It starts with a real photograph, then a simple semi-realistic pencil drawing … and then the magic happens. The recombination of the two is strangely compelling in a way that neither work could hope to be on its own – even the most generic still life or landscape setting comes alive in new ways through this surreal hybridization, a creative whole out of two relatively conventional artistic media.
In the start of his ‘Pencil versus Camera’ series, Benjamin Heine first overlayed his own simplified pencil sketches on top the real settings from which they were drawn – then simply tore out his work and shoot a pictures of it. An easy enough process, but with surprisingly thought-provoking results.
However, the fun does not quite stop there: in some of his more fanciful works, he takes the liberty of layering other subjects onto the original settings – creating scenes that are humorous, thoughtful and entertaining with everything from mannequins that come to life to dinosaurs and fictional creatures.
Whether his subjects be real or imagined, the effect is like looking through a surreal filter – a real-life, fun house mirror-style Photoshop-worthy device in the innocent form of a ragged sheet of white drawing paper.
“Pencil Vs Camera is an original visual concept mixing drawing and photo invented and popularized by Ben Heine since April 2010. A new art form and the artist’s special trademark, it is also one of the most creative and powerful art concepts of the 21st century. Heine does not recreate photographs, but he reimagines them. In these images, he likes to tell a story and convey timeless messages using imagination, illusion, poetry and surrealism. His work is powered by a fearless positivity. An already beautiful-looking photo is enhanced with a sketch that adds a splash of satire and whimsy. The Pencil Vs Camera concept has also become popular in schools worldwide.”