“I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me... but it's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst...
...and then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life...
You have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure. But don't worry...
You will someday.” - American Beauty
Paolo Benini brings a strong European sensibility to every image he creates. The Melbourne-based photographer grew up in Bologna, in northern Italy. He first began honing his craft seriously 20 years ago, shooting on film with an entry-level Nikon, fascinated with the rich landscapes, evocative light and ancient history of his homeland.
“I felt the need to connect to something bigger than myself,” he says. “In Italy, everywhere you go, even to a very small town, you can find a castle; and if you live there your entire life, it’s embedded in you.” Such sensibilities continue to influence his work in Australia today.
Benini and his family moved to Melbourne in 2010, and soon after, he left a 20-year career as a software engineer. He’d always nurtured a passion for photography, but it was something he indulged in after his working day was done. It took him a while to realise what real career satisfaction meant.
“I think the mistake people make is to just adapt – to silence the voice inside,” he says. “The voice saying you’re changing, and need to live a fulfilling life. I decided not to silence that voice.”
Now he works as a full-time photographer. His style is poetic, whimsical, and romantic, and he seeks beauty in every image. He particularly enjoys shooting in black and white. “It’s a way to simplify things; to find the essence,” he says. “I like to find poetry in light, and I love working with people that share the same vision and soul.”
“Paolo is more than a photographer, he is an artist …a storyteller; with a gift of capturing fleeting everyday moments and transmitting them into tales with feeling and soul. He is deep, thought provoking and his subject matter is real, urban and relevant. Most of all he is passionate… and this is the fire that keeps his work burning with life. Every now and then someone special comes along in their given field. Paolo is one of them.” - Silvio Cimenti - Creative Director & Brand Consultant at Engine Room Ltd – UK