Ben is a photographer based out of Wollongong on the beautiful South Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Whilst he is at home he works as an Ocean Lifeguard and focuses his attention on the beautiful seascapes that surround his home. His full time occupation allows him plenty of time off during the Australian winter to follow his real passion in photography, capturing the various aspects of Africa.
“I’m intrigued by the wide open expanses that harbor so many hidden secrets, it’s beautiful landscapes, dangerous and varied wildlife and the diminishing cultures that all exist in such close proximity to one another. It is so different to our lives here in the western world, that I now actually feel more comfortable among the wilds of Africa and the various tribes I visit than I do in my own town. I now feel myself longing to be back in the harsh realities of Africa anytime I am away from it”.
Ben’s regular travel to Africa and his subsequent photographic journeys have seen him drive thousands upon thousands of kilometers through all of southern and eastern Africa in search of that perfect image. His obsession with Africa began when he was picked up by his relatives to go on a surfing holiday down the South African Coast, little did he know that his relatives had something else in mind. He was swept into the fabulous Natal National Parks and after a few hours he was chased by a bull Elephant, he knew then he had a new focus in his life and since then has returned on an annual basis to his mothers homeland.
His connections with the people traverses the various cultures he visits and allows him to build mutually respectful relationships with the tribes and people he stays with. His images are brought to life by the time he spends living with and learning about his subjects and their cultures. This approach has allowed him to be in the right place at the right time, allowing him and his camera an insight few others ever get access to. It allows his images to showcase these people, their stories, their daily lives and the spectacular landscapes in which they live. The last 10 years have seen him focus more of his time with the Himba villages that are located in Northern Namibia. Ben has built a number of strong relationships with the Himba people which has allowed his photographic style to flourish. Living as the Himba do and learning OvaHimba has given an opportunity to truly understand one of Africa’s most beautiful tribes. His love for these people and their culture has lead him to write a number of publications on Namibia and to lead Namibian Photographic Experiences, where he shares his contacts, experiences and techniques with small groups on a yearly basis.
Bens images have recently seen him become awarded with a number of International awards, most notably runner up in the National Geographic World Nomads Scholarship 2015, Independent Newspaper / Wanderlust Travel Photographer of the Year 2013 (UK), Shutterbug Award Winner 2012 (AUS), Named as Australia’s Top Emerging Photographer by CAPTURE Magazine, winner of the Canon Getaway Gallery Photograph of the year in 2014 (ZAR), Getty Images #RePicture award 2015 (UK), Runner up in Australia Sony World Photo of the year 2015 (AUS) and being a finalist for the past four years in the prestigious Travel Photographer Of The Year Award (2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016, UK).
For more of Ben’s work online, please check out Ben McRae Photography on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Steller.