This week’s featured street photographer is fresh on the scene. Ben Murphy tells me he’s been shooting for about a year now, which tells me we can expect great things from Ben. At only 18 years old, he’s got plenty of time to practice his art and craft his own style.
I asked Ben how he got started as a street photographer. Turns out his circumstances and his dad both played a part.
“In my senior year of high school is when I really got into street photography. At the time I was waking up at 5:30 AM in order to catch a bus and train to get to school. I was mainly shooting urban landscapes at the time. My Dad told me that I should start taking photographs of people on my morning travels with my phone. What I soon found shooting people on the bus and train was a whole new way of expressing myself but also to show the beauty of everyday life, the emotions that fill these lives, and a social commentary that sometimes reflects current issues.”
One thing I love about Ben’s shots are the gestures he captures. Ben gets close (Robert Capa would be proud). Sometimes his subjects seem to notice him, but other times he captures the gestures, expressions and raw emotions of the moment, his presence unperceived.
“I do agree with you that gestures do give photographs a very human feel. I’ve always heard that body language can reveal a lot about a person. Gestures help give the photograph movement. A body in motion changes the whole feel of the photograph. Because gestures give photographs a human feel, it allows the viewer to feel more apart of the scene.”
“In all honesty I don’t purposefully go out of my way to find gestures, they just come naturally. When I’m walking around shooting photographs on the street, I’m really just observing life and then deciding which subjects I choose to shoot from these observations. The gestures just somehow make it into the photographs without me realizing it. What these gestures reveal I leave to the viewer to interpret.”
What does Ben hope to accomplish as a street photographer?
“Sometimes these little moments in life can reveal a lot about ourselves and how we view the world. All we have is life and some people don’t get to see all the things that fill it. I want my photographs to be a timeless commentary on everyday life, the people who fill them, and the stories that these subjects bring into my photographs.”
Well said, Ben. Street photography is about telling stories and though we capture strangers passing by on the street, more often than not, the stories we tell are our own.
Give Ben a follow on Flickr to see all his latest shots. We here at SPM did and we are anxious to see how Ben’s photographs and style will develop in the next few years.