Meet Ben Timmins– DC urbanite, political enthusiast, and experimenting photographer. His sharp images first caught our eye when we featured him in Through the Lens earlier this month. After exploring the many areas of DC through Ben’s eyes, we decided it was time to find out more about the man behind the camera.
1. Photography is a relatively new endeavor for you. What inspired you to explore this creative outlet?
I think it came from a place of self-exploration. I had always been fascinated by photography, ever since I took a class in college. About 8 months ago I saw a random video on YouTube of this amazing photographer and the work he put out and thought to myself, “I want to try and learn how to do this.” From there it became this real passion about learning as much as I can about composition, light, lenses, cameras, post processing and other tools used in photography, and now all of a sudden I have this really fun and challenging outlet for the creative side of my personality; something I don’t really get at my day job.
2. Why did you choose DC as a career city?
Well, speaking of my other interest, I’ve been working in politics since I was 21. I interned on Capitol Hill during college, absolutely fell in love with this city and knew I would make it back someday. So after a 2 year stint working in my home state I came down to DC for graduate school and have been enjoying it ever since. It just so happens that DC is also one of the most unique and beautiful cities to photograph.
3. What catches your eye when you are taking photos in DC?
I always look for an interesting subject with really good light, I think light is what makes photography come alive. I’ll ask myself if this subject or scene is interesting, and would it make someone say “wow, I want to go to that place” or “what a cool story it tells”. But even more to the point, I’m so new to photography and I have so much to experience, right now I’m just enjoying the process of learning, figuring out things and making something that I’d be proud to hang on my wall and look at every day.
4. What is something in DC that you’ve been wanting to explore/ take advantage of?
I really want to photograph the National Arboretum. The park has very specific hours so it makes it difficult to get there when the light is right, but it’s on my list. I’ve never photographed around DC during the Fall months so I’m really excited to get to all of my favorite spots in the coming weeks/months to see what I see. I’d also love to go and shoot at the old McMillan Sand Filtration site, but it’s closed to the public and only holds tours a few times during the year. I’ll have to wait and see if I get lucky with that one.
5. A 2016 presidential candidate hits you up and wants to hang out for a day. Who is it and what are you guys doing?
Tough question, but it would have to be Bernie Sanders. He’s the only presidential candidate who has put out a folk music album and that right there is all the reason you need. Plus he’s been in DC for almost 30 years so he probably has some great stories. I’d want to grab lunch then ask him for a behind the scenes tour of the Capitol (with the agreement that I can bring my camera of course.) where I can ask him any question my politically-nerdy mind can conjure up. I wouldn’t want to take up too much of his time; he’s got to get back on the campaign trail.