Capturing the Cinematic West


Inside the world of photographer and director, Ben Christensen.

The American West has always been a land of great legend, where rugged landscapes and adventurous tales of outlaws and bandits come together to shape a culture unlike any other in the world. For photographer and filmmaker Ben Christensen, this world, the one featured in his favorite films, is less props and set decorations and more a real way of life.

Born and raised in Arizona, Christensen recalls the powerful early influence of his father. His manner, style and love of classic Western films set a course for Ben’s own life both as a man and an artist. Now, with a successful career rooted in this love of the West and a new movie (both directed by and starring Ben) making its way to theaters around the country, we can’t help but feel that this is just the beginning for Ben Christensen—

Which is why we are so excited to work as collaborators with Ben featuring one of our best-selling scents, Yellowstone Ride Reserve Cologne.  Ben created and starred in this new short cinematic modern-day Western, Yellowstone Ride Reserve

Below, dive into our conversation with the man himself as he shares insight into his creative journey, his approach to authentic storytelling in the Western genre and what inspired his directorial debut, Legrand.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

What inspired you to pursue a career and life as an artist, and how did your journey as a photographer begin?

My dad is the one who has inspired me to become an artist in the way I live, act and share to the world.                  


Your entire body of work is centered around the American West. How do you approach storytelling through your work, especially in capturing the essence of Western culture?
The best way to tell a story is to immerse yourself as much as you can in the world you want to capture. Become a part of their world. Trust the process and be open.


How do you see the Western lifestyle influencing the broader art and fashion communities today? Western lifestyle is influencing everything today! Western is back, though it never left me. It's America, Hollywood, fashion and music. Embracing the western lifestyle is what it's all about!


Tell us a bit about your first feature film Legrand, the trailer looks amazing!  What was your initial vision for it? Did the final cut follow it exactly or did it evolve or change as the production went on? 

I had a clear vision of what I love about old westerns and what I want to contribute to western films today. I am crazy, I'm obsessed and I have a whole lot of passion. Because of that I knew I not only was going to act in the film but I was going to direct the film as well. Why, me? Name another person that is more passionate and clear about my vision than me!?


Any favorite classic westerns that inspired the film? 

Outlaw of Josey Wales, Conagher, The Cowboys, Rio Bravo and Geronimo.


If there's one thing you hope people take away from Legrand, what would it be?
This is just the start of a type of western I want to continue to make for the years to come. After you watch Legrand you'll leave wanting more. This is just the start.


To watch Ben Christensen’s short film for Ride Reserve, click here. To see more work, visit his IG.

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