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Lyndie Benson is candid, down to earth, there’s no pretentiousness in her character. When confronted with the new knowledge that one of her recent Great Wall photos from China was listed as a winner on the 2008 International Photography Awards site, she was dumfounded, stating “Really? I didn’t know that.” Benson said she “enters contests because it is fun. Of course it is more fun if you win.” Benson is still not even sure which in her series of her Great Wall photographs received the honorable mention in this year’s Architecture-Historic category.

KRISS: You have an IPA Honorable Mention on your resume, for a portrait of a very famous dog?

BENSON: Yes. Buddy is President Clinton’s dog. And that is one of my favorite photographs. It kind of encapsulates what I like to do, which is take a subject, whether it’s a wall, a person or animal and find the truth of the energy of the moment of whatever it is that encapsulates the energy of that noun. Whatever that thing has in its energy, I like to capture that. And in the case of Buddy, being a dog, a chocolate Labrador Retriever, I wanted to show it’s the President’s dog. And to feel in the one moment, there is always that one thing that comes together that is sort of hard to explain, but that it makes it so you can see what that thing represents. And I feel the photograph of Buddy did that. I feel like it looks like the President’s dog. It feels like it is the President’ s dog. He is dead now. When you saw the dog, and he was running around, you’d think, that’s a really beautiful dog. It is clear in that picture that he is the President’s dog. It is weird too. If you look at the contact sheet from the whole shoot, that is the only shot like that. All the others on the contact sheet have the same feel. I shoot a similar shot multiple times, and they all have the same feel, then I try to find the best one on the contact sheet – with that one shot, it was the only one – it was in my mind to take that particular pose and vibe. But then, it happened in that one second.

KRISS: And still another award, a Women in Photography award was for a black and white, titled African Masaii Women. Tells us start to finish how you completed the Masaii photo?

BENSON: I went to a village in Kenya, and I spent a few days there. There were just such natural scenes of life going on there between mother and children, the warriors and husbands, all the normal things they do. The one thing that was the same as here is they had all these women hanging out. They were looking at each other’s clothes, helping each other try on different jewelry, in the middle of nowhere. They were supportive of each other, truly. In the middle of the bush, they make all their own jewelry, beads, clothes, try on their outfits all different ways and braid each other’s hair. And this was just a group of women hanging out. They were just friends. Looking at this place, it was exactly the same but different, like our culture – we have women out at work, at home helping each other, dressing each other, it was so feminine and supportive of each other, girlfriends. That was what that was.

 KRISS: You have an upcoming exhibit here in Malibu at the Canvas on your China series. Are these photos all film or a combination of digital and film?

BENSON: They’re all film, but then I scanned the negs that are printed digitally. But they are taken from film.

KRISS: You’ve mentioned to me earlier it took you awhile to make the switch from film to digital. What was the hesitation?

BENSON: I thought the color was up to par with film. Digital color was sort of on par, you could feel good about taking a color photo. But black and white, the quality wasn’t as good. Something was missing. Now. I feel they got it now. Even though it takes a lot of work. I also find taking black and white photo in film saves a lot of trouble digitally, because if you do it digitally, you have to do a lot of work to make it look like film. I’d rather take it in film and print it digitally. I did all my India stuff in color. I feel that’s fine. And I found an amazing color printer. I’m still not totally digital when it comes to black and white. Plus black and white, as opposed to color, there’s a totally different thinking when shooting black and white as opposed to color. With digital, I don’t do that. When I have black and white film in my camera, I have a totally different mind set. In digital I don’t have that at all.

KRISS: Do you prefer post-production to the actual creation of shooting the shot?

BENSON: I prefer the actual shooting o a shot, because that’s where I get that charge is in the shooting of whatever it is in that moment. Trying to find the muse, the essence of the feeling of what I am shooting, that is the process I really enjoy, the thing I love like the craft of acting. I didn’t continue for a year because my husband is a musician and somebody has to be home, and the business did not work for me. But the relative process of it I admired, because it is the same feeling in acting as in photography. You are so in the moment, to reveal that moment, in both the acting and photography crafts. Like when an actor hits the truth of the note of that moment, for the right truth of the right moment, and that hits a chord of somebody watching it, and they know – that unspeakable, cannot describe the thing, that is the same thing I want in photography. That is when I get excited about is when that happens. The post part visually is fun. All the printing, the process of how you want your image to come across, but first you have to have the right image.

