Electronic waste is a fast-growing waste stream. Photographer Ben Von Wong set himself on a mission to make people become more aware of it – using his art. He gathered 4,100 pounds of electronic waste and built sets for an incredible series of portraits to raise awareness of this growing issue.
Turning your work into a brand is not an easy task, and it may seem overwhelming if you’re just starting it out. In this episode of Chase Jarvis RAW, Chase Jarvis meets Ben Von Wong. They share some tips and thoughts that could help any photographer who wants to build a brand and grow their business.
Did you know your laundry is toxic? Tests show that billions of people drink water with plastic fibers, and we can blame our washing machines for it. Photographer Benjamin Von Wong decided to point out to this issue in his usual way – by creating an epic photo project. He aims at raising awareness and hopefully getting electronics companies come up with washing machines which will prevent the pollution.
For his latest project, #FixToxicLaundry, Ben gathered a number of volunteers. Together, they created amazing “laundry monsters” luring from washing machines, representing the “monsters” which pollute our tap water and endanger our health. Their materials were limited, but the efforts were huge. And as a result, Ben ended up with another brilliant set of photos.
Did you dream as a child that you can walk or run on air? Benjamin Von Wong was wondering what it would be like, and he got a chance to experience it and capture it with his camera. He and his team defied gravity in the new Nike campaign. They created fantastic images that alter the reality, but they also experienced what it’s like to run on air.
It took creativity, courage, lots of safety equipment and thorough planning. Ben didn’t use stuntmen or stuntwomen, but his models were everyday heroes. He chose athletes, social entrepreneurs and community leaders who make the world a better place, and they defied gravity for this bold photoshoot.
We tend to think we’re quite privileged here in the First World. To the point where the #firstworldproblems hashtag is basically a joke. It’s to make us feel better about all our petty grumbles the world throws at us. But even in this supposedly privileged society, there are many people truly suffering. And many of those are children.
Benjamin Von Wong discovered this after talking with the people at Second Harvest Food Bank. They told him that where he lives, in the heart of Silicon Valley, 1 in 3 children struggle with hunger. Pretty sad for an area that boasts America’s second-highest concentration of wealthy people. So, Benjamin decided to do something about it.
The ideas of conservation, living “green”, fighting pollution and global warming have been at the front of everybody’s mind in recent years. Well, almost everybody. It’s gotten to the point, though, where many have become numb to the relentless commercials and posters telling us to recycle and do this and that for the planet’s benefit.
Photography Ben Von Wong wants to keep bringing these issues back into the public’s conscious through amazing photography. This time around, he’s used 10,000 plastic bottles to create an ocean home for a beautiful mermaid. As usual, this was an idea in Ben’s head that came together with the help of a lot of volunteers and assistance.
There’s a whole lot one can do with Photoshop these days to put your subjects into any environment we wish. But, for me, nothing beats the authenticity of shooting on location. It seems Ben Von Wong feels the same way. For his latest project he took his model, Tau, and crew out into the middle of Hawaiian lava fields.
The project is part of Ben’s work to raise awareness for climate change, and to give back to those who have been victims of natural disaster. In this case, Hurricane Matthew. Assisted by lava expert and landscape photographer CJ Kale, ben and his crew set off for the Big Island of Hawaii to capture the shots. Fortunately for us, as well as fantastic images, Ben also created a behind the scenes video documenting everything that went into their production.
In his latest adventure, Benjamin von Wong headed to Fiji where he tied down a model to photograph her underwater with the local sharks.
While this might sound scary (and crazy), the terrible stereotypes depicting sharks as menacing and terrifying creatures are exactly what Ben hopes to change with these surreal images.
If you are unfamiliar with the work of Benjamin von Wong (previously), you have probably not read DIYP in the last few years. Ben creates epic, inspiring, larger than life art and now he released a set of video tutorials explaining how he works. But I am going too fast, let me take it from the start.
Von Wong has done some amazing work, but many of his first creations can be related to his crowd-funded trip to Europe. In this tutorial, Ben breaks down those photographs and explains his entire workflow on editing them. After watching this section of the tutorial, I can say that this alone is worth the package, as the amount of information that Ben fires while editing is incredible. If you know Ben, you know that the pace is pretty fast and expect a rate of about one tip per ten seconds.
But Ben does you one over and also includes two more sections: a Lightroom tutorial section and a Photoshop section. Both are critical for understanding how to optimize your workflow. Hit the jump to see the full review.
Von Wong is the photographer behind some of the most epic images created in recent years and even his most simple photos tend to have something rather magnificent about them.
Obviously a lot of hard work goes into each photo, but what viewers don’t know is just how much planning, organizing, adjusting and adapting is involved in such complicated, yet low-budget, productions.
In his recent blog post, Von Wong describes how he handled various setbacks such as the centerpiece props not arriving, unexpected logistic tasks and shooting an entire photoshoot on a Sony a7R camera he’s never used before – all while being 10,000 miles away from home.
While his story makes for a good read, he doesn’t stop at just detailing specific solutions to the difficulties encountered on his recent shoot in Australia. Von Wong also shares insight that will help you get the job done in the best way possible, no matter what goes wrong.