Benjamin Williamson isn’t your traditional landscape photographer. Instead of seeking places devoid of human presence, Ben likes to showcase our relationship to the environment through images that often include man-made objects. A lifelong love of extreme weather and history have combined in images that feature classic New England scenery in beautiful light and unusual conditions. Ben’s photos have filled the pages of Down East Magazine and many of its covers for the past four years, and earned a raft of accolades, including first place in the 2016 Maine Photography Show. In 2018, the U.S. Postal Service chose one of Ben’s photos for its “O Beautiful” stamp series.
Ben is largely self-taught — he began taking pictures in 2012 while working nights tending bar. Within two years of picking up a camera, Ben’s photography hobby evolved into a full-time profession when he took a job as the photo editor of Down East Magazine. “When I find something I enjoy, my first instinct is to share it,” says Ben, a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, who lives in Brunswick, Maine with his wife, Kimberly, daughter, Charlotte, and two dogs.
The focus on subjects that bring about positive emotions comes naturally. While he understands and appreciates the importance of social documentary and politically inspired images, Ben chooses scenes and subjects that inspire awe and wonder and highlight a harmonious relationship between humans and the natural world. Most of these aim to highlight sustainable ways of co-existing with the environment, such as our fisheries and conservation land. Even so, Ben is apt to marvel at humanity in all of its forms, even the bustle of town and city life. One of the goals of these images is to show that man needs nature, not the other way around.