At age 23, Benjamin captured his first internationally recognized image: “Elements”. He focused on one fascinating section of a geothermal pool, where colorful minerals floated in a serpentine line on top of bright cobalt water. The resulting abstract fine art photo was a totally new genre for him. Comfortable with landscape, wildlife, and black-and-white photography, he recognized abstraction as an additional way to combine his skill and creative vision and engage people in the natural world. Though his hometown audience gave Elements a lukewarm reception, he understood the power of the piece. He submitted it to the Natural History Museum of London, which displayed it in 2006 and then included it in the European Wild Planet touring exhibit that was featured at the Olympic Games in 2012. Convinced of their power, Benjamin has since added numerous natural abstracts to his archive. By focusing on a few specific and distinguishing details of a subject, he simplifies nature and illuminates aspects that might otherwise go unnoticed.
“For me, there was always immense wonder in the details of nature—the ripples in a particular stream, the way the light bounced off the leaves of a tree. As I worked to portray the elements of nature I was passionate about, this new abstract category of images emerged slowly and organically. I was never really encouraged by friends or family when I produced one of my abstract images, but I continued anyway, so this very much became ‘my genre’ and ‘my passion.’”