2018 CJL Finalist: Gus Bennett

 
My photography is about community and collaboration. It is from this premise, that my work is given roots necessary to grow and influence others. Public involvement has always been the key to my success as a photographer. When I am engaged in the spirit of collective collaboration, things become clear and ideas begin to flow. Collaboration is the vehicle that I use to push all of my visual narratives. At an early age, I found my voice in the DNA of the photographic medium. Photography has allowed me the ability to give “voice” to the things that I was afraid of speaking about publicly. It allowed me to speak in a new way…and at times it became my ministry. Many would argue, that the use of the word ministry is slightly misleading because it has nothing to do with photography or the photographic iconography that we all recognize. The reason why I refer to my profession as a ministry, is because the word conveys everything that I believe is necessary for all artists to have. Ministry gives us the ability to transfer a complex idea and to make it digestive to anyone willing to listen…and to anyone will to see things “new”. I believe that what our present day society needs is a new vision that gets it’s genesis from the collaborative spirit of the community it serves. Through the process of collective community collaboration and outreach… I am able to minister to myself, and to others - exactly what I am thinking about in a shared photographic experience.