I love that even though I do go back and checking out the portfolios of photographers I end up browsing through such a massive amount of them that the names just blur and become meaningless. The one name that really does jump out though if I think on this questions is Chase Jarvis. Probably more to do with his marketing and his attitude really than his photography (although that too is great), I just love the way he's always out there, doing the stuff that he wants to do and blogging/writting/making videos about it. I WISH I could work that hard...

Asian-Sirens: What makes a good photo?

Ben Heys: As subjective a question as you can get. Everyone will have their own answer to this and they are all correct. For me it's anything that makes me say an internal "wow" or "that's pretty". I'm not one of these highbrow sorts that thinks every piece of art has to have layers of meanings and symbolism and all that. For me the capture of beauty is enough of an end in and of itself. So for me the answer to that question most of the time is anything I find beautiful.

Asian-Sirens: What makes a good model?

Ben Heys: See above :) Really models are as varied in looks and personality as women (or even people) are generally. So are photographers. What one photographer looks for in a model another will shun. For me the most important aspect is beauty, or more specifically what I find beautiful. Anything else I can work with. I'd rather work with a spectacularly beautiful total amateur than the most seasoned professional that doesn't really fit my image of "beautiful". The second most important aspect is a willingness to put in the effort and "give it a go", like I said before my style of work is often quite experimental so I appreciate a model that is willing to mess around and try lots of different stuff even when results aren't guaranteed. I put a lot of effort into my photography and so I work best with models of a similar mindset. Having said that I've made some great images with some of the more "prima donna" types too, so I really can work with whoever I need to so long as they are (what I find to be) beautiful.

Asian-Sirens: Is there an Asian model you really would like to work with?

Ben Heys: Barely a day goes by I don't see a fantastic Asian beauty in a photo somewhere and think "man, what I wouldn't give to shoot HER". But once again just like with photographers I don't tend to follow specific models too much. If there's one name that jumps out at me though it's Zhang Zi Yi, that girl is just everything I epitomise in Asian beauty. She is gracefull, fit, spectacularly beautiful, fashion model thin, has attitude and would kick your ass all over the shop if you pissed her off. I do love a girl that does kung fu.

Asian-Sirens: Did you ever screw up an assignment? (please do elaborate if so! ;-))

Ben Heys: I used to snowboard and we had a saying, "if you don't fall over you aren't trying hard enough" I generally try to take that mindset through most of what I do in life. And so yes, I've screwed up lots of SHOOTS, but I don't tend to accept assignments as I like to shoot what I want to shoot, not what others want.

Asian-Sirens: Did you ever get intimate with a model you worked with? (feel free to elaborate! ;-))

Ben Heys: Two of my models went on to become girlfriends so yes. By and large though that's a minefield that it is best to skirt around and avoid rather than attempt to navigate through.

Asian-Sirens: What kind of camera and lighting equipment do you use?

Ben Heys: Whatever I need to for the shot. Cameras and lighting are just tools, when you need a tool you reach into your tool box and grab the one that is best for the job. Too many people get too hung up on gear. It really doesn't matter, use what you have available, it's the eye and the vision that matters.

Asian-Sirens: What are your future ambitions as a photographer?

Ben Heys: I don't really have any. Continue what I'm doing now I guess. I already shoot what I love and get to learn and experiment as much as I want. It's hard to get much of a better deal than that. I guess I'm starting to find myself more and more limited by money as to what I can branch out into and try. So with some more of that I could get to new locations and models, or get the models to the locations, or get the gear necessary to do some specific types of shoots I'd like to do. But that will come in time and I'm in no particular rush. As far as I'm concerned goals are for those that can't be happy in the present and what is life if not a long series of NOWs? If you aren't doing what you want to do RIGHT NOW, you probably never will be.

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Posted by: Dr. Lee on Jul 29, 11 | 9:34 am | Profile

COMMENTS


Very good interview, Doc. And I think Ben Heys' responses are exactly what I would want to hear from a photog (or any artist, really).

Ben's Art of Imagery site is very well laid out and easy to use. That is unusual for photography sites and nude sites, from my experience.

How about a little love for Tessa, the model in the first two pics in this post. WOW! (Of course Ben's artistry helps accentuate her natural beauty.) Vietnamese and from Australia. No wonder Doc featured her.

The girl in the water is AhDa, but who are the models in the last two pictures?

