Bizarre Surrealism by Ben Zank
The 23 hours and 59 minutes I spent — not answering this question
Ben Zank is a photographer from NYC. Ben’s work is, to say the least astonishing, bizarre, unexpected. There is a story, a symbolic one when a body is interwoven into the chosen scenery and almost becomes one and merges into the background. A sense of dystopia emerges when the lines and the shape of a body continue the object or dissolves into it.
Ben experiments with being the subject in his own shoots. The character is often faceless, however not having a face doesn’t squeeze out the emotion. The opposite is true, the atmosphere screams revealing depth of the subconscious mind. Read and discover the bestselling printed versions of the masterpieces.
Hi Ben, how did you start your day today?
The same way I did yesterday.
In your works, the prominent theme is the shape, the movement, and the elasticity of the body. Tell about the exploration of the body and what is important for you.
I’m interested in the many ways a body can interact with space.
With your shoots, you started the era of faceless models. What is the main concern you are searching to get answers to? Is it the humanity as a connected entity in which we all have similarity in a way or the abstract avant-garde phenomenon of the body as detached from the personality?
I wouldn’t go as far to say that I started any era’s, but I used to feature my face and other faces quite often — I feel there’s nothing wrong with showcasing a face in an image, in fact, I think it adds more of a challenge to creating something that is compelling outside the fact that one might have an attractive face. Removing that element takes away a level of distraction that one may feel.
How would you describe the genre of photography you work in if you compared it with Fine Arts?
Bizarre Surrealism, mostly.
What is the most dangerous or extravagant set you prepared?
Crazy is dunking donuts in Coca-Cola. Anything else is perfectly safe and normal.
What inspires you for new ideas in day-to-day life?
Not much. Maybe I need to get out more.
Your dream shot you aspire to make in the future - what it will consist of & where do you see it will take place?
I don’t know.
New York is one of the most photogenic cities to film. How do you feel living in New York affects the end result which is so often so distant from the city landscape and presents a background of wildlife and nature?
"For you, it may be. As someone who was born here, the city couldn’t feel any less photogenic — I’m also not a fan of using landmarks or recognizable buildings in my work".
How does studying the field of journalism affects your works today?
Not as much as it used to. I really don’t think about journalism at all anymore. I don’t regret getting a degree in it, though. At the time, my vision for the future involved getting a 9-5 job.
What is the camera you worked with that is the most nostalgic one for you?
The Pentax ME Super I found in my grandmother’s attic. It was the first camera I ever used and the one that made me fall in love with photography.
Is it the convenience of capturing yourself or the closeness to the most truthful emotions in comparison to working with a model that compels you to be the protagonist of the shoot?
The dialogue I can have with myself as both the photographer and subject is much more defined and rapid. I also naturally feel closer to the images that I’ve used myself in as opposed to when I’ve used friends or people who have contacted me through the internet. It can be exhausting to do both, though. I enjoy just being behind the camera more and more often these days.
What is the emotion you emphasize and return to the most in your works?
Loneliness and comfort in chaos.
If there would be no photoshop what type of photography would you create?
I don’t really use as much Photoshop as one would think. Not having it wouldn’t prevent me from creating the same kind of images.
What is your best selling photograph?
It’s a toss-up between VTL and Untitled 355.
Best song of all times?
The live version of Apocalypse Dreams.
Favorite hour of the day?
The 23 hours and 59 minutes I spent not answering this question.
The breakfast of your preference?
An everything bagel with egg, tomato, avocado, arugula, and onion.
What to expect next from Ben Zank?