Ben Zank is committed to producing a new photograph every single day of the year. The devoted young artist/photographer from New York is another master on the surreal on the rise, creating self-portraits that defy explanation or logic, while still keeping his viewers not only captivated, but entranced. Zank is no doubt blessed with uncommon talent, and luckily for us, he is also dedicated to making art, fine art in fact.
His flair definitely is evident in his extensive collection of originally conceived realities. “I go wherever my imagination takes me,” says Zank of his decidedly offbeat work. Often times he is his own subject, dressed in dapper suits, placed inside bizarre situations that straddle the surreal and bizarre. He also has a penchant for shooting outdoors, indulging his eye for natural beauty. He often uses ordinary, mundane backgrounds to contrast with his odd subject matter.
Zank was born in the Bronx and at the age of 18 he started taking photographs for kicks after he chanced upon a Pentax ME Super in his grandma’s attic. In photography, Zank found a medium of expression where he is able to articulate how he feels when words are insufficient.
“I didn’t go to school for photography. Instead I majored in journalism,” mused Zank. “As a journalist in school, you find that your own words end up being silenced and in place are an objective and almost robotic narrative that is constantly regurgitated. Consequentially, I found myself bad at expressing my emotions through words. I was good at the rant, but any real meaning about myself was locked deep inside. My photographs are a way for me to abstractly speak my opinion and bring my emotions into light.”
Zank says that he shoots practically every day for a 365 Project on his Flickr account, in which he recurrently posts his surreal images. The project is in progress, with Zank spending as long as three hours outdoors everyday for every image. He initially shot with a Canon 5D Mark II and a 50mm f/1.4, however now he uses a Nikon D90 and an 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 lens.
See Zank’s exemplary world of the bizarre and odd here.