Finally, I see some images on your site from X-Art. Is that your work, too? I have recently discovered these videos and they are just fantastic. (Especially the "girls only" movies.) :#)


Posted by: Bigfoot Dean on Jul 29, 11 | 11:56 am

The last one is Annie Xie - her modelling has come a long way since we featured her.


Posted by: Dr. Lee on Jul 29, 11 | 12:22 pm

That's Annie Xie? Holy crap!

I'd say her modeling has come a long way. But let's give a bit of credit to Mr. Heys here, too. That's a huge transformation.


Posted by: Bigfoot Dean on Jul 29, 11 | 12:26 pm

Yep, that is Annie and that shoot is from her first month or two modelling, little bundle of energy that girl is, she showed up to the shoot with two suitcases full of clothes, both were bigger than her! (not that hard)

The other girl is a girl named Sonia from the Gold Coast, she worked with one amateur photographer before I saw her on MM. I contacted her and we did that shoot and she vanished into the wind...pity...expect an update on AoI with a set or two of her soon(ish)

Thanks guys!
- Ben


Posted by: artofimagery on Jul 30, 11 | 5:23 am

Great article! Where do you get all the models from? It is good to see Australia's gorgeous Asian women exposed. ;)


Posted by: Luke72 on Jul 30, 11 | 6:30 am

Now that would be very nice to wake up beside in the morning.


Posted by: Ricky269 on Jul 30, 11 | 8:03 am

Very nice art work and collection of Asian beauties!


Posted by: WerewolfVm on Jul 30, 11 | 2:40 pm

Beautiful work :)


Posted by: nancybui on Jul 30, 11 | 2:44 pm

Tessa (especially), Ahda and Sonia need their own write ups!!!!

Luv Tessa's skinny body with a bit of curve!!!


Posted by: Hidy Ho on Jul 30, 11 | 3:09 pm

Luke, The models I find almost solely online, from sites like net-model, ozmodel (which doesn't exist anymore) model mayhem etc. Also got a few from deviant art.


Posted by: artofimagery on Jul 30, 11 | 11:34 pm

beautiful photography, and Tessa is a goddess.


Posted by: sucez on Jul 31, 11 | 4:53 am

Good questions; interesting informative answers..and the girls aren't bad on the eyes either!


Posted by: longtack on Jul 31, 11 | 9:01 am

I was quite intrigued by this photo set:

http://artofimagery.com/2011/03/19/arachnophobia-15-art-nude-photos/

So she didn't get bitten? I have to say that I'm normally not the kind of person who has irrational phobias - except for spiders, especially big hairy ones! I would have had trouble shooting this, let alone being the model!


Posted by: Dr. Lee on Aug 01, 11 | 9:28 am

some very nice pics


Posted by: ..... on Aug 01, 11 | 2:16 pm

The spider was so scary I could barely focus on the model:-(


Posted by: Wingsfan19 on Aug 02, 11 | 5:42 am

Yeah lucky it didn't get scared and try to hide in a dark crack!


Posted by: Luke72 on Aug 02, 11 | 7:53 am

Have you added 'spider wrangler' to your CV Ben?
Makes a nice change from the usual pythons.

...very brave model, very erotic images!


Posted by: longtack on Aug 02, 11 | 8:18 am

Heh, RE spider, yeah, Kess was braver than I. It kept trying to scuttle off her and she'd just scoop it up and drop it back on her body wherever it needed to be for the shot we were trying for...it was just a huntsman so not deadly or anything but still more than I'd be comfortable doing..


Posted by: artofimagery on Aug 02, 11 | 5:48 pm

Sounds like she very much enjoyed the sensation of the spider as it caressed those sensitive parts of her body, like gentle teasing fingers....
Delighted to find more pics of Annie Xie on your site Ben. Gorgeous!
And Shu Lyn is rather cute as well.


Posted by: longtack on Aug 02, 11 | 11:55 pm

So Kess didn't get bitten at any point? I would have thought the spider would bite in self defence.


Posted by: Dr. Lee on Aug 03, 11 | 1:15 am

Nope, no bites. I was kind of half expecting one due to the reckless abandon with which Kess was just grabbing the spider every time it tried to run away but nope. She had a real Steve Erwin thing happening...


Posted by: artofimagery on Aug 03, 11 | 8:37 am