Tell Me More: (photographer) Ben DeHaan
Tell Me More is a new mini-interview series I’ll be posting from now until I run out of people answer my questions. Here’s the deal – I’m going to ask people I find interesting for whatever reason and who I think you’d like to know more about the same 5 questions. I’ll tell you where I found them and what it is about them that I think is interesting, we’ll have a little biographical introduction and then the answers will follow. I’m hoping to showcase and appreciate local talent, hidden gems and clever ideas as well as point out people who are movers and/or shakers.
My first subject is photographer Ben DeHaan. I actually saw a show that featured Ben’s photographs at the Portland Public Library last year and I wrote a note to myself to write about him. I found my note a full year later, and I’m happy I did because it was fun to go back and rediscover why I wrote that note to myself. Ben’s work is challenging and well composed. The images are ironic and thought-provoking without being disturbing, which is a recipe for success in my opinion. I found myself laughing, then not being so sure what I was laughing about (and liking it.) I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
NAME: Ben DeHaan
HAILS FROM: Grand Rapids, MI
CALLS HOME: Portland, ME
SMARTS: B.A. in Photography from Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI
From the artist’s bio: “Ben’s work focuses on the construction of reality and our relationship with the natural world. He is currently working on a multimedia project which he hopes to reveal sometime this summer.”
What did you study in college? Do you feel that you are directly utilizing your college degree?
I studied photography in college and yes I would say I am utilizing my degree to an extent. I work as a printer in surface imaging which I think my college training in printing photography and scrutizing images has prepared me for, and in my personal work I use skills that I picked up in college.
What are the top 5 most essential things you need to do your work?
I usually only need about 3 things in order to make work:
1. A sketchbook
3. A non-distracting environment
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? How did you quit?
The worst job I ever had was at this small coffee shop in Michigan owned by an ex marine named George. He was petulant and short tempered, and would berate me in front of customers. He would berate customers too. George once got so mad at me that he furiously swatted this glass of ice I had set up on the counter which ended up flying into a customer. He did this because I put the chocolate in the mocha I was making after the espresso (it was supposed to be added first). I quit after a month when my wife was offered a job in Maine. He took it well. I think we were both just happy to never see eachother again.
If your 15 year old self could talk to you now, what would they tell you?
I think my 15 year old self would tell me that if things ever seem rough now, just remember that at least I can drive myself around and no longer have a curfew. Things I’m sure I was upset about at that age.
If you had a band, what would your band name be?
The band would be The Procrastinators