Interview with Ben Clement for 2022 CCP Summer Salon
Born in a small village in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa (Gisborne, New Zealand), Ben Clement spent his formative years with bare feet running free and used photography as a way to follow his curiosities and interests.
Ben talks to the continuing thread that follows through his work—how people move and are active in the world, what photography has taught him about how to live, and the importance of both the influence of people and place.
As a kid growing up in a small village in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa (Gisborne, New Zealand). Ben and his bare feet ran free with imagination. Days were spent building huts, pretending to be MacGyver and creating masterpieces with lego. He dreamt of the wider world through magazines, films and his Mum’s travel photography. After borrowing her camera to take to a punk show, he was fascinated at what he'd captured. From then on photography became his way to follow his curiosities and interests. His imagination now goes with him on long runs—shoes on, mostly.
What is the story behind your submitted works?
Ben Clement: My work has always followed a thread of looking at the way people move and are active in the world. Both pieces show this in different ways. From the leisurely to the intentional, I love to show movement. Whether that is how someone arrived at a scene, or the traces of activity and also the physicality of people moving, specifically within sport and movement modalities.
What does photography teach you about how to live?
BC: As a photographer, I am either trying to create what I can't see in the world or find something that I see in my minds-eye. This teaches, for me personally—listening, attention to detail, empathy and much more.
Which is stronger to you the influence of people or the influence of place?
BC: The pull is towards people. Although I feel based on my personality I need to equally be around people to learn, be inspired and understand things but then retreat into more of a solace and be in place without people to have space to think and see differently.
Has your use of social media changed or influenced the way that you create, share or view your work?
BC: I would be a fool to say it hasn't, it's undeniable that it does influence work. It's a true part of the world we live in and is not a separate and unknown entity. So, therefore, social media must be an influence in different ways. What is lacking is frameworks and perspectives in having a healthy relationship to it. The default is always on, invite everything in, use everything and be used by everything all at once.
Do you have an Instagram or website where people can view or purchase your work?
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