Bennett Sell-Kline describes himself as an “artistic entrepreneur,” someone who has both creative vision and the business background necessary to make that vision a reality. He has risen to the top of his field through dogged determination to craft a life that combines his love for electronic music and his talent for finding new ways to capture the culture as it has morphed over the last 12 years.
Bennett began his professional career shooting events in San Francisco’s club and underground scene, primarily for a weekly event publication called Nitevibe. Within a few months, he was named Photo Editor and managed his first team of photographers.
In the mid-2000s, social media entered the mainstream, triggering a revolution in how images were shared. Content was being consumed at a rate that had never previously been possible, and almost overnight, event photos became an essential social marketing tool. Bennett was at the forefront of this phenomenon and began to refocus his career to both leverage digital technology and build teams that could rapidly produce content as marketing and promotional materials.
By 2007, the demand for rapid delivery of quality content was skyrocketing. Bennett was developing residencies and photo teams, working regularly with clients in San Francisco (Vessel, Pink, Ruby Skye, Remedy) and New York City (Made Event, Pacha, RPM Presents, Dance.Here.Now, Danny Tenaglia, Cielo, Plexi PR).
This approach was a perfect fit for emerging needs in the music festival world, and he began building photo teams for festivals. Early proofs of concept were Electric Zoo and Sunday School (both produced by Made Event) and the BPM Festival in Mexico. In 2010, he cofounded Third Street Works, a San Francisco–based creative agency that expanded his service offering to include film production and design, working on major commercial campaigns with a wide array of clients including Red Bull, the TAO Group, Diageo, Google, Samsung, and Absolut.
In 2013, Insomniac CEO Pasquale Rotella discovered Bennett’s work and hired him to shoot Beyond Wonderland Bay Area. In the following months, while shooting additional events for Insomniac, Bennett was asked to evaluate Insomniac’s photo program. In May 2014, Insomniac brought him in-house and charged him with building a new photography department from the ground up. He accepted the challenge with pleasure.
Over the past two years, more than 3.5 million photos have been captured by the Insomniac Photo Team at 100 music festivals and large-scale events, in addition to hundreds of nightclub events. With the support of an incredible staff, Bennett is constantly exploring new technologies and processes to deliver inspiring images within ever-tightening deadlines, to collaborate with marketing staff to expand the EDM audience, and of course, to streamline workflow and maximize quality. While he usually manages things behind the scenes at Insomniac shows, Bennett always finds time to squeeze in an hour or two of shooting at each event and loves it now more than ever.