With stunning visuals and captivating words, April Bencze is reconnecting humans with the natural world. Her portfolio, Instagram following, and contributions to networks like National Geographic, the BBC, or local initiatives like Raincoast Conservation Foundation and We Are Wildness, are enviable, but not what drive her. Spellbound by her own revelations of natural beauty, she’s motivated to inspire others toward the wonder of the wilderness, in order to share, celebrate, and protect it.
CVC: As a full time photographer, writer, and filmmaker, how are you growing?
April: Growing pains, maybe? (She laughs)…The last year or two has been huge growth for me in terms of my own writing and photography and filmmaking. I’ve completely stepped out on my own now after working for Pacific Wild. It feels good to be doing my own thing following my own values—that’s allowed me to grow into my own vision and say what I need to be saying.
CVC: How is finding that voice going?
April: Working with a non-profit conservation group I found myself speaking in the voice of whatever the campaign was. I think that’s fine, but I can connect with people at a deeper level if I’m speaking from my own experiences, making it more personal and intimate. That way I see myself reaching more people with the work I do. When you look at the world through a lens, you stop and notice things more.
CVC: Are you finding that people are responding to that?
April: I’m definitely getting more feedback. I feel like the photography, writing, and films are all tools to do the same thing, which is to create a cultural environmental movement that treats the planet differently. My work is focused on connecting people back to wilderness and maybe how things should be.
Sending my work out from a very remote island (Sonora Island) sometimes I wonder if anyone is listening. But when I hear back from people who saw my work and were inspired to take an eco tour to the Great Bear Rainforest and that it was life changing, that’s really uplifting. Or when someone’s said that a simple caption I wrote on a photo changed someone’s daily choices in the way they’re living—that really drives me.
CVC: Do you collaborate much since you’ve started working freelance?
April: I collaborate a lot. It’s inspiring and it allows me to do projects I just wouldn’t be able to achieve on my own. It’s allowed me to work with non-profits from a contract position and step into the specific issues I care about while still remaining flexible.
CVC: Does that mission help you filter out the ‘wrong jobs’?
April: I say no to a lot of projects. Some of them might make my career better, but won’t help me stay on the right path. Having a very clear set of values and staying true to them helps me. I have daily successes and lots of failures… success is so subjective, I don’t need a lot of money to live, I don’t need fame, and ego gets in the way of a lot of good things. Success to me is when people connect to the subject and when I learn. I think it’s important to know what it means for you and not follow someone else’s definition. I do think the most enriching thing you can do for yourself is ask what skills you have, and how you can make this world a less shitty place.