Interview: Benjamin Lieber on New Photography Book “Glimpses Into Heaven”

Posted: by The Editor

Benjamin Lieber of Point North released his new photography book titled Glimpses Into Heaven and to celebrate the release, we spoke with him about the process of creating the book, combining your two creative passions in one, and life on the road. Check it out below and be sure to pick up a copy of his new book!

When did you realize you wanted to pursue photography?

– I started touring as a musician when I was sixteen, all over the US; I continued to see many beautiful things every day and felt a desire to start documenting them. My aunt gifted me her 35mm camera and I just started taking photos of things I thought were cool. I sucked for a while; I didn’t really know how to use a camera, but I figured it out eventually. I think learning photography on a manual film camera was essential for me to really become good at it. You literally have to learn, because the image will be lost forever if you don’t. There’s no fixing a messed up film image. I’ve always learned best the hard way and this is no exception. My interest in it are more and more as the touring years went on, I got better and started to realize I had an eye for certain things/there was common themes in my photographs. Once I decided I didn’t wanna work for anyone else anymore, photography seemed like the best option for me to pursue in addition to music.

I find myself falling into editing ruts after a few months of a similar style, what do you do to spark your creativity and keep things fresh when you see yourself in this position?

– I really try not to base my work off of an “editing style” or “color scheme/preset” that is unique to me. It’s all about the idea; what do you see in your head before you even pick up the camera, and how can you use the camera as a tool to make that come to life. I am super inspired by visual artists like Storm Thorgerson who create otherworldly art using cameras, print techniques, and visual deception. Of course I have dry spells; every artist does. Sometimes I have no ideas and it’s frustrating. At those times I find it’s best to go back to what inspired you in the first place; go look at an album cover I love, listen to music I love; there’s nine hundred million ideas out there and if you create you know you easily get inspired by the things you like. Don’t overthink it; those things you like connect with you for a reason, just follow their lead and you’ll make something true to who you are.

Was releasing a book something you wanted to put out for awhile or was it more so a spontaneous idea that materialized quickly?

-I’ve always loved print and the idea of making my own book. I have a big collection of artists books that I admire that I look through often for inspiration. I have been waiting for a bit for the right reason to make a book to come to me, and about halfway through this year I was sifting through my back catalog of photographs, mostly from adventures I’d taken on tour as a musician, and realized the mass of stuff I had that I’d never shared with anyone. It kinda came to a head for me at that moment. There’s all these different parts of my life as an artist, and making a photography book about my adventures as musician made perfect sense on how to wrap it all in a bow. Then came the hard part of going through it all; there’s just so much. I spent the second half of this year working on it; I remember being on tour this summer and telling my friends “I’m trying to do this thing but it’s a ton of work and I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to pull it off” but hey, I rarely ever leave empty promises (one of my biggest pet peeves) so I made it happen.
After you release this book, what would you say is the next milestone or achievement you want to see come to fruition in 2020?

-In 2020, I’d like to tour overseas at least once; it’s been a goal of mine as a musician for a long, long time. I think I’ll start working on the next volume of this book as well; who knows how many years before it will become a real thing, but I might as well start putting imagery away now! Not like I’m gonna stop moving. I think it would be cool to make the next volume of this book not specific to tour photography, but open it up to my personal adventures outside of music as well. As for my photo career working with artists, I’d like to start doing work connected with more notable record labels/work with creative directors on more involved projects. Sometimes I feel like my ideas are too big for the realities of the project I’m working on, but I don’t wanna compromise them. In my personal life, my goal for next year is to stay as present as possible and put more weight & value into the relationships I have!

Was it hard to narrow down the selection of photos for this book? Sometimes when I’m putting a gallery together, I have to stop myself from putting 20 photos of a band in the same post.

-Of course it was hard! I had 5 years worth of photographs to go through haha. I mentioned earlier that I often find common themes in the things I photograph while traveling. When sifting through it all I tried to connect those threads and emphasize the ideas I’ve been chasing over the years.

Was there one photo in particular you took and immediately knew would be your favorite in the book? If so, which one?

-This photograph of a pink tile bathtub has always been my absolute favorite image I’ve taken on tour. It was taken in fall 2017 in Laramie Wyoming in a podunk motel. I just love how simple it is, but speaks so much at the same time.

While touring in a band and as a band’s photographer both have their advantages and disadvantages, which do you think let’s you feel more connected with the show?
-There is no replacing the feeling of playing music on stage. That is an addiction for me and I will never stop chasing it. But, I also really appreciate my artistic friends having that same feeling, and being able to help them achieve it behind the scenes is incredibly rewarding, because I KNOW that feeling and want to do everything I can to help everyone feel it. Because it’s incredible.
Order Glimpses Into Heaven Here

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Kyle Musser//@godvfwine