bensasso bensasso

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Ben Sasso  PHOTOGRAPHER • EDUCATOR • WRITER Art what you feel. - Presets (LR & ACR): @HeckYeahPresets Classes, Presets, & Work:

Humanity is grainy.
We’re all packed with flickering little specks of light and dark.
Peppered with fluctuations of kindness and aggression like rambunctious static on a rickety old TV.
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Fuji Klasse & Ilford Delta / scanned by @indiefilmlab
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Questions are always welcome! Duh.
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#makeportraits #portraitcollective #lookslikefilm #schonmagazine #avengetheskies #shootfilmmag #chasinglight #visualcoop #tellon #ftwotw #onfilm #naturallight #chasinglight #humanedge #loveauthentic #filmpalette #aovportraits #watchthisinstagood #quietthechaos #naturallight #portraitpage #expofilm #analogvibes #staybrokeshootfilm #fujiklasse #filmisnotdead #deepfeelingsmp #portraitgames #agameoftones

I’ve often told photographers that the quickest way to learn is to do. Study, but also do.
Shoot, edit, play.
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I’m currently working to improve a new skill (music) and I’m feeling even more solidified in that advice. As I’m studying guitar, music theory, and creative writing, I’m noticing that the most expansive growth happens when I sit down and do.
When I play music.
When I do writing exercises.
Sure, the studying is wildly important, but without putting those things into practice, I don’t think much would change.
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If you’re hoping to improve in anything, commit to the doing part.
It might feel like you’re just playing, but isn’t it beautiful that something that feels like play might just be the best way to grow?
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Fuji Klasse & Portra 400
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Questions are always welcome! Duh.
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#makeportraits #portraitcollective #lookslikefilm #photographyislifee #canon #thatsdarling #chasinglight #visualcoop #tellon #ftwotw #canon #naturallight #chasinglight #loveauthentic #filmpalette #belovedstories #watchthisinstagood #quietthechaos #naturallight #portraitpage #expofilm #bravogreatphoto #featuremeseas #ftmedd #deepfeelingsmp #l0tsabraids

Empathy.
A hand ready to be filled with the stones of someone else’s hardships so they don’t have to carry them alone.
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It’s a trait that I’ve heard some suggest they just don’t have, but I don’t believe that it’s a got-it or don’t-got-it kind of thing.
I think it can be learned.
Practiced.
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I think that if we take the time to wipe the dust off of our deeply buried selves, we might find that empathy has been waiting underneath it all along.
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Empathy doesn’t have to be precise.
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You might be unable to understand what someone is feeling in their specific circumstances if you’ve never experienced them yourself, but you don’t need to. Try a broader perspective.
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Say a stranger just moved to a new city.
A bustling metropolis lined with people, but none that this newcomer can call a friend. They might feel an energy-sapping loneliness cementing their mind into a rut.
You might not be able to empathize with that specific feeling, but through your common humanity, you can understand the underlying things that all humans feel.
The things you’ve felt directly your entire life.
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Your understanding of happiness and the lack of it, in its most general sense, is enough.
If you’ve ever felt unhappy, you know what it’s like to be unhappy.
This is enough for empathy.
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A general understanding of the human condition is all that you need to lend a genuinely empathetic ear.
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If you can understand the human condition enough to recognize general unhappiness, you can ask with understanding, “How can I help?”
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Fuji Klasse & @cinestillfilm / scanned by @indiefilmlab
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Questions are always welcome! Duh.
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#makeportraits #portraitcollective #lookslikefilm #schonmagazine #avengetheskies #shootfilmmag #chasinglight #visualcoop #tellon #ftwotw #onfilm #naturallight #chasinglight #humanedge #loveauthentic #filmpalette #aovportraits #watchthisinstagood #quietthechaos #naturallight #portraitpage #expofilm #analogvibes #staybrokeshootfilm #fujiklasse #filmisnotdead #deepfeelingsmp #portraitgames #agameoftones

