A Dream Come True

Photographer Krystle Del-Ben Shares Stories of Light

Story by Michael Seguin
Photography by Krystle Del-Ben

Art Critic John Berger once said that what makes photography such a strange invention is its two primary raw materials: light and time.

But for Windsor’s Krystle Del-Ben, photography is an instrument for storytelling.

“It’s all about capturing stories,” Krystle states. “Things like rundown barns and old farm equipment, to me, have a story. These things were all alive and thriving, at one point. It’s all about capturing the beauty in that. It’s all about reminding people that everyone, everything, everywhere—they all have stories. That’s what attracted me to photography.”

Krystle is a 28-year-old graduate of Laurentian University with a Specialized Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree and a Multilingual Certificate in English, French and Spanish. During the day, she works at Del Fresco Produce in Kingsville. In her spare time, she scouts out some of Windsor and Essex County’s untold wonders.

“I love photographing nature,” Krystle states. “Specifically things out in the country. I love photographing them. It’s just something that I personally love. I love the field and the hay. There’s just something that’s so beautiful about those vistas. I’m just so amazed by what I see out in the county all the time. There’s so much stuff out there.”

Krystle is an entirely self-taught artist, honing her talents through years of dogged determination.

“I learned everything myself,” Krystle states. “I never really took an art class or a photography class. I learned everything as I went along, through trial and error. That’s how I learned. And now, here we are.”

Krystle brings a focused, unapologetic eye to each of her photos, unearthing the hidden layers of beauty and history in all her subjects.

“I like to photograph things as they are,” Krystle explains. “Nothing I touch is manicured. I think there’s wonder everywhere, and it’s my job to reveal it.”

One of Krystle’s most recent projects was the Sunflowers 4 Smiles. For two weeks, Windsorites were invited to tour a farm out in Cottam that was filled to bursting with sunflowers.

“This was their first year opening the sunflower field to the public,” Krystle explains. “It was just at this family farm. Entry was by donation. I brought my camera and decided to take some photos, just of the flowers themselves. I just wanted to go in and capture the moments. They had these paths laid out. It was absolutely beautiful.”

All proceeds of the event were funneled towards Windsor’s Ronald McDonald House.

“They ended up raising just shy of $10,000,” Krystle states. “It was quite a bit of money. It was pretty impressive. They were doing raffles and things like that.”

In 2016, Krystle and her husband, Kirk, started Made by Krystle, an art business specializing in pallet board constructions.

“We take reclaimed pallet boards and build things out of them,” Krystle states. “He’s my builder, and I paint everything freehand. We do it all together. We do plenty of custom orders, whether that’s porch signs or home décor.”

Thus far, Krystle and Kirk have received amazing feedback from their work.

“We do craft shows all the time,” Krystle states. “It’s so amazing, getting that feedback from strangers. I kind of expect my husband or my family to say, ‘Hey! Good job!’ But it’s hearing other people saying those things that really gets my attention. Just this past weekend we were at a show and someone came by our both and was just amazed by the stuff that we do.”

“I highly recommend Krystle’s quality artwork and photography, as she is able to capture the beauty of every moment in all of her portraits and puts so much love and attention to detail in all of her work,” Laetitia Sénéchal raves.

“I have really enjoyed the virtual paint nights that Krystle has held during this pandemic,” Melaine Sutton states. “She took us through each step of the painting in a way that was easy to follow. This is the first time I have ever painted something nice enough to hang in my home.”

And although Krystle is proud of all the projects she and her husband have ever
undertaken, one of her favourites remains a portrait of a magnolia flower.

“I absolutely love magnolia flowers,” Krystle states. “I think that was my best artwork. I’m really proud of it. I really pushed my own limits. I look at it and I still kind of can’t believe that I painted it. I didn’t really think I could! But, I was absolutely amazed by the final result. It’s the culmination of years of focus and practice. And it’s something I’ve decided to hang onto. We’ll be hanging it in our house.”

In addition, Krystle has plied her trade in the service of the community. Recently, she hosted a Porch Portraits for Charity event.

“COVID has forced us all to keep our distance,” Krystle explains. “So I went to people’s homes and took family portraits of people lounging on their porches. It was a safe way to provide for the community. And with every portrait that I had commissioned, I donated $10 to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in Windsor. I was pretty proud of that. I think CMHA encompasses everything that’s happening with the stressors of life.”

While the future remains uncertain for many at this time, Krystle continues to show immense dedication towards her craft and her clients.

“It’s tough right now,” Krystle admits. “People are trying to get back on their feet. But, it’s a day-to-day thing. So, that’s what Kirk and I are doing. Taking it day-to-day. Fortunately, we’re both still working. The art business isn’t as busy as it was last year. But, it’s still something that we love to do. And we hope that people still see our passion through our work. That said, we think things are looking up in terms of photography. We hope that what we do brings joy to someone.”

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“I never would have thought in a million years that I’d have my own art business,” Krystle states. “It’s a total dream come true for me.”

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