“I think the cities and places we live in can sometimes present as overly complex and somewhat daunting,” Ben Thomas says in an interview with Wired, “I want to show the inherent beauty that exists when you start breaking down these intricate scenes to their most simple components.”
Ben Thomas (b. 1981) is a visual artist and photographer based in Victoria, Australia. Thomas’s work mainly revolves around the cities and urban spaces we live in. His obsession with urban spaces, architecture and how people interact with these spaces started in the early 2000s when he moved to Melbourne from Adelaide. Fascinated by what seemed like an endless trail of skyscrapers — both modern and classic — Thomas would spend his weekends walking down streets and discovering new lanes and spaces.
Thomas studied computer science and 3D animation and never had any form of professional photography training. His series of works has a way of putting architecture into perspective, and showcases the various techniques he has equipped himself with over the years. From experimenting with the now-popular tilt-shift technique for his internationally acclaimed Cityshrinker (2007) series, to utilising mirroring and kaleidoscopic techniques for his Accession (2012) series, to emphasis on how repetition acts as the basis of urban surroundings.
Recently Thomas travelled the world to develop his latest Chroma series consisting three parts. The series has a distinctive aesthetic of hyper-reality — almost-plastic-like — by intensifying the vibrancy of colours and light to create flat and almost illustrative images. He raises questions about how society defines the places we inhabit and to what extend do we have to digitalise our surroundings to make it noticeably unnatural.
“In a world where we are inundated with images and photography, I wanted to create something that would cut through — something that would speak to the viewer immediately. I hope that people feel encouraged to track down and discover what is special about their own environment and other cities around the world.” — Thomas on Chroma for Lensculture.
Thomas has come a long way, from picking up photography techniques on his own to winning the 125LIVE Olympus Vision Award (London) in 2015, LensCulture Emerging Talents 2016 Jurors’ Pick and obtaining the title of 2018’s Hasselblad Master (Street/ Urban Category). To date, he has completed campaigns/assignments for The New Yorker Magazine, Sony, Cake, Singapore Airlines, Penguin Books and Chronicle Books. To view more of Thomas’s works, click here.
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