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    • Thank you for being an ambassador for the preservation of this planet! Your art is awe-inspiring!

      I find Earth Day disappointing. It's this wonderful day we have to cherish the beauty of our planet, but for the other 364 days, humanity resumes destroying the planet without thinking twice. What's Earth Day mean to you?

      • Interesting. I've never actually thought about it. I guess because of the work that I do, every day is Earth Day.

        Practically speaking though, I do see it as an opportunity for different websites and content aggregators to seek out interesting stories like mine to feature... so I don't think it's completely useless. It might not help in a tangible way, but it definitely doesn't hurt.

    • What sparked your transition from general creative photography projects, like the underwater bride, to conservation projects -- the ones that raise awareness to environmental disasters?

    • kevin
      kevinasked

      Ben, I've always been a huge fan of yours, and as such I'm itching to know what's next. Can you share anything about upcoming projects? 😉

      • haha. Not really, no. At any given point in time I have over half a dozen ongoing conversations of "ifs" and "maybes", most of which are contingent of budgets or contracts getting signed.

        As my projects have gotten more expensive and complex, they have longer lead times and there's a lot less spontaneity to them.

        I guess what I can share was a recent discovery that I need to stop hoping that my projects have an impact on the world because of the awareness that they generate. I need to start planning impact within the framework of the project itself. What that means is that I need to start thinking smaller and more local for impact.

    • What has been your most challenging project and what made it so challenging?

    • Which of your projects did you enjoy personally doing the most? Was one more fun for you than others?

      • I have to admit that I miss the old adventures I used to have in my past photography life. Diving and hanging from buildings are things that are a little harder to do in conjunction with the new art installation track I'm exploring but... you never know how those skills might come in useful in the future!

    • Maryasked

      Ben, how much waste is produced on average when you do a project and what is done with it?

      • Good question!

        We don't have a practice of weighing our installations but the bulk of the materials used to create our installations start off as waste - and although we unfortunately don't have the technology to change their fate (we recycle when possible if that's the best course available locally) - they are given a second life to preach something I think is even more important than recycling and that's reduction.

        For each person influenced to change their consumption habits, they can, over the course of their lifetime reduce their consumption of items in the tens of thousands which I think make it totally worth it!

    • Very interesting thread. I was curious to know how Benjamin best defines himself: Artist, photographer, environmentalist, or activist? Or is it really an equal blend of all four?

      • oh hoh! Great question.

        I personally like the term Artist best as it sorta summarizes me without limiting me to one single thing. I'm technically an influencer, blogger, videographer, director, creative director and producer too... but none of those are summarized in any of the other words! I enjoy working on humane projects just as much as environmental ones too!

        In some ways I think the world needs to fit you into a box... and I understand the need for it from a marketing perspective... but I would definitely call myself "Artist"

        :)

    • I'm working on my art portfolio for school and I was really interested in the work you do especially the series of "mermaids hate plastic" and was wondering if I could get the date on which you created the project in which the mermaid is lying on the coast. 
      I also wanted to know what propelled you to do this project?

      • Hey ! Great to hear from you. I shot the #Mermaidshateplastic series in September of 2016, but released it in December 2016. (You can read more about it here: www.450years.com)

        I shot the project partially because my sister's wedding just happened to be in Montreal and the mermaid tail designer (that my mom found!) also just happened to live in Montreal. It was at the time when the Great Pacific Garbage Patch was getting a lot of attention and it seemed like a great way to shed light on the problem in a visual and emotional way!

    • Did anything/anyone inspire you to start working with plastic and protecting the environment?

      • Not really. I sorta stumbled upon it when I had the intention of making a difference with my art. I think that when you start LOOKING for ways to have a positive impact, that's when you start stumbling across different ways to have an impact!

    • hi benjamin, how would you describe yourself in three words?

    • what is nature to you? or more generally, what is the role of man in nature and what is the best way to connect with it?

      • In one word? I think: Necessary.

        I don't think I follow the traditional flow of an "environmentalist". I very much enjoy city life over rural nature - but city life depends on a stable environment. I think it is less about taking sides and reconnecting with our wilder sides, but simply striving for a better balance that is less about overconsumption and more about redistribution.

        Redistribution of privilege, access, resources.

      • I think Art has the power to move and change people.

        Can people change the world?

        :)

    • relating to all the works you have done and the feedback you got so far, when did you know what you were doing was the right thing?

      • That's an interesting question.

        I'm not entirely sure anybody knows if/when they're doing the right thing. Or if they do (or think they do), that's equally subject to change.

        Our lives are a journey, not a destination and if there's one sure thing in life is that change is constant.

        I think that the feedback loop is important to stay connected, motivated and growth oriented but the questions I find most important are the ones that you ask yourself:

        - Did you learn something new?
        - What impact did you have?
        - Are projects like these sustainable?
        - What would you do differently next time around?
        - Can you repeat the successful portions of the project?

    • JenBasked

      Hi Ben, when it comes to marketing yourself and your work:

      What is the most successful avenue you have tried?

      What do you think was a waste of time?

      What real-world marketing efforts have you found successful?

      What's one piece of advice you would offer other photographers just starting out to promote their work?

      • What is the most successful avenue you have tried?

        I think it really depends on what kind of creative you are. Each platform has its own purpose. For example, twitter might be perfect for a street photographer with clever insights who is ready to post multiple times a day. Instagram for someone who wants to post daily whose work speaks through their camera lens and Youtube for someone doing technical reviews. I don't think there's "one platform that wins it all".

        What do you think was a waste of time?

        Nothing is a waste if you learned something from it.

        What real-world marketing efforts have you found successful?

        Creating the right content, for the right platform at the right time. Being observant of trends. Be proactive instead of reactive. Y'know. General best practices at life and hustling in general!

        What's one piece of advice you would offer other photographers just starting out to promote their work?

        Remember that the prize is to be in a situation when you can continuously grow and be creative - not to be popular. Make sure that you're creating the lifestyle and ecosystem that enables you to continue to be creative - rather than simply trying to do what's expected of you even if it doesn't resonate with you. There's nothing worst than being trapped in your own success.