Meet the curators - Ben Goossens

"Shoot from the heart!"


The man from another place

133. That is the number of photos that Ben Goossens has published at 1x when this is being written.  Each and everyone of these photos oozes with the instantly recognizable style that Mr. Goossens has made uniquely his own. In a lot of the photos you can spot a faceless man in a suit with a bowler hat soaring above where his head should be. He doesn’t do anything, but is merely an observer. The creator's alter ego perhaps? Who knows? The fact that the faceless man happens to be Mr. Goossens profile image may or may not be a clue.

Considering the nature of Mr. Goossens work, it comes as no suprise that he has a background as an Art Director. After finishing high school, the young Ben Goossens went to art school in Brussels. One of his favourite subjects was photography. He was fascinated by the ways photos could be altered and manipulated through different techniques:

”I soon had a darkroom, in which I spent a lot of time creating surreal black & white images.”

Eventually, Ben Goossens also joined a local photo club where he learned a lot from the other members. His first entries in photo contests were however greeted with limited enthusiasm:

”I sent my crazy surreal ideas to many national and international photo contests, but they were not accepted”.

This was soon to change. After graduating, he started to work as an Art Director at one of the most experimental advertisment agencies in Brussels. To succeed in the competative world of consumer advertisment, your work must really stand out of the crowd. Something that did fit Mr. Goossens very well:

"The ideas/concepts must be different, so I went for surrealism and most campaigns were sold!”

Later on, he continued his career working for an agency specializing toward the medical industry. The challenge here was to create concepts that had to be understood by medical personnel all over the world. In the beginning he implemented his ideas using traditional techniques such as airbrushing, gouache painting and AD markers.  When modern computer processing later became available, it’s needless to say what it meant to a creative mind like Ben Goossens;

”It completely changed the way of creation. Much more possibilities. It opened up a completely new world.”

The job as an Art Director also put him in contact with top class photographers that helped him to realize his concepts. This would prove to be very influencial to his choice of hobby after retirement. It was a friend who introduced him to 1x. In the start, he did not feel his work was genuinly accepted:

”Creative Edit and surrealism was the black sheep on 1x, beacuse it was not considered as photography!”

Today, few would dare to question the talent of this artist who’s photographic work has evolved into a style uniquely his own. To further emphasize his contribution to 1x, he was made curator and is now a major influence of the Creative Edit genre in the gallery. He is very clear on what he expects from a 1x photo:

”I expect it to have impact, originality, mood, an artistic component or a special point of view. I find those qualities more important than perfect technique. Surprise with difference!”

His advice for accomplishing this is as creativly put as his images:

”Look beyond the obvious. Point left when all the others point right. Embrace the unexpected. Shoot from the heart and keep an open mind. Go out when the others stay in. Don’t look with your eyes, but with your mind. Create your own style and continue to develop it.”

Finally, there is one inevidable question. What is there left to do? According to Ben Goossens himself, there is still one thing he hasn’t done yet. To create the ”perfect composed surreal image”. That is now his primary goal. If you ask anyone who watches his portfolio, they would probably say he has already fullfilled it. About 133 times.

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