Former Art Director and Photographer Ben Goossens shares his works and thoughts with James Robinson Photography Blog. Thank you Ben for your participation.
Ben Goossens: Thanks for the invitation James, it’s an honor for me.
JRP: For those of us unfamiliar with your history where do you call home Ben?
Ben Goossens: Addicted to Surrealism and Photoshop, living in Belgium (Europe) the land of R. Magritte!
JRP: How did it begin for you? What led to your interest in photography? Is there any formal training or assisting in your background?
Ben Goossens: Passion in photography and illustration started in High School at the age of 15 and four years later Art School where photography was one section.
JRP: Name some artists that have inspired and influenced your approach to your craft.
Ben Goossens: All surrealistic artists were a source of inspiration for the visual concepts during my studies and professional life. They are still a source of inspiration for my hobby.
JRP: How did you develop your vision and technique?
Ben Goossens: As an Art Director in advertising there was a “demand” to be different. I chose surrealism for creating visual concepts (which has been well accepted). At first the surreal concepts were created the traditional way, with gouache, AD markers, airbrush, etc. Later, when the Mac and Photoshop came (24 years ago) all that changed completely. Concepts were created with Mac and Photoshop.
AD Markers dry-up, the very expensive graphic camera didn’t have a job anymore. What I regret is many creative people at advertising agencies used stock photography. Good, creative, professional photographers had much less work, and some didn’t survive the evolution!
JRP: Do you have people who assist you with your projects and if so what roles do they play?
Ben Goossens: During my professional life I’ve had 6 people in the studio who finished the rough concepts. I hired-in the best creative photographers who were fantastic because they could realize the most complex ideas without Photoshop!
Now I’m retired. Working with a low budgets the only “assistance” is my very long experience and use of Photoshop. I still have a lot to learn!
JRP: What would I find in your camera bag for a typical shoot?
Ben Goossens: I’m no camera freak. After some traditional SRL Nikons from the darkroom period and some small digital cameras which I won in international photo contests I currently work with a Nikon D300 and 2 Nikkor DX lenses. The 16-85VR II and 70-200 VR II which I’m very satisfied with. No need for 2.8 lenses for my kind of work. A Nikon SB 600 speedlight which I use rarely.
JRP: What type of lighting do you prefer … artificial or available light? What are your most often used light modifiers?
Ben Goossens: I prefer available light, but sometimes the Nikon SB 600 is needed and I use it mostly in a creative way. Wireless with the SU-4 TTl sensor.
JRP: Please describe your digital work flow and the software you use?
Ben Goossens: To create my images I use Photoshop and some interesting creative plug-ins. All my images are composed with my own shootings! I use different landscapes and sky on difference layers and blending modes to create my personal landscapes. I also use my airbrush experience to paint colors.
I have a full HD with objects, people, animals, sky, etc., photographed over 50 years. If I can’t find the right subject in my personal stock I go out shooting to find the element in the right light direction. It can sometimes take more than a year to finish a composed image.
JRP: As you look through the viewfinder what is the most critical moment in the capture of your images?
Ben Goossens: I’m not a one shot photographer. I think I have a rather good photographic eye and if the subject is “interesting” enough I will not miss it.
JRP: Name a shoot or project that revealed to you the distance you’ve come as an artist.
Ben Goossens: No special shooting or project. For 13 years my “crazy” images are on photo sites and many international editors have chosen them to publish in magazine and books. Phot-art magazine (FR), Surreal Digital photography Book 2 from ILEX-press – (GB), and in a lot of other international photo magazine worldwide.
In 2011 a great Art Calendar was printed with 12 of my images. It was a great honor for me.
Awards for 40 years in many national and international photo contests has helped to recognize my work and name. That’s why I’m invited to give PS workshops for people who are interested in the making “crazy surreal” images. Loved by some and hated by others!
JRP: If not artistic photography what would Ben Goossens be doing with his time?
Ben Goossens: I would start making surreal oil / airbrushed paintings again.
JRP: What has been the best advice given to you by another photographer?
Ben Goossens: Be creative and surprising with images, even with one shot images. Create you own style and try to be perfect in it.
JRP: What advice would you like to share with photographers?
Ben Goossens: Have passion and be hard-working.
JRP: Thank you Ben for sharing time with us. It has been a pleasure talking with you, and we wish you continued success.
Ben Goossens: My pleasure James. 🙂
JRP: To view more of Ben Goossens’ photography please follow these links: