Currently a junior, Ben Safdie is a film major in Boston University's College of Communications. Safdie has actively pursued photography concurrently with his film studies, studying at the International Center of Photography as well as independently. He has shown at Paul Rodgers/9W Gallery in New York and one of his films was an official selection the 2005 Independent Film Festival of Boston. Safdie is also a member of the film collective, Red Bucket Films, which creates films collaboratively.

Featured online are selections from Safdie's ongoing series “Common Things.” Within Safdie's eye, one can see glints of the 1970s color photographers in his interest in the everyday and the overlooked. His concentration on mundane surfaces, objects, and corners reveals a distinct sense of humor via surprising formal and metaphorical juxtapositions.

- Leslie K. Brown, PRC Curator

Click here for Safdie's web site.


Why I Photograph

Every situation is embedded with a sense of humor. Humor is also one of the few things that can make anything seem beautiful. With these two theories embedded within my mind, I go out and take photos. What I try to do is search through the common things within my life to find the humor that exits within the objects and textures around me. When I speak of humor I can mean a subtle chuckle or a laugh, but I can also mean a smile or recognition of something new. In order to find and capture the humor I see, I realized that I had to separate the elements of the scene that create that humor. By, in a sense, breaking down the joke, I can allow others too see the humor within these common things that I admire.


Humor, to me, lies in the juxtapositions of two incongruent objects or things. It also lies in the discovery of something's real material and purpose. It also seems present when you discover the subtle faults within things, and it is even present through the simple recognition of the process of someone's thoughts. All of these elements can be found within the common things of our lives, and it is through finding the hidden humor that I force myself to look at the objects in a new way. Whenever I see an instance like the one's above, I try to capture it forever so that I can see it when I leave wherever it actually exists. I then take these images and place them within a created city where all of these separate images create the feeling of continuity. This process creates a library of instances and objects that form an imaginary city I can I visit.

Ben Safdie, 2007



Click on each image for larger version and caption.

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