Ben Rayner: Half Day

Tell me about the bookmaking process for you.  Is it an extension of your photo editing or do you set out with a particular theme in mind?  Half Day is 90 pages.  Is this the largest group of photos that you have published?   What inspires your title, length, and layout?

I don’t shoot with a project in mind specifically. I tend to shoot a lot and then edit after. So, yes, it’s an extension of photo editing for me for sure. I tend to put together groups of images I work together, then edit down further. I have published 3 other monographs in similar length. I feel under 100 pages is a pretty good length for a photo book. Its more about snapshots of specific moments that work together. There’s a lot more landscapes and still lives in this book than previous ones though which might be getting older. Title was kind of random in the end but I liked the sound of it. Layout I worked with a great young art director called Niccolo Debole.  He was interning for me and he was really into it so we did the book together. It was great to get an outside view on sequence too.

What attracted you to photography? How has it evolved and what types of commissioned work excites you the most these days?

Its kind of the only thing I’ve ever done at this stage. I got a camera when I was about 14. I also had a punk rock fanzine at this stage. I used to take the photos and write the articles and interview bands. It grew out of that. When I was about 19 I started shooting portraits of bands for Dazed and Confused and Vice, which then grew to shooting other things. It has evolved a lot but also I still take similar types of photos to when I first started.  Always want them to feel free and natural. I really like commissioned work when I can get immersed in the world of my subject. That is always fun. However that isn’t always possible so I try to make a personal connection with them as much as possible.

I like the idea of the “anti-portrait”.  How do you see your body of work?  Does the fashion portraiture inform your independent work or vice versa?

Obviously the fashion work can be a little more polished and you DO have to show clothes, but I think they have a common thread, I want them both to feel free and not staged as much as possible. I like all my work to feel as personal as possible. I think it would be silly to think that both DONT influence each other.

Your work captures very definitive moments.  How often do you have your camera with you during the day?  Is it an extension of your life at this point? Do you go looking for subject matter or does it find you?

At this stage most of the time. Yes it kind of is an extension of my life. I feel like the subject matter organically comes to me. I rarely set things up.



This book has a personal and visual diary style to it.  Are your subjects usually friends and other artists or a mix of folks?

I enjoy taking photos of people close to me, however I often take photos of strangers on the street, either them knowing or not. I would say it is quite a mix of people. I’m going to quote Eggleston here and say I am trying to show ‘life today”.

Where do you find inspiration?  What photographers do you look to for inspiration or do you find to be especially interesting these days?

LIFE! Walking around, music, EVERYTHING.

Hardcover, Perfect bound
90 Pages Colour Offset.
8 x 10 Inches
Limited and hand numbered to 250 copies.
ISBN – 978-1-63587-708-3

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