We had the good fortune of connecting with BARBARA BENEVILLE and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi BARBARA, what principle do you value most?
INTEGRITY My legacy, no matter how large or small, needs to be rooted with it. I have been blessed to meet and work with so many wonderful people having an impact both giving and receiving has all been based on integrity. (I am not a fake it* till you make it* kinda gal)
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Beneville Imagery, LLC creates images, still and moving (print or film/video) ~ Benvil Photography – Professional, Personal, and Commercial Photography ~ Just Breathe Acting – Professional Acting Studio, training actors of all levels ~ Just Breathe Films – Professional and personal video and films. I starting shooting pictures back in the day of film ONLY photography. My favorite and most beautiful subject was and still is my one and only daughter. I would keep a roll of film in my camera and left it on the coffee table so I could grab it at the drop of a hat not to miss any moment. My favorite to date is when she wrapped herself around her quilted blanket and her head was peeking out, with her big blue eyes and the essence of a huge accomplishment. You can feel her joy. I honed my photography skills by doing. The initial expense was around $36 for a roll of film with 36 frames, processing, and a contact sheet. Being an actress and never quite getting what I wanted in a headshot, I knew I had developed an eye for it and started shooting headshots for $50.00 at a $14.00 profit while I perfected my skills. Really?! After 6 months of developing my style, (photographing the first horizontal headshot in Los Angeles) with my fee starting at $250.00 for one roll of film of 36 frames. The fee may have seemed high for one roll, but when you can get 4-5 different looks out of that one roll of black and white, it was worth it. I knew my vision and skill set needed to be spot on and not just randomly shooting hoping to get a shot. In those days not knowing how the proofs would turn out was a little scary, unlike the guarantee and less expensive form of digital photography. It was great training for a self-taught photographer. My goal from the beginning was to take time with my clients, one-on-one, and have complete accountability building a long-time clientele. I have been so blessed to shoot up-and-coming talent at the beginning of their careers and still shooting them today for book covers, magazine covers, etc. One of my greatest compliments given to me has been the head of HBO calling to ask if I was a director as well as a photographer. They mentioned they hired so many actors that came in with my photos, which back in the day had my signature on them (very small – almost hidden like Hirshfelds illustrations). He mentioned my photos seemed to “breathe”, and when the actor walked in the room the essence matched the headshot. Sam Christensen did the same thing, calling to set up a meeting to chat about essences and photography and how my images were on point with his students even before they finished his program. I loved connecting with him and sharing the same purpose only wanting to bring out the actor’s authentic self. Needless to say, the referrals came in. What I have learned along the way in creating my brand was to trust and have faith, follow my heart, and listening to what and who God was placing before me. My dream is to go to work every day loving what I do. When I stay true to my convictions and purpose that’s when the many doors have opened up for me, ones I could have never imagined. I believe every moment in life matters, whether it is to learn, grow, or lift someone up along the way. To see others achieve their dreams of reaching new heights with a gift you have been given and give back is pure joy. Whether I am shooting a still or video for a new actor or celebrity, or on a mission team, I want to say, “Good day!” I can look back on my life with gratitude and joy, always learning.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Wow! There are so many things to do in Atlanta. It usually depends on the person and the time of year. And of course new creativity during these times of the pandemic. First and foremost, I like to keep ease and balance in life, keeping the itinerary relaxed one special place at a time. The High Museum, Woodruff Center, the Fox, and local theatre and art shows are always a plus. The Botanical Gardens. The Atlanta Beltline, The Battery – A Braves Game, or a cool local hangout is great. I like to check out different festivals that come in and out of the city, even the local farmer’s markets anywhere in town – the people of Atlanta and their hospitality are part of the charm of the ATL. A favorite restaurant is Seed, in the Merchant Walk area right here in Cobb County. Whether you want to catch a Sunday Brunch, a few appetizers, and cocktail, or a small party, the atmosphere and experience are always terrific. I had a wonderful birthday celebration there as well, which was truly lovely with guests flying in from Los Angeles and locals all loving the Seed hospitality and food.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The people for who I am extremely grateful: God ~ Andrea ~ Sherry
God ~ The Word, Jesus CEO, and my church family from around the world.
Andrea Bowers ~ My heart, my daughter, and my inspiration.
Sherry Gillespie ~ A friend who was there from the beginning in full support who is at the top of her profession with 100% stability. Stepping out on faith in a creative career path is something she would never do. #opposites #friendship
Instagram: @just.breathe.acting @benvil.photography @barbarabeneville
Facebook: benvilphotography / justbreatheacting
Mari Kasuya (one picture of me at the top left )
Barbara Beneville – @benvilphotography (did the rest)