Meeting my Idol (Getting to know Benjamin von Wong)

“Heroes. Idols. They’re never who you think they are. Shorter. Nastier. Smellier. And when you finally meet them, there’s something that makes you want to choke the shit out of them.” – Paul Beatty, Slumberland

We are all aware of the many quotes from different people about meeting you idol. That it is bad, you will be disappointed, one shouldn’t do it….

Anyway as I was presented with the opportunity to meet Benjamin Von Wong I didn’t hesitate. In fact I was like a kid in a candy store, on a sugar rush. I hardly slept the night before the meeting. Ben is one of my idols for a few years now. The first work I saw of him was his Project Universo . I really liked it. We had a brief Facebook contact about it and this video inspired me to shoot my first photoshooting that wasn’t just a simple portrait. I wrote a blog entry about the project, which can be found, here. This shooting broadened my photographic horizon. And after that I followed Ben, watching his blog, his BTS videos and the blog entries on other photography blogs, like diyphotography.com

I’m not a stalker. But I’m a big fan of his work. He and a few other photographer, like Joey L, Joe McNally and Zack Arias are the guys that shaped my style of photography. I know there is not one sports photographer on that list. That’s because I didn’t find one (so far) that I really liked although I really like shooting sport, more and more.

I met Ben at the Photokina 2014 in Cologne. The Photokina in and of itself is a melting pot of creativity once you look a bit deeper than all the new toys. The first glance I got of him was him setting up his laptop and his Mamiya and I introduced myself  briefly. He was giving a lecture for Broncolor, which is stuff for another blog entry.

 

I took a step back and waited  till after the presentation. Right after I went to the guys packing up his stuff and introduced myself. And it comes back to the melting pot of creativity I talked about. I was prepared to have a chat with Ben and I met Richard Terborg, Renee Robyn, Roderique Arisiaman and Richard Powazynski. I also briefly met Orphelia Overdose.

Which basically means, that I met more creative people in a matter of 5 minutes than I have met in the last month and if we are talking about photographic talent than it is safe to say “In my entire 33 years of existence”. It was breathtaking.

As I finally met Ben, he was funny, crazy, nice and every bit as I imagined he would be. This is a small Selfie of Ben and me.

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I enjoyed every second and really wish I could have stayed longer or even meet up with them again during the Photokina. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay at my aunts house, near cologne. Otherwise I would certainly found a way.

But I teamed up with Ben on one hell of an amazing Adventure. There will be a blog entry about that, too.

 

I guess at the end I have two things to say:

  1. Choose your idols carefully. You may get disappointed, if you choose wrong and meet them in person.
  2. If you do choose Ben as one of your photographic or creative idols it isn’t very likely that you will be disappointed, if you do meet him in person.

 

Ciao Björn

PS: To all the other people out there that I mentioned in this entry, it was really nice to meet you.

PPS: This is just a small teaser, there is way more to come.