JONATHAN CHERRY: What did you want to be growing up?
BENJAMIN FREEDMAN: First I wanted to be a pig. Then a skunk. Then an orthopedist. Then a filmmaker. Then a photographer.
JC: Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?
BF: I actually just purchased Art Forms in Nature by Karl Blossfeldt. I studied his work pretty intensely a couple years ago. He became a huge inspiration for a while. Looking through this book now, I’m still finding something new to look at. The images are extremely meditative but also scientific. I also just really admire his work ethic. He was pretty amazing. Other photographers I’ve been looking at are Jamie Hawkesworth, Adi Nes, Margaux Roy and Zachary Norman. I’m also reading this great book right now called The Significance of the Photographic Image in a Filmic Context by Paulius Petraitis. I love that stuff.
JC: What are you up to right now?
BF: Right now I’m in the middle of packing up my room. I’m moving all my belongings into storage. It’s really amazing what kind of shit you’ll find after living in the same place for four years. I’m about to head off on a crazy adventure to Israel, Turkey, Italy and Berlin. I’ll also be going to Iceland in November for a two month artist residency. It’s sort of freaking me out but should be an interesting time…
JC: Have you had mentors along the way?
BF: So many. I’ve been under the wing of many inspirational people who have invested so much time and energy into me. I’m very lucky.
JC: Where are you based right now and how is it shaping you?
BF: Although coming from Montreal, I’m based out of Toronto right now. I’ve been living here for almost five years. Toronto has a pretty great art scene. There is always something happening and although not functioning on the same scale as some other cities, Toronto has its own charm and personality that i’ve come to really appreciate. It’s a pretty accessible world with many contributors.
JC: One piece of advice to photography graduates?
BF: Well you just cant stop learning. It’s a funny thing that happens when people graduate. Suddenly they put their cameras down and take a step back. This is important. Unfortunately, it’s very hard for some people to pick it back up. For me, photography is a muscle that needs constant attention. I suffer through strange droughts where I don’t feel the desire to make images but I always come back. If i don’t take photographs, that creative muscle gets weaker and weaker. Its a strange phenomenon to explain. Also go to galleries. See what is happening in your city. Form opinions!! Read books and engage.
JC: If all else fails - what is your plan B
BF: Its a funny question because for me, in a lot of ways, I can’t have a plan B for plan A to work.
JC: Is it important to you to be a part of a creative community?
BF: Of course! I’m always somewhere between exhausted, challenged, inspired and completely motivated by the creative community I surround myself with.