Yesterday I shared a caption about how our conditioned responses to things can steer us towards a more judgemental way of interacting with the world and I had some great discussions in the comments. One conversation in particular highlighted the importance of illustrating how our evolutionary conditioning causes us to judge the world around us, and how we can work to see the world without those tints of judgement.
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Conditioning happens though society, and evolution.
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Societal conditioning happens because whatever society we're born into effects the way our brain develops.
If we're born into a society where sex is taboo, we'd be more likely to feel shame about our sexual desires, and more likely to hide them.
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Evolutionary conditioning happens because life's ultimate goal is to live and pass on genes.
An evolutionary instinct to be repulsed by the smell of poop is a good one because it forces us to keep our distance from something that could make us sick, but it also tricks us.
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We don’t have to be repulsed by poop to know that it’s potentially dangerous.
Evolution has deluded us into instinctively thinking poop is gross, but it isn’t.
It’s just potentially unsafe.
Rats, not gross. Just potentially unsafe.
Roaches, not gross. Just potentially unsafe.
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The reason this distinction is important is because it allows us to see things more clearly.
Imagine seeing the world without instinctively casting judgement on it.
We can address a health threat without being repulsed by it.
Imagine seeing a spider without being violently afraid of it, or seeing a roach with kind intention instead of disgust.
Imagine interacting with the world in a way that doesn’t leave us at the mercy of the violent ocean of evolutionary conditioning.
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Questions and discussions are always welcome! Duh.

We get pretty stuck in our ways. Stuck in the wet mud of stigma and conditioning.
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When’s the last time you called a cat cute?
When was the last time you smiled at a puppy?
What about a rat?
A roach?
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Humans have a tendency to categorize things. To label one thing worthy of our admiration, and another barely even deserving of our disgust.
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Every living thing on the planet has two simple goals:
Find pleasure.
Avoid suffering.
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We’re unified in that.
The cat, the dog, the rat, and the roach.
All seeking pleasure and trying to avoid suffering.
Just like I do.
Just like we all do.
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Strip down the shells that we’re all born into, and we might find that we actually don’t look very different.
Remove the costumes we so instinctually label as worthy of our admiration or disgust, and we might find that our common goals color us all in the same shade.
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Any automatic response is a conditioned response.
“Ew! A roach!”
“Aw! A cat!”
What did that roach ever do to disgust you, other than exist?
What did that cat do to earn your admiration, other than exist?
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Free yourself from conditioned responses and you might find that you can be accepting to all.
That you can offer the same loving intention to the cat, dog, rat, and roach.
To all, regardless of whatever conditioning has clouded your mind in the past.
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Fuji Klasse & Portra / scanned by @indiefilmlab
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Questions are always welcome! Duh.
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#makeportraits #portraitcollective #lookslikefilm #schonmagazine #avengetheskies #shootfilmmag #chasinglight #visualcoop #tellon #ftwotw #onfilm #naturallight #chasinglight #humanedge #loveauthentic #filmpalette #aovportraits #watchthisinstagood #quietthechaos #naturallight #portraitpage #expofilm #analogvibes #staybrokeshootfilm #fujiklasse #filmisnotdead #deepfeelingsmp #portraitgames #agameoftones

Life comes in all sizes.
Mice.
Whales.
Algae.
Bacteria.
People.
Redwoods.
There are living things so small that we can’t even fathom their size. Some of these things are even living in us. Human bodies are only 43% human cells. The rest of us is a community of bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc.
We know we can’t see them with our limited sense of sight, but we also can’t even mentally grasp just how small they actually are.
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Are there living things on the other side of that spectrum?
Things so large we can’t even fathom them?
Are we living in one of them?
What’s happening?
Should I be worried? Asking for a friend.
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Fuji Klasse & @cinestillfilm / Scanned by @indiefilmlab
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Questions are always welcome! Duh.
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#makeportraits #portraitcollective #lookslikefilm #photographyislifee #canon #thatsdarling #chasinglight #visualcoop #tellon #ftwotw #canon #naturallight #chasinglight #loveauthentic #filmpalette #belovedstories #watchthisinstagood #quietthechaos #naturallight #portraitpage #expofilm #bravogreatphoto #featuremeseas #ftmedd #deepfeelingsmp #l0tsabraids

