Ben Hassett's Bold Photography Career is Chronicled in New Book

Ben Hassett's Bold Photography Career is Chronicled in New Book

The limited-edition monograph is a work of art itself.

The limited-edition monograph is a work of art itself.

Text: Fred Sahai

Acclaimed beauty and fashion photographer Ben Hassett has a fabulous new book coming out. Color, which is printed in ultraviolet ink, will have a limited release of 1,000 hand-signed copies. Hassett has been teasing the contents of his first monograph for a few weeks on his Instagram, posting plates from the upcoming book. The images are highly saturated close-ups of beauty, fashion, flowers, and studio still-lifes, in keeping with his distinctive style of photography. 

Rather than presenting his chromatic images chronologically, the book presents the photos in a dynamic manner, whilst showcasing the high-points of Hassett’s career over the past ten years. The British photographer shared a few words on his approach via lengthy Instagram captions.

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PLATE 72 from my new book Color, pubilshed this month. Dior Magazine 2012 When I first began to work with Fabien Baron, he dared me to crop further into my images than I had before. It was around this time that I had started to make photographs using the Mamiya RZ again. It had been redundant since I stopped shooting film. When I discovered that there was an adapter plate for a digital back we put this camera, with its amazing lenses, to use once again. As anyone that has used this camera knows, it is a beast of a thing and because of its weight uncomfortable to use hand held. I decided to mount it on a tripod, and I have been working this way ever since. It is hard to alter the frame quickly. I tend to shoot a little wider than I need, knowing that I can crop the image later, particularly when I am making close up photographs of models.

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This month my first book will be published by Damiani. ​ ​I will continue to post plates from the book here over the next few weeks. ​ ​This is plate 84. ​ ​Early in 2018, I started to experimenting with flower studies and thinking about creating a book. This was something I have wanted to do ever since I first saw Penn’s Flowers book. His photographs have had an enormous influence on my work – his approach to photography has been a long-time paradigm of how I shoot everything. I knew that there was no point in simply copying what had been done before, and that I had to find an approach that pushed me beyond what I know and have already visualized. Eventually, I gravitated towards a very simple idea – of playing with colored light, animating and complicating my portrayal of floral forms. This is the first test image that I made, and was eventually edited out of a much larger and more ambitious set of images. I pinned it up on the wall of my office and looked at it for six months and thought about it. It’s important for me to remember that just because something has been done before, that there is no reason not to go out and try to make something new.

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The book is prefaced by curator and photography writer Charlotte Cotton, who had this to say about Color

Color is Ben Hassett’s pluralistic, celebratory ode to photography and the experimental journey on which it has taken him. In his hands, color is multiform: a symbolic detail that resists easy translation; a visual strategy that upends our expectations of what can be beautiful; a cast that permeates and amplifies the emotional register of its subject; a monochromatic palette that withdraws all visual interference; the singular, literal subject of his most abstract photographs; and a visual space where opposing registers of color come together.

For anyone who’s interested in getting their hands on a signed copy of Color, you can join the photographer on Tuesday, October 15th from 6-8 pm for a book signing at Dashwood Books.

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