Ben Langford received a BFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2014. He grew up in London, and went to High School in Singapore and Connecticut. Today we look into his series, Reclaiming Eden.
I see contemporary gardens as a microcosm that literalize the ways in which contemporary experience is shaped by technological mediation and various cultural and aesthetic ideals. I draw a connection between the construction of these gardens and the romantic ideals that shape them by referencing compositional structures found in representational painting. My photographs simulate traditional styles while depicting spaces that simulate traditional ideals. This reflexive doubling becomes a continual focus of my work—suggesting an ambivalent seduction with the utopic illusion that these spaces produce while mourning the loss of authentic experience.
These flower sculptures draw attention to and depend upon photography’s ability to convincingly create the illusion of space, texture, and material qualities. While at a distance, the trompe l’oeil of the photographs is effective, upon closer inspection, they reveal the flaccid shortcomings of images– their reductive flatness, fragility, and inflexibility. They bring the seductive and hallucinogenic qualities of images to attention by reversing the way photographs are ordinarily perceived: they are not windows to be looked through but simulacra that seemingly extend beyond their real dimensions.
The decaying floral still lives inside these boxes reference memento mori still-life paintings. The reflections of the still life are dissipated by each subsequent reflection until the image dissolves into a shadowy void. They exist as a kind of reliquary where the proposed ruins of an original decompose in a field of copies.
To see more of Benjamin’s work, please visit his website.