Video: Benjamin Von Wong – The New Creatives
♪♪ Welcome to The New Creatives. I'm Jordan. I'm Austin. This show is about the tools and methods of creativity and the people who use them. In each episode we meet and talk to a new creative, about their life and their work, and what drives them. After that, we figure out some kind of project we can all work on together. Then we do our best to pass that knowledge onto you with a creative challenge at the end. Until then, here's Ben. ♪♪ >>My name is Ben and I'm a visual engineer. At least that's what my agent calls me. >>Tell us your first photography experience, how you kind of got in photography.
I was working as a mining engineer in a mine in Winnemucca, Nevada, had no prior aspirations of being a photographer, but a girl broke up with me and I found myself with absolutely nothing better to do and I thought that the stars were pretty and I just bought a camera at Walmart and took pictures of the stars. Through that it just slowly grew, I discovered new things. It took me six months to discover what white balance was, I was like really started from nothing. And just grew from there. ♪♪ I don't consider myself really passionate in photography. I don't actually take photos for anything other than projects. More so a problem solver, so what I'm hoping to do right now is apply those to impactful projects. The idea is if someone comes up to me with a problem, we're trying to communicate this problem and we're not sure how to tackle it, could you come up with a creative idea of expressing it? Then I go, so this is the problem, this is desired results, what type of visual elements do we need in order to achieve that result? I greatly believe in the power of humanity to solve problems. I mean, when we decide to do something we can.
I really like the idea of playing plastic polution. I think it's a huge problem that is not sexy and not that many people are talking about. That would be really cool to find a way to promote more. Should we talk about the collaboration? Yeah. I'm wondering, curious to hear what your ideas are. We've already talked a little bit, but, what are we thinking about? >>You know, one of the greatest struggles when people look at my work is they look at it and shake their heads and are like, I could never do that, and it kind of stops there. So I think it would really cool to figure out how to do something unique that will inspire others to act on something that can empower them. Could we do something really neat with not very much? But maybe the idea, maybe grabbing like, the amount of plastic we generated from this shoot and making a little sculpture out of it and taking a photo, what if everyone created their own little sculpture and posted it on their profile? That could be a really simple, clever thing to do.
>>It's been raining pretty much since we got here. So, we figured we might as well stay indoors and work on the campaign. But really, do you ever need an excuse for arts and crafts? No, you don't. So right now we are using the garbage that we have from our film crew to experiment with what we can make with water bottles. My idea here is slowly falling apart. This is the first project that we're trying to use actual social engagement. Uh-oh, my fingers are stuck. What do you think? That's gorgeous. Palm tree on an island. That's awesome. Let's go get some pictures. [thunder] >>What do you think about this? Tiny beach there. It's gotten really dark. Yeah Five minutes. Why is yours so bright and mine so dark? Getting some lighting from over there. This is really cool.
Yeah that's awesome. Yeah it's like the Flying Dutchman. Love it. That's a good one. Yeah that one's clear. It looks like it's floating directly on that horizon. I think that's the winner. Yeah. That's a winner right there. Successful experiment. [thunderstorm] We want to show that this campaign can work in all kinds of locations. So after pictures on the beach last night, we headed for a tropical volcanic peak for a totally different setting. It was quite a drive, but hey, anything for the shot, right? We forgot out amazing plastic sculptures. So no problems there. What I think is going to happen now is we are going to use the water bottles we have, full of water, drink a couple of them, and make some new plastic creations here so we can get some pictures.
We're hoping to get some great shots with our plastic bottle art. And we're in a reasonably attractive location. It is very cloudy, so I am making a sun. ♪♪ [camera clicking] I guess there's a little bit of creativity here. Yeah. I like it. ♪♪ We're here at Rainbow Falls on the big island, and Ben's already got his shot. My masterpiece has been created. Hashtag #myplasticchallenge It's kind of making fun of Instagram photos. You know, you go in front of any waterfall, lift your arms up, and looks awesome. We're going to do the same with this little plastic guy over here. I have something that I think is really cute, we can go there and try to improve it. It's looking pretty good for me. That's awesome. I love that. And that cannot be improved. Ben got a shot that's really simple. It has the waterfall, waterfall's out of focus so you go straight to the plastic man, what we want people to do. Got his hand in it.
It doesn't look like a cell phone picture. I feel more confident calling myself an artist now that I can do things like this. What are the basic components of this campaign, what are the elements that we need? Simple, engaging, replicable. Personal. Entertaining. So we need… a picture, hashtag, and a call to action. What kind of home, is there a home for this? I think home is always good because it gives a blog or anyone who picks it up a place to reference. And I really see this as kind of a youth movement thing. Let's activate younger demographics. Yep. Okay. I think we're set guys. Yeah. Yeah that looks good to me. ♪♪ How do you think the last few days went, Ben? I think it went really well.
This idea of a social campaign is something that I've always wanted to do, but just never quite had the time for, so it was definitely really cool to have the opportunity to get the message out there. What is the short version of why we're doing this? We don't inherit this planet from our parents. We borrow it from our children. And, I don't have children myself, but I think it's very important for everyone to think about what world they're going to be leaving behind for others, and so, while taking pictures of a little plastic object may not generate change in itself, it would show people that this is a big issue and that people care and that, when people care, corporations and governments follow. ♪♪ ♪♪ >>Hey guys this is Benjamin Von Wong and I just wanted to invite you to join me in this amazing project.
It really just takes a few seconds of your time but it's been proven that change really happens when those close to you get involved and participate. So, hope to see you around, can't wait to see your creations and remember once again that change starts with you. I have to admit I did not expect that. I thought we were going to somehow make an amazing Von Wong photo shoot even more amazing while getting a sweet tan on a sunny beach. Instead it rained all week and we helped launch an anti-plastic pollution campaign. I'm not complaining. I had a great time. So did I. Ben was awesome. I was so impressed with his passion to use his talents to do something good and important, to make a difference.
Yeah, and he's smart enough and humble enough to realize that making the world a better place isn't something anyone can do by themselves, it takes all of us. Exactly. We launched this campaign and whether it succeeds or fails totally depends on you. So that's our challenge for this week, go make your own plastic art, take a picture, and post it with hashtag #myPlasticChallenge. Usually we promise to share your stuff if it's cool. This time it's automatically going to get shared on the myPlasticChallenge site. Creativity is often about problem solving. Today we're asking for your help to solve the problem of plastic pollution by taking the plastic challenge. In other words, don't just make stuff, fix stuff. ♪♪ ♪♪.