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Interview for Mamiya Leaf

I’ve had the pleasure talking to Mamiya Leaf, makers of “Credo 80” – an 80 mega pixel wonder camera I used to photograph my recent project “Natural Beauty”.

Ben Hopper: “It’s like she’s saying ‘I’m confident with my body and I don’t care what you think.'”

London-based Ben Hopper is a consummate fine-art professional performance-focused photographer, with an unstoppable creative energy. End of last year, he started working with the Mamiya Leaf Credo 80 for personal projects. Projects that ‘perhaps wouldn’t usually include the usage of medium format cameras.’

Probably his most-seen work today is the project, “Natural Beauty,” a series of beautiful women shot with arm raised, revealing armpit hair. These images, which were recently published in the Huffington Post, led to so many people trying to access his web site that they literally crashed not only his site, but that of his service provider! The project was grabbed by the biggest publications worldwide bringing millions of views combined.
(original post)

I’d actually been thinking about and experimenting with this project for a few years — since i started doing photography,” Ben told us. “It actually started as a joke. I was hanging out with friends: artists, musicians, painters, filmmakers, and I said, ‘look at all the work that’s really taken off — that’s focused on repetitive subjects. It’s almost as if someone does something so many times they will begin to get recognition for it.

So I thought, ‘what if I get beautiful women showing armpit hair?’ It’s a really strong subject, because it’s such a contrast. You show this beautiful woman who’s so confident, like she’s saying, ‘I’m confident with my body and I don’t care what you think.’ It’s a contrast between conventional beauty and this truly unconventional look. Some people have criticized it saying the models were too beautiful or too skinny or wear makeup, pluck eyebrows and so on — but that’s what helps create the contrast — cognitive dissonance.

For this project, the Mamiya Leaf Credo 80 was a natural choice, because the files are more flexible, and in case we will exhibit these images, we can really push the printing size.

What does Ben have to say to someone who wants to be a photographer? Who wants to pursue it as a livelihood or as a life’s work?

Just do what you love. Do what makes you happy and try not to create work you think other people will like. When people do something they love doing and enjoy doing, other people can feel that passion in the work — it’s more genuine.

Everything that I’ve done that is personal, for myself, has worked. Like this latest project Natural Beauty — it was something I’d thought about and wanted to do, and it went viral. So be true to yourself. And you will find you’re getting hired because of your personal work. Do the stuff that will pay the rent, and keep dreaming up new ideas for yourself.

To date, Ben’s other projects have included a developing collaboration based on the principle of Cymatics with beatboxer and artist Reeps One, in which Reeps One’s voice was connected to a speaker and images were shot showing what happens to a thin film of water sitting on the speaker, as it’s being rippled through by the sound frequency. This project was a part of Reeps One’s solo exhibition in March. Read more about this project here.

Ben is also planning many other projects, from naked masked people in different outdoor locations to unusually posed fully nude physical performers covered in body paint and different powders in his studio — and for that, he believes that the medium format approach makes the most sense, “because we have better details nicer depth of field and more resolution.” Read more about this project here.

It was a very simple decision to choose the Mamiya Leaf Credo. The image quality is so much better than what I can achieve with the 35 mm — it’s not even a question! The resolution, the depth of field — it’s just way more beautiful.

I appreciate the differences that the Credo makes. For example, the Credo is much slower. I’m used to shooting so many more frames with the 35mm DSLR. And the Credo forces me to shoot slower. There are simply less frames per minute. It forces me to concentrate, to slow down. It’s almost a meditative kind of thing.

You can see the original interview here.

Artist Ben Hopper presents: “Natural Beauty”

Maya Felix

Maya Felix

Last month I previewed the first ‘official’ image from my long overdue project “Natural Beauty”.

Yesterday, I finally premiered 8 images on The Huffington Post, 6 of them was never published before.
You can see them below or go to the original post on The Huffington Post via link above.

Although armpit hair is a natural state it has become a statement.
Why is that?
For almost a century we have been brainwashed by the beauty industry, encouraging hair removal.

“Natural Beauty” could be classified as a type of protest.
By creating a contrast between common ‘fashionable’ female beauty and the raw unconventional look of female armpit hair thoughts are intrigued and a discussion is made.

Alessandra Kurr. Designer.

Slant Array. Model.

Olivia Murphy. Fashion student, model.

Ruby Bird. Producer, costumier.

Emilia Bostedt. Actress.

Rakel Lindgren. Actress, model.

Ayan Mohamed. Graduate architecture student.

Fruit Salad

Louise Raines

Charlie Barker

Cassia Tsura. Performer, artist.

Emily

Stephanie Tripp

This project has been in the works since 2007 but only lately I realised the aesthetics I was happy with.

With this studio setup I can focus on the idea with no distractions. It took me years until I was happy with the aesthetics, it’s quite funny. I preferred to wait until I’m 100% satisfied with it.
Again, the idea is contrast. The images are much more powerful that way. At least in my humble opinion.

Currently looking for more females to photograph. Please email me if you’re interested or have any questions: therealbenhopper@gmail.com

Here are few examples of the photos I’ve taken since 2007:

Amanda Palmer. Musician.
“Natural Beauty” research (2010).

Maleficent Martini. Singer, ballet dancer, model. "Natural Beauty” research (2009).

Maleficent Martini. Singer, ballet dancer, model.
“Natural Beauty” research (2009).

Suraya. "Natural Beauty” research (2011).

Suraya.
“Natural Beauty” research (2011).

Julianne Popa. "Natural Beauty” research (2011).

