Michael Benson

Michael Benson's work focuses on the intersection of art and science. His fifth book for Abrams, Cosmographics, came out in October 2014. A photographer, writer, filmmaker, book-designer, and exhibitions producer, in the last decade he has staged a series of increasingly large-scale exhibitions of planetary landscape photography in the US and internationally, including a 148-print, seven-room show at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington from 2010-11. Benson takes raw data from NASA and European Space Agency archives and processes it. He edits, composites, and mosaics individual spacecraft frames, producing seamless large-format digital C prints of landscapes currently beyond direct human experience. Benson is also an award-winning filmmaker, with work that straddles the line between fiction and documentary film practice. In Predictions of Fire and other films, staged studio scenes and even animated sequences alternate with straight documentary material. Benson recently worked with director Terrence Malick to help produce space and cosmology sequences for Malick's film Tree of Life, which drew in part from Benson's book and exhibition projects. The film won the Palm d'Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. His work was also incorporated in Patricio Guzman's 2011 film Nostalgia for theLight. As a writer Benson has contributed feature articles and photographs to many magazines, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Smithsonian, and Rolling Stone, and he's also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune, and other newspapers, including many Op-Ed pieces. His 2003 article for The New Yorker on NASA's mission to Jupiter, "What Galileo Saw," was reprinted in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2004 (HarperCollins, September 2004) and subsequently The Best of Best American Science Writing (HarperCollins, April 2010). Benson's limited edition fine art photography is represented in the US by the Hasted Kraeutler Gallery in New York. His last show in that gallery, titled Planetfall, was on view from January to March 2013. Benson's next project, Nanocosmos: Visions of Inner Space, will use a scanning electron microscope to focus on natural design at sub-millimeter scales. Benson is currently a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Media Lab.

 

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