KRISS: You have a book currently under construction titled The Point, referencing Point Dume here in Malibu. How long has that book been in the making?

BENSON: I’d say a decade.

KRISS: What motivated you to chronicle the Point, as if the captivating beauty of the Point was not enough? The works are much deeper than just the sheer raw aesthetic value of Point Dume.

BENSON: First, when we first moved onto the Point, we were moving back to L.A. from Seattle. We thought we were going to raise our family in Seattle. We had built a place in Seattle that ended up not being our perfect place. When we came back to Malibu, we were desperate to find a place to raise our kids, the right place. And so, when we came here, we looked at this house where we live – we live on the bluff of Little Dume. We look down in our backyard, kids are surfing and playing. Some of our neighbors are fourth generation Point Dume residents. It had a history and culture and energy about it. Energy is a pretty important, when you feel like you want to raise your kids somewhere. We could’ve gone anywhere, and we picked this place. It was already special. I was already in love with it. And shooting my kids here and being around the Point for five or six years after. I have a whole bunch of photos from living here, and this is a project that has to happen. The first five years were shooting without me knowing I was doing a project, and the last five years were with the intention of knowing I was doing a project. But the point is, there is also a Point, protecting the Point, growing up on the Point, there’re is a point to The Point, not just pictures of the places. There is more to The Point than pictures of the place. There is a guy I met today, and he is third generation Point Dume. He actually has a Point Dume museum in his house. So people take it really seriously growing up on the Point. They were little and raised here, and they raised their families here. There are so many people like that, and there are so few neighborhoods in L.A. like that, that also have a history as well. I’m sure they’re there, but it is pretty rare.

Author Bio
Kriss Perras
Author: Kriss PerrasWebsite: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Publisher & Editor
Kriss Perras owns Ruptured Media where she publishes Malibu Arts Journal. Ruptured Media is also a story development company. Kriss has been tenacious and fought authority from the very start of her career in journalism. Kriss' first story as a journalist was for her college newspaper covering George W. Bush and Steve Forbes in the Iowa Caucuses during the 2000 election. She showed up at the hotel where Bush was to speak with her editor's letter of assignment in hand. She credentialed at the press desk like every other press person. She had questions in hand she had prepared to ask the Presidential candidate. She walked into the speaking room to find the press was roped off from the candidate. Being new to election coverage, and journalism, she was disappointed. She stood next to a seasoned AP photographer on the press platform. She asked the AP photographer if she could get out from behind the ropes and ask Bush her questions. The AP photographer said, "Well, you can try." So she did. She stepped out from behind the ropes and waited in line behind the people seeking the candidate's autograph. When it was her turn, she introduced herself to Bush as a college journalist and started to ask her questions. Bush said, " Wait, are you a journalist?" She said, "Yes." Bush nodded to his Secret Service team. They promptly came over on each side of her. She was 5'6" tall and weighed 127 pounds. The Secret Service men were well over a foot taller than her and obviously guys who worked out often. They could pick her up with their pinky fingers. They quickly picked her up by her arms, carried her over the ropes and plopped her back down on the press platform as she was still asking Bush her questions. Bush to his credit said, "Please give her one of my books. The answers to her questions are in my book." So she had to read his entire book, but she indeed found the answers to her questions. She also drew political cartoons for her college newspaper and still does today. Her next big break came in 2002, still as a student, with an interview with former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brezinski. Kriss went on in 2006 to found PCH Press, Malibu's daily newspaper. With PCH Press, she had extensive coverage of the battle against LNG and the fight against the placement of an LNG port being placed off the coast of Malibu and Oxnard, among other local news. She has covered Olara Otunnu, former United Nations Undersecretary General and Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict when he spoke in Los Angeles in 2006. She covered Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman when she spoke in Los Angeles in 2006. She has interviewed Progressive David Swanson and numerous Malibu Mayors. In 2007, She founded Malibu Arts Journal magazine. Kriss built Malibu Arts Journal from the ground up. She has taken the magazine from an unknown dot com to a respected title. She earned the magazine digital distribution through Magzter and the iTunes App Store where it now enjoys broad based readership across the globe. She is a member of the national honor society Who's Who In American Universities And Colleges. Her photogrpahy has aired on CMTV channel 14 Spokane, Washington. *Photo Copyright 2017: Alan Weissman
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