Dear Steve and Brandon,
I am a young French photographer from the north of France in Lille. I have been following this website for quite a while now and I thought I might want to share some of the images I have taken over the past 2 years. For the last 5 years, I have lived in London playing in a band and decided to go travel to India for 6 months, from where I have just recently come back.
As cliché as it may sound, I was turned on photography by Cartier-Bresson and the decisive moment, all the legacy that followed in Magnum and that way of working with the world. I started taking pictures in London, and what a great place to start with ! I borrowed my dad’s canon Ae1 before turning to a Leica m2 which I bought secondhand at the red dot Leica store in Old street, London, right by the London’s Magnum office.
The idea I very much like about photography is something that Cartier-Bresson talked about, that in photography we evoke things, we don’t try to push or to make a point. This is something that I find inspiring whenever I go out in the streets, not looking for something in particular, having to be ready anytime.
I think the most difficult thing in photography is the fact that the image we print on a piece of paper is flat and 2 dimensional, and yet somehow if we want it to appeal to us and to people, we have to bring it back to a 3 dimensional level with different layers, a story, through visual rhythm and musicality, good composition and so on …
But I also feel not many people today educate themselves with composition and maybe that is because the world is saturated with image and we don’t concentrate anymore. Like i said before, I like the idea to evoke something, or put a question mark on a face, as Cartier-Bresson would say.
The eyes of the children bring questions and one can’t help but notice the “second class ” mark on the train, which refers to the lowest sitting class available in India and it makes me think about the untouchables somehow and I have always wondered the situation of those children.
The first picture was taken in Mathura, India right before the beginning of the holy festival at the train station.
The men are stretching and getting ready to go in the water. Funnily I think one could call it ” the evolution of species “.
The second one was taken In Kolkata India before a game of Water Polo.
It is one of a the few moments I have had with my camera where I felt totally free, not thinking about the camera or anything else, just feeling the moment and actually, I did not have time to look through the viewfinder.
The third one is this child near Agra who came rushing towards me with his bicycle wheel and I manage to grab this moment
Back when I was shooting with my Leica I would always leave one frame available in the camera when it was the last roll of film I had in my pocket, just in case something would happen. And this time It did. You might not see it at first but those children are actually posing as prisoners on the other side of the picture, probably smiling to a parent and I knowing that I had a black and white film in the camera, I recognized instantly that those stripped T-shirts they are wearing would turn into prisoner’s outfit and it becomes a double picture, a two sided picture, and at the same time I am the one shooting those children in the back. And I think there are so many layers to that picture, but i don’t want to say to much of what I think because it should awaken your imagination.
The fourth picture was taken in a leisure park near London.
The last picture was taken right outside Victoria’s station in London.
There are many pictures I would like to show here, I think I have to limit myself to 3-4, I’ll let Steve decide and you can find myself on social media :
Instagram : @benvanphotos
facebook : benvanphotos
Thank you for reading and thank you Steve for this website.
I still spend time in London and would love to meet fellow photographers around a cup of tea sometime, please feel free to drop me a line : [email protected]