Although passionate about photography throughout her teenage years, young photographer Benedetta Ristori’s real love for the craft was born after she left high school. Without any formal training or professional equipment, Benedetta approaches the world of visual art in a spontaneous and individual way.
Leaving university in 2009 in order to further develop her skills, Benedetta has entered her work into numerous competitions worldwide, and, in 2015 was shortlisted for the D&AD Next Photographer Award.
Can you tell us the story behind each of the images?
The project that I entered last year is called ‘Lay Off’ and it explores the world of night shift workers.
This mode of shift work is spreading significantly in service sectors, communications and trade, creating a “global village” of people that no longer differentiate between day and night.
My intention was to offer a voyeuristic view, spying into moment in the lives of life of these workers. In the series all my subjects are unified by one defining characteristic; loneliness.I tried to catch this loneliness and make it visible through a timeless, spaceless and almost detached atmosphere.
What are you up to now and what’s next for you?
Currently I am focusing on two personal documentary projects: the first is a continuation of my night workers theme and the second explores Eastern Europe.
Whilst I do this, I’m also working in Rome as a fashion photographer for a mix of established brands and emerging designers.
My future goal is to carry on with these personal projects, working on them as much as possible in the hope of eventually publishing them as books.
How did you get into photography?
I first developed a passion for photography during adolescence, however it wasn’t until after I arrived at university that I realised it was a career I wanted to pursue. I abandoned my studies and chose instead to dedicate myself entirely to learning the photographic art. Since then, I’ve not stopped.
I have not attended a photographic school, I learned everything as an assistant and studying as autodidact. This has enabled me to study and to practice constantly without the pressure of a possible examination; the only exam that mattered for me has and always will be that of myself and my camera.
How did you find the mentor side of the Next Photographer Award?
Meeting with the mentors was very inspiring experience; they gave me very helpful advice. I often think back to those meetings, and I remember the criticism and compliments I have received.
What opportunities has being shortlisted provided for you?
I have wonderful memories of my experience with D&AD.
My experience after being shortlisted in the competition has been very positive. I had participated with a series of photographs just begun, and the fact that my project had been appreciated by the judges gave me another reason to take it forward.
After the contest my project has been exhibited in various cities of Europe including London, Prague and Turin.
How important are Awards for launching Photographers careers?
I believe that awards are fundamental in the career of a photographer. I personally took part in numerous competitions, I think it serves a lot to get involved and to deal with the photographic reality that surrounds us.
I firmly believe that no one will ever come knocking on our door if we are not the first to propose and to make known our photographic work. Competitions and portfolio reviews are essential for beginners and for those looking for visibility and advice from experts and professionals.
Any advice to those thinking of entering?
I advise my fellow photographers to get involved and to put forth their work without worrying too much. The opportunity to get your work seen by the judges is crucial to your career, so you have to be confident and just go for it. Good luck!