With his already impressive resume, shooting for powerhouses such as Nike, Trelise Cooper and NZ Fashion Week, and assisting on jobs with the likes of ANZ, Spark and 3 News, Ben Loris Blair looks unstoppable.
Moving from rural South Island to Auckland was a big step for Ben, but since first picking up a camera at age 17 it was clear that a career in photography was inescapable.
Looking for a practical learning experience and the platform to build long term success, Ben enrolled in the Diploma in Photographic Imaging at UCOL’s Institute of Commercial Photography in Auckland, UICP/A.
He says study allowed him to transition from country life in the South Island to living in Auckland. “It gave me time and a good grounding to make connections and learn in a positive environment, prior to fully being in the industry.”
He says he enjoyed studying at UICP/A and appreciated the programme’s strong commercial focus. “We were taught real world knowledge that we will actually use in the industry.”
Highlights of Ben’s time at UICP/A were working alongside like-minded creatives, using industry standard equipment, and working with professionals outside of the course through his tutor’s connections. “There is a strong understanding of the importance of networking while still in study instead of throwing you in the deep end once you’re finished.”
While studying, Ben started to form his own networks through working at professional photographic store Progear as a freelance photographer and photographic assistant.
Graduating in 2016, Ben plans to keep working as a photographic assistant as an avenue to learn from some of the best commercial photographers in the industry, and eventually wants to be based overseas. “I want to work for large fashion houses; shoot high end fashion campaigns and advertising material; and collaborate with large groups of really creative people,” he says.
Even with his successes to date, Ben strives to continually learn as he feels he still has far to go as a creative. “UICP/A provided me with a range of skills; now I need to continue to grow as a photographer and find out where I want to sit in the industry.”
“For now I will keep shooting and assisting on professional jobs and growing my contact base.”
Progear is a family-owned and run camera store in Auckland, New Zealand, staffed by photographers. It contains the highest quality photographic equipment from leading brands including Leica, Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus, Sony, Voigtlander, Zeiss, Tamron, Sigma, Benro, Gitzo, Elinchrom and more.