Look up for a moment. Point that beautiful face of yours up towards whatever's in front of you, and let your eyes relax into a wide gaze.
One where you're noticing everything around, but only loosely.
Like hearing music from a different room.
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Now find something large, and direct your minds attention towards it.
Maybe a tree.
Notice the tree. That big old singular thing.
After you've spent a moment with the spotlight of your attention narrowed onto the tree, narrow it a bit more and pick a single branch to direct your focus towards.
Notice what that narrowing of attention feels like.
Narrow it a bit more, pick a leaf on the branch.
Notice how sharp it can become, to the point where the leaf doesn't even exist because your attention has narrowed to its color.
That poignant green.
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Humans are imbued with this ability. To narrow the spotlight of our attention. To point our awareness at an entire scene, or to narrow it to a single point of focus.
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This ability sometimes flicks on all by itself during those disorienting tangles of aggressive emotion.
When anger takes over, our attention tends to instinctively narrow into pin prick.
When grief strikes, our mind stares at it through a microscope.
An atom beam of light bearing into the thing that's troubling us.
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This instinct, when it happens without our intention, can feel less like a narrowing of attention and more like blinders. The trick is to notice the blinders when they begin to restrict our view of the bigger picture.
There's always more to look at, and the wider we gaze, the less we might feel taken over by our momentary, individual perspectives.
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Edited with @HeckYeahPresets
5D IV + 24L II
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Questions are always welcome! Duh.
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#makeportraits #portraitcollective #lookslikefilm #photographyislifee #canon #thatsdarling #chasinglight #visualcoop #tellon #ftwotw #canon #naturallight #chasinglight #loveauthentic #filmpalette #belovedstories #watchthisinstagood #quietthechaos #naturallight #portraitpage #expofilm #bravogreatphoto #featuremeseas #ftmedd #deepfeelingsmp #l0tsabraids

A few nights ago, I had a dream about a horse.
It laid on the ground in front of me in its simplified, neither dead or alive dream body as I watched a stranger walk towards it.
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The person asked me “Is this a horse?”
I said “yes” (seemed obvious).
Then the person shaved the horse, and walked away.
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Another wander approached with the same question, “Is this a horse?”
“Yep.”
Then they cut off one of its hooves, and carried it away.
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Then another person. “Is this a horse?”
Yep.
Another piece stolen. This time, it’s skin.
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This happened over and over. Piece by piece, limb by limb, organ by organ, “Is this a horse” by “Is this a horse?”
Eventually I didn’t know quite how to answer. I didn’t know if it was still a horse, or just a bunch of stuff on the floor.
Is a horse still a horse without its hair?
Its skin?
Its legs?
Its organs?
Its body?
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I became less sure every time I answered until I had to concede that it couldn’t be.
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What am I? How much of myself would have to fall away before I’m something different? Am I always a sum of my parts, or am I just parts?
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Fuji Klasse & Portra / scanned by @indiefilmlab
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Questions are always welcome! Duh.
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#makeportraits #portraitcollective #lookslikefilm #schonmagazine #avengetheskies #shootfilmmag #chasinglight #visualcoop #tellon #ftwotw #onfilm #naturallight #chasinglight #humanedge #loveauthentic #filmpalette #aovportraits #watchthisinstagood #quietthechaos #naturallight #portraitpage #expofilm #analogvibes #staybrokeshootfilm #fujiklasse #filmisnotdead #deepfeelingsmp #portraitgames #agameoftones

I’ve spent the last week blanketed in solitude in the middle of the desert while @katchsilva was shooting in NYC. I haven’t seen another human in a week, and I’m excited as butts to see my favorite one when she gets back tonight.
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Fuji Klasse / Scanned by @indiefilmlab
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Questions are always welcome. Duh.
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#makeportraits #portraitcollective #lookslikefilm #schonmagazine #avengetheskies #shootfilmmag #chasinglight #visualcoop #tellon #ftwotw #onfilm #naturallight #chasinglight #humanedge #loveauthentic #filmpalette #aovportraits #watchthisinstagood #quietthechaos #naturallight #portraitpage #expofilm #analogvibes #staybrokeshootfilm #fujiklasse #filmisnotdead #deepfeelingsmp #portraitgames #agameoftones

When we latch on to things, to the point where their absence would cause us suffering, we guarantee suffering.
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The nature of the mind, the body, the organism of the earth, and the cosmos is constant transience. Nothing is permanent.
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Your health will fluctuate.
Your income could disappear.
Your joy may fade.
Your grief may dissolve.
Your body will change.
Your friends may come and go.
Everything changes. Constantly.
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A desire to hold onto any single thing is a denial of reality, and a clear path towards fear, and disappointment. Without this desire, the fear of losing the things we love no longer distracts us from appreciating the things we love.
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Appreciate what’s here while it’s here.
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Fuji Klasse & Portra / scanned by @indiefilmlab
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Questions are always welcome! Duh.
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#makeportraits #portraitcollective #lookslikefilm #schonmagazine #avengetheskies #shootfilmmag #chasinglight #visualcoop #tellon #ftwotw #onfilm #naturallight #chasinglight #humanedge #loveauthentic #filmpalette #aovportraits #watchthisinstagood #quietthechaos #naturallight #portraitpage #expofilm #analogvibes #staybrokeshootfilm #fujiklasse #filmisnotdead #deepfeelingsmp #portraitgames #agameoftones

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