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Pencil vs. Camera: The Artwork of Ben Heine

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We’re most impressed by those who see the world from a truly unique perspective. There’s something refreshing about an artist who finds beauty in the mundane, or who can extract meaning from ordinary circumstances.

That’s why we love the artwork of Ben Heine. Ben creates photograph manipulations by inserting his own interpretations of the landscapes through pencil drawings. In doing so, he effectively alters the photograph’s depiction of reality by superimposing what he would like to see.

Ben kindly provided us with some of his work, along with descriptions of each piece. Dive into his work below, and check out his terrific interview on BestBookmarks.

Tell us in the comments: What’s your favorite medium to create with?

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Ben Heine: Sometimes, you find the key to your problems in the dark moment. Sad events can be a source of enrichment too. The bird I drew isn’t an eagle or a parrot – it’s a crow. The crow symbolizes the “dark moment” but it’s also the element that sends the key. The bird is falling on the woman while she is going up. I took this photo in London near the Big Ben. The key is directly related to Caroline’s story; it’s also connected to the place where I made the shot. It was a bit scary, there were these high buildings all around us and every side was closed, still there were doors and gates everywhere. I thought a key among this closed space would be a cool touch.

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Ben Heine: I took this photo near Hannut in Belgium. I also made the rough sketch. I only drew things that came to my mind when I started this project as sort of an improvisation. The letters placed randomly form the word “PENCIL”. There is “Dust” written on the flag, because photographers always complain about dust in their lens and because Earth is made of stardust. Superman is trying to get out of the camera, searching for new ideas, while a Smurf is having fun on a horse. The person on the left is Sebastian, a good friend.

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Ben Heine: I took this photo and made the sketch during my trip to Spain, when I walked several hundreds of kilometers in the context of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. That’s what pilgrims do to sunflowers along the path – they draw faces by removing some seeds. Clever. The message I wanted to convey when I made this photo/drawing was, “Don’t cry baby, you were born in a scary world, you’d better get used to it. Don’t cry, little man. Every life has its own little dramas and we’re all scary in some ways. You’re a flower, remember.” I also wanted to show that drawing or taking photos of flowers isn’t always “cute” but can also be powerful and meaningful.

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Ben Heine: Tetris feeling today… The crazy architecture of this place in Cape Verde reminded me so much of Tetris! The little man in the middle won’t get crushed if he escapes, hopefully. This is a creation I made for “Art Official Concept” (an art gallery in the Republic of Cape Verde).

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Ben Heine: I took this photo and made the sketch in the “Palais des Beaux Arts” of Lille, France. I’ve represented on the paper three sketches of my most favorite paintings: “The Third of May 1808″ by Francisco Goya (the painting is much bigger in the real life) “The Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli (the painting is much bigger in the real life) and “The Gleaners” by Jean-François Millet. The big Eye in the centre of the composition is something I added because what would visual art be without the tool to see it? In my humble opinion, the human eye and brain and the way we interpret art are even more important than the artworks themselves.

Find Ben Heine on the Web: Website | Flickr | Twitter