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Photography for me is deeply personal. It gives me balance and allows me to capture what I cherish, fleeting moments of raw, intense passion.

It is this approach of capturing something raw and pure that drives my photography whether a single female subject in a studio or a Cirque du Soleil performer backstage.

I dabbled in photography for about a decade shooting music and nightlife for publications I ran but never considered myself a photographer. It was not until around 2002 while addressing a desperate need to connect with a new creative vehicle that I dived in head-first. My eye as a photographer clicked into place as I began working with single female subjects in a studio. Going back over the previous decade there were glimpses of it but it had not been consistent. From 2002 on it has been raging full force as my sense of color, composition and the psychological process of how to peel back those layers of the subjects has evolved.

Shooting to post has been evolutionary at its most base level for me since I never had training or mentoring. I purchased a stack of books once during a moment of learning exuberance but never cracked a cover. I built my techniques layer by layer through exploration and then refused to take notes or automate any part of the process. My philosophy was that if I had no notes then I would be forced to explore my approach anew each time. This stopped creative repetition but also furthered my understanding.

My studio shoots, such as those in the “sunday sessions” series, had one basic principle, no plan. This stemmed from my accidental discovery of a formula early on. Find the subject you share a creative connection with. Create the perfect environment with all the colors a painter could dream of. Watch it unfold. Not a preconceived notion but one that comes organically and with a deep sincerity that carries through in the photographs. When I am shooting in the studio, my approach is more akin to a photojournalist capturing what is emerging before them while maintaining the environment that makes it possible.

The approach is embodied in my work with single female subjects. The incredible strength of a woman that can be seen at a moment of vulnerability has been a great source of inspiration. That piercing beauty captivated me over popular concepts of what is beautiful. I like the dark.

For my work with Cirque du Soleil and other musicians and artists, the same approach applies but instead of setting the environment it relies more heavily on seamlessly falling into the environment so that what is natural can occur.

The post phase for me is just as creatively important as the shoot itself. My headspace, recent inspiration, current sense of color and more all strongly influence the outcome of the final print.

When I start, I have no idea what is going to come out the other end. I love that.

- ben - copyright © 1998-2013 passiontolive, all rights reserved