Lewis and Clark Artist Statement

I’m a commercial and creative photographer based in Portland, Oregon. I like to think my style invokes a twilight feeling of fantasy and possibility. I love capturing just the right person on just the right corner and interacting with someone who I might otherwise not have. I also like photography. Most of my creative inspiration comes from getting out and doing street photography and the odd situational shoot like this Lewis and Clark one. 

Xander (Meriwether Lewis) and I became friends a few years ago at a group shoot organized by the PDX Strobist group on the photo sharing website Flickr. I credit that group of photographers, and my very dear photo instructor Sharon O’Keefe, for getting me involved with photography and falling in love with it. It’s people like them who share their excitement and spark of creativity that make a difference for people like me. 

These days, Xander and I like to drink whiskey while discussing morality, art, young people today, and what kind of trouble we should get into. Originally we thought it would be fun to do a shoot where these two explorers pose like you see them on so many road signs: Lewis is pointing off into the distance as if saying “Pull my finger, Clark.” But we found that pose to be somewhat limited. Really too much like planking. We wanted involvement, and to have more interaction with people and places, so this worked out best. Lucky for me, Xander and Alex are natural beguilers. In fact, some of our best ideas came from interacting with our characters on location. For example; I had originally drawn an art board for Lewis and Clark Go Bear Hunting to be more of a bar fight but then Marlin, one of our “bears”, suggested he take his shirt off and play dead for us— way better. Art boards can be too restrictive when you are working on the fly anyway.

This project took a lot longer than we expected what with life and all. The hardest thing was having to narrow down the images to a reasonable twelve. We were always excited to show them off but it was just so fun doing them that we really didn’t want to stop.

Ben Z Mund

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