Art in Residence - Ben Horne

March 22, 2019  •  3 Comments

I'm happy to say I've met Ben on a few occasions.  Over the last few years we've met at a local coffee shop where he hand delivers his yearly portfolio set.  It's a simple thing, this meeting, but it's a chance to talk to an artist.  Not all of us are so lucky to have a YouTube star living just over the hill.  Yet, "star" does not fit the persona of the Ben Horne I've enjoyed meeting.  He's the soft spoken, introspective person we see traipsing through the canyons of Zion seeking that magical reflected light, his personal quest in the deep canyons of Utah.  

But, his quest doesn't stop at the edge of the canyon, it continues all through our morning coffee; His eyes will suddenly grow wide as he points, "Look, Reflected Light on that wall!" Then, not five minutes later, "There's some nice Reflected Light coming off that panel truck!" It goes on like this for the next hour. You have to give him credit for his laser-like focus.  Picture Sauron's eye zeroing-in on the Ring. 

Each year I try to write something as a testimonial for Ben's annual portfolio.  This year, for the image I chose for this series, I wrote this:

I thought for sure my favorite this year would have been from his Zion Day 1 video, “A Quiet Moment,” but I was wrong. This year it’s “A Love Story.” Two trees, one bleached and stripped bare, accepting the enduring embrace of another, whose denuded branches offer needed, lasting support. As he often says in his videos Ben likes an image that tells a story, this one will be telling its story for years to come. It's a beautiful image; graceful in its composition; indelible.

Ben's a large format photographer.  And, though it's not for me, I do admire the dedication and energy it takes to haul an 8x10 field camera through the desert sands of Death Valley and the canyons of Utah for a week or more twice a year.  His videos are not loud and boisterous, they're quiet and contemplative, reflecting the landscape in which he works.  It's why I enjoy them and look forward to each journey.  

It's a trivial thing but in the first video of each trip he'll start off with a pre-dawn drive as he leaves San Diego and he passes off-ramps from I-8 that I use when I enter and exit my La Mesa neighborhood.  It's silly, but I look forward to seeing that small section of highway.  During these early morning clips Ben reflects on the upcoming trip and lends his insights on how he approaches his work and perhaps underlying that, his approach to life. 

As in the previous profiles please go to the source to get the artist's rendition of their work and don't rely on my poor iPhone skills.  See Ben's work here:  Ben Horne - Large Format Wilderness Photography

A Love Story - Ben Horne


Cedric Canard(non-registered)
I am familiar with Ben and his work. Or more specifically, his videos. He has a Bob Ross kind of persona; calm and humble.
Those two trees do make an excellent photo, one which I am sure I would never have seen.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Joe.
Todd Henson(non-registered)
I can understand why you're drawn to this image, Joe. I love the dynamic between the two trees, how the darker one is almost a shadow of the first even as it embraces it. I also really appreciate how easily my eye is drawn to the trees even against a background fully in focus. I suspect I might initially be inclined to use a shallow depth of field to separate the trees from the background, but in this case I think it's a stronger image for using a larger depth of field. I was unfamiliar with Ben's work prior to this, but after this post and watching the video you linked to I plan on spending a little time watching some of his previous videos and visiting his galleries.

Thank you for your photo blog. My work is pretty routine now and I really, really look forward to your posts as they brighten up my day and I maybe am even able to learn a small bit about photography. You also write very well in a very entertaining style. Our English teachers at BHHS would be very proud!
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