In Conversation with Ben Lowy
What do you do?
I am a globe trotting photojournalist. Or used to be before the editorial industry tanked. Now I have my fingers in every pot – documentary, commercial, social media, teaching, and starving artistry.
What are you up to?
Benjamin Lowy is a New York based photojournalist. He began his career covering the Iraq War in 2003. He has received numerous awards from World Press Photo, POYi, PDN, Communication Arts, and American Photography. His work from Iraq, Darfur, Afghanistan, and Libya have been collected into several gallery and museum shows including the Tate Modern, SF MOMA, and the Houston Center for Photography. In 2011 Lowy’s Iraq | Perspectives work was selected by William Eggleston to win the Duke University First Book Prize in Photography. In 2012, Lowy was awarded the Magnum Foundation Emergency fund to continue his work in Libya, as well as the ICP Infinity Award for Photojournalism.
What inspired you to become a professional photographer?
I came across Jim Nachtwey’s book inferno while studying illustration in University. It changed my entire perspective about art and representation and educating people.
How did you get your first break?
Another photographer was denied a visa to Kuwait for the build up to the Iraq war in 2003. I walked into this photo agency’s office at just the right moment and raised my hand.
What paths have you taken to get to where you are today?
Sacrifice, hard work, and frankly tunnel vision with a single goal in mind.
What advice about the do's and don'ts would you give to an aspiring photo journalist/ photographer?
Dont show work or shoot something that you think the community or editors want to see. Shoot something, show something that you want them to see. And inherit a lot of money. Because that will always help pay the rent better than photography.
Tell us about what you're currently working on and what sets you and your work apart from other photographers?
I am constantly innovating. That is where I see media and technology going. The only way to stay afloat is to constantly change my tools, my aesthetic, my presentation. I am constantly letting each project I work on guide me into a new way to visually articulate. That creativity is an important feature that can help anyone stay relevant in today’s world.
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