We would like to introduce Benoit Lalande as this week’s Portfolio Series featured photographer/cinematographer. He is a Self-taught surf photographer whose work graced the pages of our latest issue and was featured in our contributor’s profile. Originally from Quebec City, Ben started out shooting any action sports his hometown had to offer. Hungry for new experiences, he moved out to California for college to jumpstart his career. Today, Ben is known for his minimalistic approach to surf photography and his unique use of film. Having been to nearly 20 countries in the last few years, the Canadian photographer has built a valuable network of creatives in his industry and developed a style of his own, in both his photos and videos. His collection of black and white images caught our eye on the gram and we are not only honoured to have his work in our latest issue but happy to interview and show his portfolio below.
My name is Benoit (pronounced ben-wa) but everyone calls me Ben. I’m 21, from Quebec City, and I love to shoot surfing.
Thank you! My family and I have been fans of your magazine for a few years and I’m stoked to finally work with you.
When I was in high school I got a copy of Cancer to Capricorn by Reef for Christmas and watched that film over and over. I was also obsessed with Morgan Maassen and Aaron Lieber’s films. I’ve always shared an interest for surfing with my dad and little brothers and I guess it being an “exotic” sport made it even more appealing to us being from Quebec. I’ve always loved filming and taking photos, and it was just a matter of time before I would start filming surfing.
I definitively want to take the next few years to do film and photo full time and see where that takes me. It seems like most people graduating college these days go through a pretty big transition as they leave school and enter the workforce, but I just plan on sticking to what I’ve been doing these last few years. Freelancing is easier than ever now and I’m super thankful to be in a position to do it.
The last few months have been crazy! We’ve been traveling non-stop. We started off the summer with a trip to Mexico and ended up going to Hawaii, California, Indo and Namibia in the span of 2 months. I’m currently shooting a project with Alex in South Africa and I’m loving it here. I have to admit I’m looking forward to settling back in California at the end of the month after all these projects!
Namibia was by far the wildest place I’ve ever been. It’s got landscapes straight out of Mars, some of the best waves in the world and incredible amounts of wildlife. The wave itself by far the longest and heaviest wave I’ve ever witnessed. When you just look at GoPro clips, it looks like a standard barrel that’s super long, but when you actually see it from the beach you realize how thick and heavy it is. Although Namibia is in the middle of the African desert, it is a gathering point for amazing people from around the world and seriously feels like home.
How did you line up shooting with the Smith brothers?
I randomly met Alex on the beach in Hawaii last year. I hung out with him for a few days and ended up going to Australia with him the next week! We’ve shot a few projects since then and have really been connecting on a creative level. Right when him and his brothers were parting ways with their previous filmer early this year, I was getting done with school and everything just lined up perfectly.
I think building your portfolio and hitting up small brands to shoot is the best thing you can do. Even if your first few projects aren’t paid, the experience and relationships you develop from those will pay off in the future. Some of my most rewarding and funnest shoots came from cold-calling brands. I also recommend traveling as much as you can.
I have to admit I haven’t explored Canada as much as I should. I’ve only been to Vancouver Island and Nova Scotia once and I’d love to go there more. I also want to explore Newfoundland.
I really enjoy shooting portraits and motorbikes. Going to the desert on a flat day and riding bikes with friends is the funnest thing ever.
I’m always trying out new cameras and gear configurations, but this summer I’ve been using the RED Scarlet-W and Sony A6500 and they’ve served me really well. I also shoot a lot of film and I always have my beloved Nikon F3 and Olympus Stylus with me. Some of my favorite lenses I own include the Canon 100-400mm II, Nikon 85mm AIS and the Canon 16-35mm f/4.
What interests do you have outside of photography?
I love surfing, snowboarding and traveling. I also have a huge interest for anything business-related. I’m hoping to start a company of some sort in the near future.
I’m fluent French. I was born and raised in Quebec and went to French schools until I was about 17.
I think Tahiti, Ireland and BC are gonna be my last few trips of the year. I plan on spending the winter in Hawaii.
Shouts out to my family! Bruno, Dominique, Zachary, Béatrice and Christophe. I also can’t thank the Smith brothers enough for trusting my vision and bringing me on all their trips.