In The Frame: Photographer Benedetto Manzella
I was born and raised in San Pedro, California. Typically if I'm traveling, I might just say I'm from Los Angeles since San Pedro is a suburb of LA county but I feel like my perspective would be different if I grew up in what could be considered "Los Angeles" proper. While being a musician is my primary artistic pursuit(I've played drums for 15 years), I began an intentional pursuit of being a photographer about 9 years ago. My primary source of inspiration when making photos is concerts; I haven't been able to find a group of musicians to consistently work with over the years, and photography has allowed me a way of being more connected to the music I love. I make photos both out of a pursuit to document the concert for fans to relive the night after the fact, as well as a service to the artists who performed to possibly use for promotional purposes or as a keepsake/memory of a special time in their life. I also enjoy making photos when I travel, particularly in cities, and using my work as a way to show my observations of the world around me.
Film is a lovely reminder that nothing is guaranteed in life. There is more room for error than you'd like to admit, but there is equal potential for capturing a photo in a way you never thought you would. In a time where the primary camera that people look to is in their cell phone, the joy of a film camera is endless. It disconnects you from the wired world and offers you a way of embracing a wonderfully aging tradition of documenting life as it happens.
My primary film camera is a Pentax K1000 and I love mine dearly. I hope to soon own a medium format camera, ideally one I use at shows but I'm still undecided as to what is the best camera for my creative goals. I mainly shoot black and white film and have grown to love motion picture film such as Cinestill's BWXX. There is a rich stillness in the photos I've made with this film that feels as close to what I intend to, and hope to, show the viewer.
The three photos I've shared are from 3 days I spent with the Belgian "metal" band, Amenra. Along with listening to their music for the past decade, I've had the fortune of developing a friendship with the band starting back in 2016 when I was able to meet their guitarist Mathieu while I was studying photography in a short-term study program in Germany. I was able to take photos at 3 of their concerts in California while they were on tour and spend time with the band. While I believe all music has value, I am particular about the bands I work with and take photos of; bands such as Amenra are musicians that have influenced my approach to art as well as provided a soundtrack for a number of years in my life. With that in mind, my photos are an act of service and gratitude to my now friends who I hope to continue documenting for years to come.