Nima Benati talks about herself to Wait! Fashion.
Nima Benati, class of ’92, is an Italian photographer who made her way into the world of fashion photography from a very young age, right up to shooting the advertising campaigns of the most important brands in the fashion scene. Her images, always studied in detail and never banal, led her to win the Emerging Talent Fashion Award in 2017, and to a nomination on Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2019.
Her highly recognizable aesthetic is what distinguishes her and has led her to be the author of some of the shots we see every day on magazines, social networks and billboards: those pictures that enchant us and make us dream thanks to their attention and uniqueness.
Source of inspiration for the Millennials, Nima is what can be defined as a model of success to follow: it’s about the story of a girl who has managed to transform her passion into a profession, thanks to her dedication and her unfailing desire to do. When you look at her socials, it is almost impossible to distinguish her personal photos from her work; it outlines the strong impact that her personality has in her shots: her attention and accurate aesthetic is surely what enchanted her 700k followers.
We are talking about one of the most influential personalities on the Italian scene, whose strength is to show her fragility, in an age in which, telling herself without filters, is the bravest thing that can be done. For this reason, we at Wait! Fashion, interviewed this strong and successful woman who is not afraid to show who she really is.
Hi Nima, first of all thanks for your availability. Let’s start from your beginnings, what led you to approach photography so young?
I fell in love with photography at age 11, opening a fashion magazine while waiting for my mother in a shop. In that magazine I found a Gucci by Tom Ford campaign that completely captured my attention: I had no idea what it was, I didn’t understand what it represented. I had never seen anything like that, but I went back to that shop every day for a week to be able to look at that image. I don’t know when I realized it would be my future, but considering that I risked everything by taking out a mortgage for my first studio when I turned 18, I’d say I was pretty convinced even then!
How did you manage to turn your passion into a profession? What obstacles did you encounter?
I started by photographing my classmate in first grade, I was experimenting on her!
One day she convinced me to join Facebook, as soon as it landed in Italy, and I created a public album called “my photos”. From day one I started getting requests to take similar photos from a lots of girls, who also came from other cities. At 18, I had already shot more than 200 people and set aside enough to buy a tiny studio in the suburbs.
Do you think social media has helped you launch your career? Do you like being called an influencer?
I’ll be trivial or disappointing but I’ve never written/posted something with the aim of ‘becoming famous’ (many write to me asking how to increase their followers) but simply because I have always had this passion to share whatever happens to me. I’m an extremely insecure person, shy and scared of the world, but instead of responding to this ‘malaise’ by closing in on myself, I have this very strange reaction of opening up playing with myself by appearing bold and exhibitionist!
Who are your reference photographers?
When I was younger I worshiped Mert & Marcus and Testino, growing up I became more passionate about Roversi and Tim Walker, but the great love remains Meisel!
In your customer portfolio you can boast some of the most important names in the fashion scene. Is there a brand that you still dream of being able to shoot?
I’d love to work with Versace, I feel in line with the brand both from a photographic point of view and as a woman: independent, strong, without fear of expressing her sensuality. As a muse, I don’t have one in particular but models are always my number one inspiration. I like beauty that is not taken for granted, when a trait prevails over the others, but managing not to remove balance from the face. Among the supermodels I’ve always dreamed of shooting are Lindsey Wixson and Daphne Groeneveld!
What is the advertising campaign you are most satisfied with?
It is too premature to be able to say with certainty, but I believe that my ‘Like in a Rubens painting‘ campaign for Dolce & Gabbana has certainly been a turning point in my career: the results of the success of those images appreciated by a wide audience, were arriving. But at the end of February, with the advent of the pandemic dictated by Codiv-19, all the artistic and working proposals I was developing were blocked.
You recently made the cover of Vanity Fair. Do you prefer to shoot editorials or advertising campaigns? In which of the two cases do you feel more free to express yourself?
Surely my primary goal is to be able to detach myself from the commercial image, give up some money jobs to devote time to personal projects that explore what I really want to communicate.
Being able to capture a more mysterious beauty, giving a more complex reading to the viewer.
Some criticize you for your “too glossy” style. How would you define it?
I think my pictures have a common thread, because being followed in first person from shooting to post-production, they inevitably have the same soul and a sort of repetition. It is something that I would actually like to overcome, I would like to amaze with something really different, but I find it very difficult to ‘get out of myself’, I have barriers and limits that I try to break down but I often find myself always returning to where I feel comfortable. I grew up studying art history with great passion and I always found myself dwelling more intensely on neoclassical, romantic and decadent works: I don’t try to report anything of what I studied in my shots, it is simply part of me, my taste aesthetic, my character.
What advice would you give to young guys who nowadays want to approach photography?
Do not expect to get the cover of Vogue on the first shot but to accept your limits and try to improve yourself shot after shot with great patience and dedication.
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