Ben Bloom

I’m a self taught Film Photographer and Creative Director currently living in Raglan, New Zealand. After working in advertising for years while shooting photography on the side, I’ve switched my focus to pursue more directing and photo-driven work.

I walk backwards into the future with my eyes fixed on my past

In March, I came to New Zealand after the passing of my best friend. I wanted to see the place she had spent the four months before her death and meet the people she was surrounded by. Like most of the world, New Zealand went into lockdown briefly after I arrived, leaving me without a flight home and a mandatory stay-at-home order for a few months. In that time, I was able to become incredibly intimate with the small community where she had been during her last days. 

Unlike western culture, the Indiginous Maori people maintain a close relationship with death and the afterlife. Passing-on is a positive affair, often celebrated and embraced. The saying, “I walk backwards into the future with my eyes fixed on my past” talks about the idea of time being non-linear — existing in both the past, present, and future. You exist in the past through those who have passed, in the present through the living, and in the future through what will be. There was something deeply pertinent about this idea of time being a continuous, cosmic movement. 

With this idea, I began photographing my everyday life here. Focusing on things that felt present and timeful, along with things that spoke to the past and the future. Feeling a strong presence from my friend who had passed, I faced my own avoidance and anxiety around the topic and began photographing things that reminded me of her. 

After some time here, I didn’t feel the same sense of weight around this idea of death — if anything I started to see it all more clearly. These photographs are a documentation of a new perspective, brought to light by a devastating event and the balance of the unknown. 

To view more of Ben Bloom’s work please visit their website.