Words by Nathan Tighe

Back in July 2011, up-and-coming photographer Benjamin Murphy had the chance to photograph the masterminds behind men's fashion label Vanishing Elephant and their “creative bat cave”. His Vanishing Elephant series demonstrated his maturity in the field of fashion and lifestyle photography. In place of naiveté, his work shows knowledge and skill far-far beyond what one would expect from that of a self taught eighteen-year-old. “For the Vanishing Elephant series, it was really a matter of observation,” Murphy says, “I wanted to create the series based around the vibe I got from listening to Hue, Felix and Arran (the Vanishing Elephant designers); what music they were into and the overall aesthetic of the studio. In the main, I focused on the little details in the studio and captured them in action.”

The attention to subtle detail and the use of black and white in Murphy’s work, made me feel as if I was looking at the artistic labouring of the next Charlotte Ballesteros or Murphy’s personal idol Anton Corbijn. “It’s my own version of a photo essay, from the likes of fashion and culture mags such as Inventory and Apartmento,” Murphy says, “I began editing back in July and didn’t like where the photographs were at, so I left them for about five months and got back to them in December with a new approach ... I really wanted to focus on the details and not so much the vibrancy of the footwear and garments. The footwear in the series is to come out later this year, so it was important to keep the colour way under wraps until then. I was mainly into black and white work anyway, and I still am.”

Murphy clearly has a ‘natural eye’ for photography, but surprisingly has a modest nature about his gift. “I think it’s common to see younger photographers who take these photographs that look so simple, yet so complex,” Murphy says, “At the end of the day, determining whether someone has an eye for photography comes down to personal taste and what style of photography people like and enjoy.”

Looking at one’s work as an outside spectator is a hurdle many artists have difficulty overcoming. Public critique and opinion can be disheartening for up-and-comers, but Murphy thus far has managed to stay balanced. “You get recognised if people like what you create. There is a natural anxiety before people see what I do, but I think it adds to the thrill of realising something new,” Murphy says, “I am quite judgmental of my work, so by the end I’m happy with the results and take the criticism whether it’s good or bad.”

Fashion and music have always been big players in Murphy’s life and work he explains. They are what ultimately inspire and motivate him as an artist and as a person.“I love dressing well, that’s why I’m into fashion and lifestyle photography. It’s simply bringing my two passions together,” he says, “I’ve been into fashion my whole life. First sporting Osh Kosh B-gosh back in the nineties and now I just trudge around in Balmain and Balenciaga.”

While he is young, his work shows both promise and great insight. This boy wonder is definitely one to watch.