Ben Elwes’ practice uses digital and analogue still photography, HD video and mixed media. Within his body of work Elwes introduces found objects and materials relating to themes he is addressing, and he responds to events and situations that appeal to him at a given moment. Elwes is drawn to the urban environment if not exclusively, where observations made can form the basis of new work. Although themes can appear localised, they often involve ideas that are trans globally shared.
Elwes is interested in a variety of stories and patterns that life produces on the street, in the home on TV and elsewhere. He will identify an event, a moment or a group of people and dedicate himself to that idea immediately or over months or years. A theme that he is consumed with is the relationship between both media and advertising in its broadest term and its audience or us. With increasingly complex strategies devised by corporations to command our attention via media outlets, we are involuntarily beholden to powers that are not easy to quantify despite frequently influencing our judgements, the values and attitudes of which constantly permeate our lives and impact our psychology. This appears to be the price we pay for living in a Capitalist environment in the early part of the 21st Century. Elwes uses a variety of types of consumer items from prestige cars to discarded polystyrene packaging found on the street as material for his work, alluding to that theme.
A significant theme that also underlies Elwes’ work is events that identify and define change: in a world of flux important moments pass quickly and are soon superseded by others. Elwes’ work is concerned with such passing moments, whether that is a closing chain store, a political event, a social group or just a fleeting advertising campaign. These events might develop into a more valid document with the passage of time.
Elwes’ work has been exhibited at national and international venues including the National Portrait Gallery and The Photographers’ Gallery in London, UK, Gothenburg in Sweden and with Fetart in Paris and Arles, France. He presently divides his time between Europe and México. In México his work has been exhibited in government institutions and private galleries including Centro Cultural Manuel Gómez Morín Santiago de Querétaro and Fifi Projects, México City.CV download available as PDF