A new book of photos, “The Residence We Know” by Benjamin Willis, reveals Columbus in a way that only someone who is aware of this area and its people today intimately could do, with the two enjoy and regard.
Willis, 30, grew up on the East Aspect, attended Otterbein University in Westerville and now life in the Milo-Grogan neighborhood.
He took the 72 shots gathered in “The Residence We Know” concerning 2017 and 2021. They mirror the folks and locations he encountered in every day lifetime.
“Some are what I would consider intimate portraits, exactly where I understood the topics, but most of them are on the road,” Willis said. “I know them via habitual goings of areas. It can be an acquaintanceship, not very a connection. There is certainly like a nod. You will find an knowing.”
How Willis acquired his start
Willis didn’t start off out as a photographer. In faculty, he double-majored in philosophy and art, with an emphasis on painting.
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Stephanie Patridge, associate professor of philosophy at Otterbein, worked with him whilst he was there.
“Ben is almost certainly a single of my favourite college students I’ve ever taught at the institution,” she explained. “I nonetheless see him now, and he is a single of the several individuals who is definitely hoping to dwell these philosophical experiments he did as a pupil, creating about ethics.
“He genuinely is a lifelong learner. He’s normally looking at and contemplating, and his artwork is intertwined with his mental venture of contemplating about values. He is just a actually wonderful human, and I am really glad he is on this earth.”
The yr after he graduated in 2014, Willis was invited to be a single of two artists in home at Otterbein, exactly where Jim Bowling, a professor in the art office, obtained to know him and his perform improved.
“One of the issues I discovered in Ben’s do the job early on was that narrative sense,” Bowling reported. “He’s most likely been a storyteller for a prolonged time. It was not just a figurative analyze, it was how do you notify a tale of this man or woman. His images shares that with his paintings. I look at them, and I want to know much more about that human being. They’re powerful photographs.”
A storyteller at coronary heart
Julie Rae Powers of Tender Lightning, the Brooklyn-dependent editor and publisher of Willis’ ebook, became informed of his pictures when dwelling in Columbus, from 2013 to 2020.
“From the second I saw his do the job, I observed there was this kind of a heart in it,” Powers explained.
“I never see that in a large amount of photography. A great deal of pictures is sensationalized. His is just a really like letter to the group that he sees each and every day. On best of that, even nevertheless I you should not live in Columbus anymore, I nevertheless have this large adore for Columbus. I needed to operate with another person who plainly cared about what they ended up accomplishing with the camera and honoring the people today that they were being getting photos of. It can be personal. It truly is welcoming, even with the photos of people he could or may not be shut with. It feels deeply personal.”
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Powers worked with Willis to slender down his assortment of a lot more than 800 photographs.
“It was a seriously complicated point,” Willis said. “At the beginning, I was like, oh, I just have to have to show my greatest images. And then I was like, what makes a photograph the ideal, or makes it fantastic?
“At the conclusion of the day, I had to make what appeared at the time hard selections, but also evident choices. I have so a lot of color pics and so many black-and-white images, it was like, Ok, this is both going to be a shade reserve or a black-and-white reserve. I by now had most of my black-and-white archived in a way it wanted to be archived, so we went with black and white.
“The mind does not have to go again and forth on what it is really taking in, on the sensory degree, in the way that it would if there were being the two coloration and black-and-white photos,” Willis said.
The photographs are arranged as a nonverbal journey by Columbus.
“I desired there to be a good stream, fluid in the way that it breaks up quadrants of Columbus. So: portrait, landscape, abstract. It gives you a narrative variety that individuals can decide up on, that guides you by means of the photos as a tale,” Willis mentioned.
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In addition to performing on the guide, Willis has been busy in a wide range of endeavors, like: exhibits at the Columbus School of Artwork & Layout and 934 Gallery generating a campaign for Apple featuring Columbus artist Counterfeit Madison working as a cinematographer for the shorter documentary “They Will not Simply call It Murder,” which was revealed at the Unorthdocs Documentary Film Festival at the Wexner Centre for the Arts and, with two buddies, opening Parable Espresso, a pop-up shop at Comune on Parsons Avenue.
If not, Willis said, “I’m just seeking to hone my craft. I am working on archiving my coloration photos and beginning to share some of those. I’m attempting to study some of the much more intricate areas of film processing and printing. I would like to teach the individuals about me how to do that things. I sense like a ton of that is not incredibly accessible.”
Willis continues to use photography as a suggests to discover the city.
“Ultimately, it really is a mix of all the items that I like and all the factors that I’m curious about and all the factors that I want to transform in Columbus. Which is what the pics replicate. All the things that I want to transform, and the things that I want to maintain.”
At a look
Copies of the reserve are accessible for $60 at Prologue Bookshop, 841 N. Substantial St. Willis will be readily available at a ebook-launch bash at 934 Gallery, 934 Cleveland Ave. on March 24, time to be introduced.