He’s originally from Southern California, where he once rented a guest house from Daryl Hanna.
He moved to New York and became a house photographer for Elle magazine, and opened a studio in Brooklyn with his soon-to-be wife Lauren Benward, who was an accessory editor for Elle. Benward’s family owns Beltane Ranch in Glen Ellen and – Bada Bing – just like that, “I met the woman of my dreams and moved here to raise a family.”
That family now includes Carlos (5) and Drake (3) (??), both rambunctious boys who have come to define a large part of Steven’s life.
Valley of the Moon magazine became another part of Steven’s life after a chance encounter with publisher David Bolling in the check-out line at Friedman’s Home Improvements. “We looked at each other and said, ‘Don’t I know you from somewhere?’ and David asked me if I was still doing photography and was I here. I said, ‘Yes, I’m doing photography, and yes, I’m here.’”
The best part of the job? “I get to be in the know. There’s so much going on here, and it’s pretty cool to be in the mix and photographing all these people who are politically involved, involved with making really cool wine, or vodka, or doing great food, or creating great events, protecting animals, doing charities – there’s so much great stuff going on that I wouldn’t know about if I wasn’t working for the magazine.”
And what does it take to make a great photograph? “Well, it takes composition, light, and the willingness of the subject to go where they wouldn’t usually go. It takes preparation on their part, maybe some hair and makeup. For shooting still life, there’s a lot of preparation, forethought, and flexibility for what ever happens, because conditions constantly change. And you have to keep it fun.”
What you may not know about Steven is his second life as a rock ‘n roll musician, playing drums, guitar and bass for a string of bands from LA to New York, with names like Strange Ways, 909, Triple Finger, The Touch, Vial, Devine Lunacy and Leather Dragon.”
What makes Steven happy? “When my family’s happy, when my kids are happy, I’m happy. That is the real deal.”back