If Ben Kerr isn’t busy finding the unique angles of one of our sales or rental listings, he’s high on the top of a mountain or on a beach, at incredibly unusual hours, shooting landscapes.
Ben joined the Hayman Partners team in January and is our resident creative, with a keen eye for composition and the “undiscovered or unusual” aspects of a property that make it truly special.
But there’s only one way for us to truly showcase what he now brings to the team. In his own words, Ben takes us inside his portfolio of beautiful imagery.
As soon as I saw the signal house in Sale, East Gippsland, all I knew was I wanted to shoot it. I didn’t know when or how or why, but sometimes you just get a gut feeling and instead of going home at 2am on this particular night, I went out and kept shooting. Obviously, at that time of morning there’s no traffic and no people, so there was an uninterrupted canvas waiting to be shot. The sea fog illuminates the signal house under the lights, but also hides the service station, the buildings and the car park that’s actually behind it.
I got to Ninety Mile Beach about 15 minutes before sunrise so I could get the perfect colours in this shot. Fortunately, we’d had some big swells through in the days beforehand, so the shipwreck was much more exposed than usual. The high tides had removed footprints and all traces of people.
This is a photo I took for Hayman Partners a couple of weeks ago that I’m super proud of. From the street, I could tell this home in Calwell had some secrets. It didn’t scream or demand attention – clean, tidy, well presented. There were other surprises but my story belongs with this room. I like clean lines and a formalist approach in general but real estate imagery speaks differently to portraiture, landscapes, street or nightscapes. I like to blend my own visualisation with classic real estate expectations.
I introduced a couple of speed lights in this room to help balance the exposure from end-to-end – nothing over the top but enough to bounce some additional light and create some shadows for depth and to really punch the detail into the corrugated ceiling. So many textures to work with – matt walls, highly reflective cabinetry and floors, a lot of reflective glass.
Normally the weather in Gippsland, where I used to live, is soft and gentle, like misty rain and solid cloud. But this particular day, there was a weather event you could see coming through in the distance. I went flying out to Lake Wellington at stupid o’clock and stayed there for hours watching this cell move across Gippsland. For this photo, I used a slow shutter and waited for the lightning to illuminate the sky. You don’t expose for the scene itself – you compose the photo knowing what’s about to happen, and let the lightning light up the scene.
This photo was taken behind the scenes of [independent horror movie] Living Space, which was shot in Geelong. The photo was taken at night and I used a technique called ‘drag the shutter’, which is using a slow shutter. Using a 600mm, I also zoomed and panned while tracking her running towards me. It really distorted the actress and disfigured her. This is a really horrific moment in the movie as she’s running away. It wasn’t an intended shot as such, it wasn’t requested, but in between scenes I was just experimenting and watching and playing with ideas and this is the one that really stuck out for me.
The movement in this shot is my favourite. Some of the birds are dead still on the branches, some are mid-flight but they’re still sharp, and then you’ve got others that have completely morphed into something else. The birds that have morphed look like flying fish. So I named this one Flying Fish. It was taken in my backyard at dawn, using a slower shutter.
This particular day was just great. The clouds in the photo help centre people’s vision down to the mountains, which was the intention. and the side lighting puts rays of light in through the atmosphere to highlight the geometry of the hills. The black and white helps to keep the attention centred on the tunnel ranges and depth, rather than being distracted by colour.
I’d been watching this clocktower in Sale, East Gippsland, for a few months. I noticed it when we first moved to Sale – it’s one of the first things you see driving into town. It can take weeks or months to get the right weather conditions. You’ve got to wait – and sometimes you’ll attempt a shot three or four times just hoping the weather is going to play nice. In this case, I didn’t want to see stars and I didn’t want to see the sky in this shot. I just wanted a nice, neutral canvas behind the clocktower itself. Everything that’s important is lit up. There’s a light fog in the photo, which helps to give it a bit of a gentle glow.
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