The Boy in the Wild Orchard
A Review by Bastien Communi
Ben couldn’t have chosen a better title for this body of work. After diving into the book, every word in this sentence – and the ones hidden in the blank spaces – make absolute sense. The project, as much as the title, functions as a complex and sensorial metaphor for existence and the lessons it carries.
Childhood certainly is a deeply important topic in this work. There is an omnipresent confrontation between youth and adulthood. In these confrontations, the teacher and the learner often exchange roles. Ben reminisces on his own childhood, his evolution and, at the same time, explores his kid’s childhood through the spectrum of parenthood. The work reminds us that anyone or anything can be a teacher if one opens their heart and soul to it. One of the dominant themes I perceived was the idea of legacy, of transmission. Whether it is a handprint in the mud, a child, or a fruitful orchard, what do we leave behind us? What is
our legacy as artists, as creatives, as beings?
The considerable presence of animals brings the viewer back to its original nature, to the essence of our venue on this planet.
The artist invites us to see existence as an orchard, a parcel that one needs to take care of, in order for trees to grow. It reminded me that life is what you make of it. If you pay close attention, take care of it and give it time and space, it will somehow become fruitful. The work points to the inevitable aggregate of joy and suffering that life possesses. The exquisite universal duality that, in the large scheme of things, balances itself out. The use of black and white film intensifies that feeling of duality but also brings light to all the different shades of gray. The (evident) teachers and tutors that appear in these photographs, usually are in the making of something. This act as a gentle reminder of the importance of doing things yourself, of craftsmanship, of running your fingers into the ground.
One of the first images that come to mind while thinking back on this book is the photograph of a sinuous road seen from above and making its way through the land. Just like one makes their way through life, taking unexpected turns and not knowing where this path leads. Some will say it is an eerie picture while some will see it as joyful. It conveys this strange and perfectly balanced feeling, simultaneously showing anxiety and hope.
Just like this book.
Just like life.
There is a significant amount of hints and symbols evoking death. Not in a fearful way but rather with a welcoming approach, showing death as an accepted fact, a beautiful fatality. And even if, in the large scheme of things, nothing lasts and nothing matters in the long run, “The Boy in the Wild Orchard” reminds us that at least we meant something to each other.
Purchase Ben Scott-Killian’s “The Boy in the Wild Orchard” here
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