Julianne Popa.
“Natural Beauty” research (2011).

Justyna Neryng. Artist. "Natural Beauty” research (2009).

Justyna Neryng. Artist.
“Natural Beauty” research (2009).

I’d like to thank everyone who have been a part of this project and been very patient with me. Special thanks to Isaac Saul @ HuffPost.
The project is photographed on a Mamiya Leaf Credo 80 camera.
I will post more images from the ‘research’ phase in the near future.

Since the publication of the project on HuffPost on April 7th, the project has been getting press worldwide.
Here’s a list of the ones I’m aware of so far:
Aktuálně.cz (Czech Republic)
Andro (Greece)
AOL
Arco da Velha (Portugal)
aufeminin (France)
Bored Panda
BUST
Bustle
BuzzFeed
BuzzWok
Codigo Nuevo (Spain)
Cosmopolitan (Germany)
Cosmopolitan (UK)
Coyote Chronicle (CA, USA)
Creative Life (Czech Republic)
crushplate
Dagens.dk (Denmark)
DailyMail (UK)
Delbart (Norway)
DesignTAXI
EL TIEMPO (Colombia)
ELLE Serbia
Emol (Chile)
FITFLAIP FB
Glamour Magazine
GQ (Germany)
HLN (Belgium)
HuffPost (Germany)
HuffPost (UK)
HuffPost (USA)
HuffPost FB main
HuffPost Live
HuffPost Women FB
ITV Loose Women
La Repubblica (Italy)
Le Figaro (France)
Life Behavior (Brazil)
Lost at E Minor 
Mako (Israel)
Medical Daily 
Melty Fashion (France)
Metro (Russia)
My Daily 
N24 (Germany)
Noticias Caracol (Colombia)
Panorama(Italy)
PlayGround Magazine
PolicyMic.com
Quil Magazine
refinery29
Reshet (Israel)
RocketNews24 (Japan)
Saloona (Israe)
Schweizer Illustrierte (Switzerland)
Sin Embargo MX (Mexico)
Sin Embargo MX FB (Mexico)
Slashed Beauty
Stern (Germany)
Telegraph (UK)
The Gloss
The Hodgetwins
Visual News
Vivas (Finland)
Women’s Rights News FB
Yahoo Canada Shine
Yahoo Lifestyle

Reeps One A.D.O – Debut Solo Exhibition

I’m happy to announce Harry Yeff’s (aka Reeps One) debut solo exhibition “A.D.O“.

I will have new work I’ve made with Harry on display; both from my collaborative project “The Illustrated” and Harry’s project “Organic Electronics“.

From Press Release:
A collision of theoretical, neurological, anatomical, multimedia visual & sonic artworks.
The exhibition will feature: Paintings, drawings, audio/visual installations, cymatics, photography and live performances / Special live events within the exhibition installation: ‘Circle Of Naked’ & ‘The Room’.
Download the full Press Release from here.

Venue: Londonewcastle Project Space. 28 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch, London E2 7DP. View map.
Private view: 20th Mar, 6-10pm (invite only, RSVP: ado@getinvolvedltd.com)
Date: 21st Mar – 27th Mar
Opening times: 12 – 7pm on weekdays, 10am – 6pm at the weekend
Entrance Fee: Free
Facebook event here.

Reeps One ADO flyers

For those of you who haven’t seen Harry’s work or our collaborations I encourage you to go and check it out:
Reeps One on YouTube (beatboxing)
Collaborations for “The Illustrated” – captioned with ‘Yeff & Hopper’ (illustrations)

As some of you may know, I’ve been collaborating with Harry for my project “The Illustrated” since 2012. Although this project features different artists, something ‘clicked’ between me and Harry (arty bromance?) and we managed to create so much work that we started a ‘sub-brand’ called “Yeff & Hopper”.

Since then we also started experimenting with “Organic Electronics”, a project Harry created with visual artist Zach Walker and musician/sound engineer Linden Jay, an AV show using the science of cymatics, controlled by his voice.

We are all very excited about this opportunity. With the help from our friends at Peartree RentalMamiya Leaf, theprintspace and with funding from The Arts Council of England – we can bring you the best of what’s around. Sound, projections, drawings and fine art prints like you’ve never seen before.

See you there! :)
Ben x

A preview to “Natural Beauty” project

Although armpit hair is a natural state it has become a statement.
Why is that?
For almost a century we have been brainwashed by the beauty industry, encouraging hair removal.

“Natural Beauty” could be classified as a type of protest.
By creating a contrast between common ‘fashionable’ female beauty and the raw unconventional look of female armpit hair thoughts are intrigued and a discussion is made.

Currently looking for more females to photograph. Please email me if you’re interested: therealbenhopper@gmail.com

More pictures & information coming soon.

Synopsis for a blockbuster film

A big earthquake causes a major leak in a big nuclear power plant leading to the biggest nuclear disaster ever known to man killing billions in the years to come.

Meanwhile turns out this was all a well planned operation; a part of larger top secret depopulation plan ran by a small select families (aka ‘the 1%’) who own and run everything from behind the scenes.

Using advanced weather modification machines to create a geographically focused earthquake they broke the nuclear plant’s reactors leading to several core meltdowns – eventually leaking and poisoning earth’s humankind for decades to come.

We discover that ‘the 1%’ have actually been working with extraterrestrials since the beginning of time, being part-alien themselves – they have the technology to survive the radiation.

Our only hope is New York City Police officer John McClane who was cryogenically frozen (along with Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes) and now reawakened by “hacktivist” collective, Anonymous to save us from the reptilians.