Interview: Benjamin Francis Leftwich

Next month Benjamin Francis Leftwich returns to the south coast for two intimate shows in The Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth and The Old Market in Brighton. Benjamin is better known as a singer-songwriter but those who follow him on social media will know that he also has an eye for a cracking photo too! I have been fortunate enough to chat with him about both his music and photography.

Do you have a favoured camera or device that you use for photography?
Not really, I’m pretty new to it. My favourite device is my eye. I have a Cannon SX710 Powershot and an iPhone that I use mainly.

Can you tell me more about your photographic experience, is it something that you’ve studied or just a hobby that you’ve developed?
I’ve never studied it but I just really love it as a creative outlet. I’m really lucky to often wake up in different cities around the world and finding beautiful moments to photo or look at helps me stay calm and experience more of the city and also encourages me to get out and see things. My photos are kind of like a visual diary for me I think.

Is there one particular town or city that you’ve visited that you’d like to back to photograph?
I would say Bruges in Belgium, Toronto because I never get to see enough of it or, St Vincent and The Grenadines in the East Caribbean… or Shanghai or Hong Kong China again… so many places. Home sweet home Robin Hoods Bay in Yorkshire. 

You take some superb photos while on tour. Do you stumble across these places or make a special effort to find out the best places to visit are? If so then I can recommend Old Portsmouth and Southsea Seafront if you get some time to visit.
Thanks, I will check out this places if I can. I normally just go on a walk around the city and see things I like or ask people what is cool. I’ve just been on tour in Canada for a month and some of the places we saw were really stunning. In particular a town called Canmore in Alberta, Canada. We spend so long travelling a lot that a lot of the time I take photos or videos from the window of a car or a plane or a train.

Are there any other photographers who either influence you or that you would encourage our readers to also check out?
To be honest not really I don’t know a lot about that world. I love so many peoples other photos though of course. Three of my best teachers are friends of mine; 

Pip (By Pip) and I grew up in Yorkshire together and have been friends since a young age. He has taken almost all of my photos for the past 10 years and is an amazing man and a true creative. I am thankful to call him a friend and someone I can go to for advice in general. 

Shmandeluca (Andy Deluca) has also become a friend of mine after touring a lot in the US this year. Andy and I have hung out whenever I have been in New York and he has taken some amazing photos of me and the tour that really captured the energy of the night. He is the best dude and is a true multifaceted creative that has shown me some amazing moments and places in New York City.

Jack Caldwell (adamjcaldwell) works at Dirty Hit records and took some amazing photos of the 1975 on tour that I loved. Jack encouraged me to buy a camera and has helped me a lot trying to figure out (not that I have) how to use it.

Speaking of visual images, you’ve used a former Portsmouth Uni student and friend of Strong Island Sprankstein. Can you tell us a little how that came about?
Jade is the most amazing artist. Ed Blow at Dirty Hit introduced me to Jade and we met up and talked for many hours on the songs and me and what I thought about them. From there she started designing song specific images and eventually the full cover for “After The Rain”. Jade is a brilliant artist and was a huge part of this year and this album for me and for others. We are really thankful to her.

For those fortunate enough to have tickets to this tour what can they expect from your live show?
I am playing totally solo and I’m playing a mix of old and new songs. I have loved touring this year and growing, and feel totally connected to the new songs as well as the old.

Finally, what does the rest of 2017 have in store for you?
I am currently in Ireland on tour for a few more days. Then I am back in the UK for 2 more of my Omeara residences in London and shows in Brighton, Newcastle, Kendall, Portsmouth and Cambridge. I will be playing festivals in the UK and in Europe this summer, but mainly I am in the studio working on new music and creating. I will also fly across the sea and visit an angel in Texas soon and breathe with her in London and the world as well. Family always and throughout as well. More life.

Website: www.benjaminfrancisleftwich.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/benjaminfrancisleftwich
Twitter: www.twitter.com/BenLeftwich
Instagram: www.instagram.com/benleftwich
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/BenjaminFLVEVO


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