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Work Samples

Brooklyn Museum of Art

from "Museums"

Charlotte Amalie

from "Walls"

Clarion

From "Stairwells"

Parking Lots

From "Street"

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About Ben

Baltimore City

Ben Marcin's picture
Born in Augsburg, Germany.  Many of my photographic essays explore the idea of home and the passing of time. “Last House Standing” and, “The Camps”, have received wide press both nationally and abroad (The Paris Review, iGnant, La Repubblica, Slate, Wired Magazine). More recently, I have been exploring the myriad structures of the urban core in series like Towers, Street, Stairwells and Museums. My photographs have been shown at a number of national galleries and venues including the Baltimore... more

Walls

I have been photographing everyday structures for many years: walls, parking garages, skyscrapers, stairwells, streets, sidewalks and warehouses. They are, for the most part, not visually appealing objects. In fact, they are probably invisible to most people who use them on a regular basis. My interest is not in documenting these structures but in extracting certain elements from them to create photographs that describe shapes and forms, patterns, geometry and color. I began with photographs of walls. At first, these were straightforward pictures in which the walls can be clearly identified. Over time, I expanded the concept to build more abstract renditions of the walls, reducing them to essentially color field studies.

Street

I began “Street” as a variant on the photographic genre commonly known as "Street Photography". In this case, my photographs document the streets and sidewalks themselves rather than the people crossing them. This concept evolved from the observation that while we constantly use streets, sidewalks and parking lots in order to get around, we rarely look at what we’re walking on. In our hurry to get to and from our everyday destinations, we tune out the peculiar patterns and shapes that exist on these surfaces. Many of these markings are symbols designed to move and place us efficiently and safely. Some are the result of repair work or construction. Still others are simply the scars and erosion caused by the millions of feet and vehicles that pass over them every day.

Museums

Museums” is a project in which I turned the concept of a museum around on itself by creating a work of art representing each institution using only its basic infrastructural elements. I photographed ceiling lights, hand rails, display cabinets, air conditioning ducts, auditorium seats – the more mundane the better. In keeping with my other projects about urban structures, I was primarily focused on photographing things that are in plain sight but most likely invisible to the people who use or walk past them. Visitors to museums are there to look at master works of art, not the floorboards or track lights. I set certain rules for executing this project. I didn’t photograph any of the art nor did I appropriate iconic architecture. No two museums were rendered in the same way. After taking hundreds, sometimes thousands, of photographs, I would return to my studio and build very complex grids using all of the individual photographs to create a virtual deconstruction of each museum. All of the individual images in the composites are straight photographs.

Ben's Curated Collection

View Ben's favorite works from other Baker Artists