Ben Pier, (b.1980) a photographer originally from the Midwest, currently lives and works from New York City. "It was cool to grow up [in the Midwest], but at some point you've got to get away? Especially if the ceiling is crazy low? Being able to get away from New York is just as important though? I need open spaces and to be on the road every so often."
Before heading off for NYC Ben studied photography at Columbia College in Chicago. He says the experience he gained there was great and it was good to be surrounded by people who are doing the same thing as you and can give you advice, but in the end he went with his instincts, stopped listening to other people's opinions and did his own thing - mistakes and all. "Going to school for photography is kind of hilarious. You've got to be pretty na?ve and believe that you are the shit." Did photography help Ben's career? "No. Producing a strong body of work and making money doing photography are completely different beasts. They have almost NOTHING to do with one another. It's hilarious."
Whatever Ben did it worked for him and he was soon recognised by Jesse Miller from Tinker Street* ? a creative agency who's roster holds a lot of the photographers Ben used to, and still does, admire. "[It's] really flattering and humbling. It's also funny 'cause I don't really like most photographers I meet, but these dudes are actually really rad. We're friends."
When asked about the peaceful and quiet qualities of his photographs Ben replies "I think it's my natural style. I don't think about it when I shoot, but yeah I like to strip things down and let moments speak." And what photograph is he most proud of? "I don't really have a photo that I'm most proud of? But right now I'm typing this in my friends apartment in Paris and she has a framed print of mine above her bed. I'm pretty proud of that. It's a photograph I made in a Montreal park of two junkies hugging each other. One has a full skeleton face tattoo. It's super dark and somehow totally positive at the same time."