Shutterbug Student Photographer of the Month: Ben Roberts
Appalachian State University
Boone, North Carolina
Still And All
From the photos that Ben sent us prior to his graduation from Appalachian State with a degree in commercial photography, we were not surprised to learn that he grew up wanting to be a film director. “It was a big dream from the time I was a little kid,” he says. But when he got into photography, he found the still image had its own esthetic attractions, and practical advantages. “I can get my models to places I wouldn’t be able to get a film crew to,” Ben says, “and I’m able to create images that are visually more appealing than anything I can do on film right now.”
The images we first saw, and you see here, might best be described as scenes from an imagined movie. Ben used the photos for two of his class projects, the first of which required students to devise a concept and then illustrate it. Later he produced a fashion editorial by merging new images with those made for the original conceptual idea.
Painting is a major influence on Ben’s work, and he says that what he finds most interesting about photography is that “it’s visually almost the same as painting, but you’re doing it with the real world instead of paints and dyes. I’ve got real people, and I’m arranging the real world to create the painting that’s in my mind.”
While he’s not closing the door to film, Ben has no plans for film school or the pursuit of directing. “The more I get into photography,” he says, “the more I love the still image.”
Ben Roberts was recommended by Cheryl Zibisky, adjunct instructor in technical photography at Appalachian State University.
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