How Ben Rayner Bridges Aesthetics with Wonderland and Diane von Furstenberg
We’re scarcely two months into 2017 and Ben Rayner is already rocking out. A slew of new projects have popped up everywhere on both sides of the pond, revealing not only a range of capabilities for Ben, but also a range of aesthetic storytelling that’s very exciting. Two of those projects, a shoot with Bella Thorne for Wonderland Magazine, and a duo of stories with legendary designer Diane von Furstenberg have very different feels on their face, but for Ben it’s all about the same thing: personality. “In all my shoots I feel like personality is the main thing I like to get across in all my shoots,” Ben explains. “I would like to feel both shoots are very relatable.”
Here’s a quick look at how he does it.
The shoot with Diane von Furstenberg has two distinct set-ups: one in an apartment and another in front of bolts of printed fabric. At first glance, this execution creates two distinct feelings, drawing a line between two distinct shoots, and that’s exactly what they wanted to do. The shoot explores these two different aesthetics inside the single line of clothing, “We wanted the stories to look completely different and feel different,” says Ben. “The apartment set up is far more playful, and more of a bedroom feeling, and the fabric studio shows off the graphic prints far more.” DVF is a master of print and silhouette, but sometimes it’s hard to show off both of those strengths at once, so Ben separated them to reveal the most powerful elements of each garment in an environment that would do it best. Since these images are fashion images, Ben had to balance light to reveal texture and color in gentle ways so we could understand the clothing. But that’s not always necessary in every project.
On the other side of the spectrum was his shoot with Bella Thorne. Of course she’s wearing beautiful clothes, but it was more about revealing who Bella Thorne is. So Ben used a bright strobe flash, giving the whole series a very poppy, bright, contrasty feel. It reflected Ben’s time with actress, showing us a clearer picture of who the young woman is thanks to his ability to play with light. “Direct flash is one of my favorite ways to shoot. I think it feels intimate and fun. Almost like we were just hanging out, which in turn is what the shoot felt like!,” says Ben. “Bella has a big personality and is a lot of fun and I feel like we really captured her energy.” Again, the shoot with Thorne required different demands from Ben as an artist, but the center of each project was the same: to reveal the most important elements of each of his subjects. He’s able to use different tools in his toolbox to do that, no matter what he finds in front of his lens.