INTERVIEW: Photographer Anais Benoudiz
Anais Benoudiz is an international fashion and commercial photographer based in Miami whose work focuses on fashion and advertising. Anais is currently attending Miami Ad School to complement her photographic career with Art Direction. She previously attended the University of Miami and received a Bachelor’s degree in International Finance and Marketing and a Master in International Business.
Photographer: Anais Benoudiz/ IG: @anaisbenoudiz
Model: Anabelle Blum
Makeup artist: Patty Zrihen
Hair stylist: Silvia Di Nocco
Wardrobe: Sandy Glass
When did you start your photography career?
I’ve always appreciated photography but never formally studied or worked on it until later in my life. My background is in Marketing & Finance – quite a big departure from photography- so I figured I could never take a good photo since I lacked a formal education in the arts. Still in 2012, I enrolled in an online course and dove headfirst into a pile of books on everything and anything photography related. It was this, coupled with hands-on experience (thanks to my friends and family who invited me to peek into their lives and photograph them) that I started down this path. In 2014, I left everything else behind and made the decision to become a full-time photographer – and I’ve never looked back.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography is my life, my passion, my lover. It allows me to express myself, my feelings, and my perspective of the world and the people in it. I love that you can capture and freeze a moment - forever. I believe there is so much beauty out there that we take for granted. There is beauty everywhere; you just need to see it through the lens. In our busy lives, it’s easy to pass those moments by and forget they even happened. But with photography, we can document those moments for an eternity.
Did you have a specific moment that you felt a rapid change in your career?
Yes. It was the moment when I stopped being afraid. Fear manifests in so many forms it’s often hard to detect, but for me it was mostly the fear of failure that would paralyze me. Once I was able to identify this, I took it head on. I realized that I was standing in the way of my own success. This realization empowered me to take more risks and make bolder moves. It was this change that really accelerated my growth and creativity. And don’t get me wrong, fear often sneaks in and makes me doubt, but I’ve learned to identify it and not let it stop me.
What do you think about the rise of social media?
Social media is a powerful tool for creative souls if used correctly. I love the fact that you can share and discover the work of so many talented people without getting out of your house– or even bed. I’ve had the good fortune of meeting several interesting people thorough social media who have in turn connected me to unique opportunities, inspired me, or taught me something along this journey. On the other hand, social media has made us lose that personal touch and interaction with people. I miss the days when you would receive an actual phone call for your birthday not just a Facebook post. Nowadays everything is digital – text, Facebook, Instagram, email – and while it’s convenient, it’s not exactly personal. I often nd myself wondering how many wonderful moments we end up missing because we have our eyes glued to the screen and not what’s in front of us. I think it’s about balance. I’m active on Facebook and Instagram, but I keep my personal life o of it and I try to keep it relevant for the audience and the media so there’s some great photography shots on there and of course my travels with my favorite companion – my dog, Pippa.
Where does your motivation come from?
Loaded question but I try to nd motivation from just about anywhere. Fashion, art, music, movies, traveling, meeting people from other cultures. I see a movie and I analyze the lighting. I hear a song and I imagine how to put it into a photo. I meet someone and I want to capture their soul through the lens. I read a magazine and I try to deconstruct the lighting schemes. Really, motivation can be found everywhere.
What do you most love about this project? Tell us more about it and your model?
One of my favorite things about this project is that it was a collaboration among several of my good friends from my home country, Venezuela. We’ve all known each other since we were young girls in elementary school, so it was very easy and natural to work together. It was like working with family. We all live in Miami and wanted to do a Halloween themed shoot, but with a fashion twist. We didn’t want it to be dark or scary as other people usually do for Halloween. The model is Anabelle Blum, a Venezuelan TV host who not only is beautiful but also very talented. I was very honored to work with her on this project.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Meeting unique people. Also, the fact that I can work remotely from anywhere in the world is pretty awesome.
What are your hopes coming into the next chapter of your life and career?
Currently, I am looking forward to finishing my Art Direction degree at the Miami Ad School to complement my photography career. After completing my degree, I hope to work with advertising agencies as an Art Director & Photographer for their advertising campaigns, and create award-winning work. My ultimate dream is to work with Annie Leibovitz, or Mario Testino, but I still haven’t figured out how to make that happen. Any ideas?
With the perspective and experience you now have, what is your advice to new photographers in the industry?
Believe in yourself and don’t pay attention to what other photographers are doing. Do your own thing and you will develop your own style and voice. Take risks and laugh at your own mistakes. Believe me, you will have plenty, but the key is to not get discouraged.