Benjamin Pezzillo was born in Alabama, USA in 1973.
“My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic”, says Benjamin Pezzillo. “I was five or six years old but I remember the sounds the flash and camera made after taking a photograph. Pop, grind and then click when the top edge of the print finally rolled out. That's when the wonder began -- watching the image develop in my hands. Of course that was always followed by the obligatory display to anyone I could find.”
“It was in junior high school when I got serious about photography because our yearbook needed someone,” Pezzillo recalls. “The more I think about it now, I had to have also been noticing how my father and brother had been bonding over photography and I imagine I hoped for the same attention myself from both of them.”
In retrospect, my mother saw my drive and nurtured it in her own way, says Pezzillo. She allowed me to use a small inheritance to buy my first professional camera system. A year or so later she took me to get my work permit for a job as a photographer.
Pezzillo began earning money from his photography at age 14 by doing sports and weekend news for a local newspaper. By 16, he was working as a stringer for United Press International covering professional sports in his native Pittsburgh. After college, Pezzillo ended up landing a job on a feature film shooting in town and moved to Los Angeles the following year to work full-time in entertainment industry production.
Pezzillo began photographing Los Angeles at night with his first digital camera in 2001. Pezzillo found the nocturnal urbanscape both technically challenging and a refreshing perspective on a city he had crawled around as a location scout for productions during the late 1990s and as a LAPD photographer in the Scientific Investigation Division from 2005 to 2007.
"Most people think of Los Angeles as a warm, sunny glamorous oasis," says Pezzillo. "What I have found as a transplanted East Coaster is a complex American city alive 24/7 -- full of industry and infrastructure far apart from the entertainment product Hollywood exports around the planet."
Others seem to find Pezzillo's paradigm of Los Angeles intriguing as well. His artwork has not only been shown in Los Angeles but also New York, Toronto, Italy, Japan and Lithuania. He has received awards for photography from as far away as Qatar and has been had his art photography published as far away as Greece.
"The recognition as an artist has been great," says Pezzillo. "But I would still be doing this without it. Photography is a part of me. There is, still very much a part of me and my work which is the kid with an Instamatic amazed by what happens in front of my eyes and the reward of sharing it with others."
Benjamin Pezzillo's art on the Web
Benjamin Pezzillo's AutoGallery exhibit