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Ben Moon - November Featured Artist

Ben Moon

www.benmoon.com

Location:
Portland, OR

When was the last time you ate a pancake?
A couple weeks ago. My next-door neighbor in Bend makes an incredible cornmeal and pumpkin pancake.

Favorite day of the week?
Friday. My schedule is fortunately not a typical 9-5 existence, but on Friday, the emails slow to a trickle and there is a fresh feeling of freedom and possibility.

Favorite website besides your own?
I pull inspiration from many sources so that is always changing... APhotoEditor.com is a great page that I read daily.

Q&A

Give us a brief description of you and your work.

My photographs cover a wide variety of subjects, however I most enjoy documenting people in their environments. I like to capture an athlete in their element, a musician making a record, or a band onstage. I'm really inspired by an ongoing personal project I simply call "faces". When you strip away all the elements of environment, clothing, and color, all you are left with is the raw humanity of an individual. For me, truly connecting on a human level is the most amazing feeling! Recently, I've been working more with video and am enjoying the process of storytelling through motion.

What's your goal as an artist?

My goal is to convey what I see in a way which allows the viewer an intimate and honest perspective of the subject. My hope is that my work can inspire others in a positive way. I have a multimedia project in the beginning phases which will share the stories of people who have gone through intense life-changing experiences. I survived colorectal cancer over 7 years ago, so the project hits really close to home. If anyone has a story they feel compelled to share, please get in touch with me!

Why did you chose photography?

Embracing my love of photography and making the art my work has been a bit of a process. I'm self taught and didn't start shooting seriously until my mid twenties, and after that it took me almost a decade to identify myself as a visual artist and be comfortable with the idea! When I first started shooting, I lived in a camper van for almost 3 years, traveling the west and photographing the rock climbers and surfers who were within my community. I was fortunate to work with Jane Sievert, the photo editor for Patagonia, early on—she recognized something in my work and encouraged me to keep shooting. Today, she continues to be a client and a huge source of inspiration and friendship.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I'm constantly inspired by the ever shifting dynamics of human emotion. I also have many incredibly gifted and talented friends who make wonderful music and create amazing art... I definitely draw from their energy and creativity in order to find my own. The amazing thing about photography and motion/video work is you can never stop learning. I am constantly pushed into a beginner's mind which allows me to grow and progress everyday.

What was the last full album you listened to?

Saint Bartlett, by Damien Jurado

Have you ever had a beer with Yvon Chouinard?

Yes, but my favorite memory of Yvon is when I was surfing the point in front of his house all alone, and I paddled in to shore because I couldn't convince myself that the two dorsal fins circling nearby were dolphins and not big whitey--he had a good chuckle at my expense! If you haven't yet seen the 180 South film, it's worth seeing just for his one-liners, he is a classic.

Favorite deceased artist?

Richard Avedon's work is a consistent source of inspiration.

Who would win in a photography battle royale Ansel Adams or Henri Cartier-Bresson?

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Better mustache Rollie Fingers or Salvador Dalí?

Salvador Dalí

Why do you chose to show your artwork on Plywerk?

I appreciate the simplicity... and the lack of distracting elements allows me to focus on the beauty of an image. Framing images has never been a favorite task of mine, but Plywerk makes it a lot easier!

Breakfast cereal of choice?

I tend to concoct my own... starting with a bit of granola and adding almonds, ground flax meal, maca & cacao powder, Udo's oil, hemp milk, fresh fruit and whatever else is near the bowl at the time.

Anything else you want to tell us?

I grew up in rural Michigan near the shores of Lake Michigan and spent a good portion of my childhood living off the grid on a little subsistence farm. In the winters, we would shuttle our laundry and groceries in by snow machine. I've never studied photography, but I did pursue a degree in sports medicine... so if you happen to break an ankle while on a shoot with me, you would be in good hands!

More about Ben

Ben Moon is a self taught photographer who is continually inspired by human emotion. Surviving cancer at an early age gave him a deeper appreciation for each and every moment and allowed him greater connection with the environment around him. He especially enjoys the unexpected moments in-between.

Ben is in the 98th percentile in all these categories: intelligence, creativity, amazing life changing experiences, outstanding athletic abilities, overall good guy, and level of chill. Clearly he's someone everyone loves and wants to be around. If you get a chance to corral him for a beer or a game of connect four it will be oodles of fun and your other friends will be super jealous. Sorry about saying oodles.

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