Ashley Klinger & Co. sat down with our newest addition: food, lifestyle, and travel photographer Sidney Bensimon, to ask her about her background, where she finds her inspiration, and her dream project!
AK&Co.: Can you tell me a little bit about where you’re from and your background?
SB: Yes, I was born in Paris, France and grew up there until the age of 14. My family and I then briefly moved to NYC for a year, to then settle in Atlanta, GA for all my schooling years. My mom is French and my dad is French-Moroccan from Casa. I lived in LA after school for 5 years to then settle in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I am building a house in Mid-coast Maine and planning on sharing my time between Maine and NYC whenever I can.
AK&Co.: What first drew you to photography?
SB: My dad wanted to be a photographer, so I grew up with cameras and being photographed by him. He is a hairdresser and worked in the fashion world while we lived in Paris, so I was surrounded with that industry. My mom loves painting- needless to say both my parents have a creative mind and that was a very big part of my education growing up. I had a polaroid camera growing up and found it intriguing.
AK&Co.: When did you realize it could go from just being an interest to a career?
SB: When I went to grad school at the Portfolio Center in Georgia, I vividly remember my first photography class. I stepped out of the classroom and went straight to the director’s office telling him I wanted to change all my classes for the quarter to photography. I started crying. I knew then that there was nothing else I wanted to do. Photography is my passion, my life, and there is nothing else I would rather struggle for, and learn to master for the rest of my life.
AK&Co.: What do you do to have fun and unwind, now that your hobby is your job?
SB: I sail with the sailing collective and cook on boats a couple of times a year. In the winter I like making ceramics. I practice yoga and meditations every day.
SB: I really like the variety, it keeps me on my toes and I never get bored that way. It doesn’t matter the subject, my job is to create or observe light on objects, and the emotion that comes with it and capture it. It can be a face, a sandwich, a pair of shoes or a bustling market in a small town… my work remains the same.
AK&Co.: How do you maintain your unique style throughout your work, regardless of the subject diversity?
SB: I just keep on putting in the work and stay as authentic to myself as possible.
AK&Co.: Where did your interest in food photography come from?
SB: I have always loved cookbooks and cooking, especially baking. Shooting food was a natural progression for me.
AK&Co.: You’ve worked every job on a shoot – from photographer to PA to styling - how has that influenced your career?
SB: It makes me grateful for each position and if something goes wrong, as a director, I know how to step in and create what is lacking if needed. Hopefully that doesn’t happen though!
AK&Co.: Do you have any dream projects or clients?
SB: Yes! Of course. I always say that if I shoot for Roxy on a beach Maui I’m going to tell myself: I made it :)
I thrive on being immersed in a culture that is not mine, see how other people live, what is important to them, what they eat for breakfast, what there rituals are. Shooting a travel story that highlights these characteristics would be amazing. I do this myself every year, but shooting it for a client would be awesome. I am really into motion right now, so telling a story with motion and stills would be a dream! Also I love what Goop mag is doing, so goop, call me ;)
AK&Co.: Your travel photos give the impression that you’ve been everywhere! Is there anywhere specifically that’s on your wish list, either for work or just for fun and experience?
SB: I minored in Japanese and it’s one of my favorite food groups so I would love to go to there ….also New Zealand, Tasmania, Montana, British Columbia, Sri Lanka, Oaxaca, Nepal, Rome, Berlin … too much?
AK&Co.: Not at all! From where do you draw your inspiration?
SB: 80 percent of my inspiration comes from nature, 20 percent comes from other photo work. I am building a house in Maine, I love going to the marinas and just stare at the sailboats and the ocean and be still. Then I’m like … I want to shoot this! And go there, and do that!
AK&Co.: What other photo work has inspired you?
SB: People inspire me, here is a list: Henri Cartier Bresson, Paolo Roversi, Nan Goldin, Stephen Shore, Irving Penn, Godart, Marylin Monroe, Naomi Watts, Wendy Polish, and Anandamayi Ma.
AK&Co.: Is there any piece of advice you’d give an aspiring photographer?
SB: Yes, if photography and telling stories is your way of communicating: Never give up! Forget about ‘making it’, practice, practice, practice, nature will support you, it’s inevitable.
We're so excited to welcome Sidney to the Ashley Klinger & Co. team! She's already beloved by some amazing clients like Stella Artois, Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, and Martha Stewart - now we can't wait to share her with all of you!