Ben Lowy's career as a photographer began in Iraq, covering the controversial, and well covered war that began in 2003. Six years on and several accolades later, Ben's still drawn back to Iraq with an aim to show the general public what really goes on there.
“It's a privilege really,” explained Ben. “Iraq, Afghanistan and all the other crazy places I've been attracted to because no one else goes there, no one really knows what goes on there. It's an attractive endeavour creating a composed, and ordered image out of the chaos of real life. I know it's a dangerous job but someone has to do it.”
In this job there are no second takes, no lights and no backgrounds. There's only what goes on in front of Ben's face and the way he interprets a story or theme visually. Which means even if he has ideas on places and themes he aims to cover, letting things develop around him often allows for better pictures, something he's strived for since his student years.
“When I was working on my first story, I put myself into debt to pay for plane tickets and film. But it’s what I wanted to do, and nothing was going to stop me. It goes to show that experience is important but so is common sense, ambition and most importantly drive. Common sense, preparation and awareness of your surroundings also helps.”
For Ben, the key to good photojournalism is showing emotion and empathy. After all, when we're so separate and spread across the world it's the only way we can learn and start to care for each other, and, this idea of creating a connection and communicating, is something Ben tries to do when at all possible. He calls it responsible journalism, something which is easily done when in an enclosed environment but it's a little harder when doing street photography or capturing a fleeting moment in time. These small moments in time, the taming of reality are what drives Ben to carry on and capture even more interesting and unique narratives. But he isn't so naïve to deny that the wage isn't important or the way it can make you feel either: “There's something attractive for the ego in photo journalism and I have to put bread on the table. I could be making portraits in New York or serving sushi in London but I'm not. Photography is my job.”
Photography maybe his job but there must be a time when he wishes he was doing something else?
“Only when I'm sick with food poisoning and my advertising friends call me from swanky hotels and tell me about the easy life. Or when my wife calls to tell me she misses me.”
For more information visit Ben Lowy's website
Last year Ben was a finalist in the Photography.Book.Now