Process Driven: Ben Thomas
In 1976, William Eggleston opened his first color show at MoMA, the reviews were fairly polarized. To some of the art establishment, color photography was for snapshots and not to be taken seriously and black and white was the only true photographic art form. But while one critic called the show perfectly banal, another called it a milestone and said that after it black and white would seem slightly quaint and precious. In the 40 years since, it’s almost impossible, at least for me, to imagine a photographic world without color. Don’t get me wrong, I love black and white and spent years shooting only black and white but there’s something to be said for the work of photographers like Fred Herzog, Steve McCurry and Saul Leiter. We see in color and when it’s done right, photography can help us see our world differently through color, which is one of the things I love about the work of Ben Thomas. In Ben’s series Chroma, color becomes almost a character, a necessary element to help communicate the narrative behind the work. When I first saw it, I knew I wanted to talk to him. What I found is that each series that he’s done over the past several years is an exploration of composition, texture and color and it all began with a project called Cityshrinker.