In one of the recent LensWork podcasts Brooks Jensen mentioned that we live in the age of orgasm. He delves on it further and essentially says something along the following lines. We today seek the “grandest” of all things. Photography and photographers are not an exception. We want the best sunset, best foreground, elephants running the middle ground, waterfall on the left side, a rainbow and a unicorn. All in one frame to “stand out”. We all go through that stage and if you are still there then perhaps this eBook is not for you.
However if you are well past that phase and are willing to take time to tell stories via your images look no further. In that case chances are that you have heard of this bloke called Ben Horne who wanders around with his backpack, visits the same locations again and again, and once in a while brings out his big wooden or metal camera to make one image. It costs around $20 each at least and there is a high probability it ends up in the round file. More often than not though there is a frame or two from a week long trip which tell the story. And as he has been doing this for over a decade he has, in my opinion, mastered this craft+art of telling stories through images. In my professional as well photographic pursuits this is my aim. As an engineering manager my job is often to make boring numbers and stats into stories. I also try to apply the same principles whenever I’m out and about making images. So when I saw the book on Ben’s website I immediately purchased it. And I’m not disappointed at all.
He starts with his own approach to photography and then delves into the joys and struggle of life without a “viewfinder”. Those who use larger format cameras know what that means. In the following chapter he goes through the idea of storytelling and its power. The third chapter is all about principles of compositions and breaking them etc. In the last chapter he brings it all together with case studies.
My favorite contemporary photographers are Guy Tal, David Ward & Bruce Percy. Ben, with his video journals and images, has entered that list long back. With his first book being so good I’ve no doubts he will soon be regarded as one of the best writer-photographers today.