Benjamin McLaren, Time & Space: Portal, 2010
TAFE SA Adelaide College of the Arts (AC Arts) visual arts student Benjamin McLaren is the only South Australian photographer selected by Sam Stourdzé (Director of the Musée d’Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland) to exhibit his final year work at the Pingyao International Festival of Photography in China from 1 to 30 September.
Currently in his third year of the Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design, Mr McLaren’s pathway to Pingyao began when he was nominated by his lecturer Gregory Ackland for FotoFreo’s FutureGen 2012.
Out of 26 students from across Australia selected to show at FotoFreo’s FutureGen 2012, Mr McLaren was chosen by Mr Stourdzé - along with three other emerging photographers from interstate - to travel to Fremantle for the opening of the festival on 17 March.
For Mr McLaren attending FotoFreo gave him the opportunity to connect with other photographers from interstate and overseas and he said: “I am hoping that people will be able to connect with my work, and for my work to be recognised by a larger and different audience.”
On exhibiting as one of the 10 best Australian graduate/undergraduate photographers in an exhibition at the Pingyao International Festival of Photography, Mr McLaren said: “It is a great honour for my work to be selected by Sam (Mr Stourdzé). I'm hoping that this opportunity opens some doors for me as an artist.”
As a visual artist Mr McLaren is interested in positive and negative spaces and their relationships and this is reflected in his recent photographs which are wide landscapes shot at night.
“My work often includes sparse positive nightscapes using only available lighting to draw the viewer into the dense, black negatives where the viewer engages in a kind of self-reflection. I am particularly interested in these negative spaces where the mind of the viewer is free to wander in the infinite darkness,” he said.
Bachelor of Visual Arts Coordinator and Head of Photography, Mr Gregory Ackland said: “Ben has developed an intriguing set of images, which demonstrate fine technical control and are conceptually challenging. These images really struck a chord with audiences in Perth and this is obviously greatly encouraging to Ben as he continues to develop his work.”
With graduation looming at the end of 2012, Mr McLaren is using his final year at AC Arts to work on a new series of work that is not just limited to photography, but incorporating sculpture, installation, drawing and video.
AC Arts creative director, Christie Anthoney said: “AC Arts and the Photography Department are delighted to offer our students opportunities that draw attention to their talents on national and international stage.”
Find out more about photography at the Adelaide College of the Arts.