I’m not a landscape guy. I respect the work, and when it’s good, it’s truly other-worldly to look at. It’s just not really my thing because I don’t have the time. Excuse #1. We all have the same amount of time…..24 hours each and every day. I guess I just don’t have enough available free time, and an interest to invest that time into the undertaking that is: preparing for, finding, and creating great landscape images. Time aside, as I’m sure he’s not awash with free time, Ben Horne is that guy. And he makes pictures with an old wooden box that has a lens attached to it and an 8×10 inch piece of film at the back (read: large format).
He didn’t start out that way. He shot digital just like the rest of us. Progressing through digital bodies as the technology advanced, from .7MB cameras up to 21MB bodies, with all the various lenses we seem to want, and then acquire; as well as creating large landscape prints by stitching photos together in Photoshop, and dealing with all the problems of differing exposures from shot to shot that will eventually will come together to make 1 photo….one day Ben decided he needed to experiment with larger formats. First a medium format, and then finally a large format.
So I take it that Ben also likes to hike and explore nature. Most of his work that we saw on Tuesday was from Zion, Death Valley, places like that. He often makes the drive out there, then hikes maybe 4 miles or so with his gear (and it’s not light) to snap off a few frames. And that’s it. With a very dry wit that had me snickering in the back, Ben talked a bit about the very underwhelming experience of hiking to his shots, setting them up, and then clicking the shutter. Click. No fireworks, no confetti. No viewing of his images on the back of a screen. Just the log haul back home to SD, and then even receiving his prints back from the lab to find, and I paraphrase his own words…”eh, this kinda sucks.” Long story short, Ben loves what he’s doing because he feels he’s taken out all the extraneous elements; it’s just him and his subject, and not much else is in between or involved.
I hyper-linked to his site above, and you should check it out, and know that his images on his site, and thus on your screen, do not do justice to the physical prints he is producing. But you will get an idea. Oh, and be sure to try and check out some of the BTS videos he’s putting out there. They’ll give you an idea of what he’s up to, and the guy behind the work.
Thanks again for coming out, Ben. From a guy who doesn’t really feel he’s a landscape guy, I not only loved your talk and presentation, but I learned a lot of things that will surely help me in my own pursuits.