The Rise of Ben Schonberger
After being told by his high school art teacher that he was not good enough to become a photographer, Ben Schonberger decided that he was going to prove his teacher wrong.
Schonberger vigorously began creating artwork ranging from documentary photography stories about important people like retired police officers and Detroit’s law enforcers, to three-dimensional images place into carved glass structures and prints on giant canvas’s that many people came to admire.
The result has seen Schonberger not only become an award-winning photographer and artist, but achieving an assistant professorship at Point Park University where he hopes to inspire and educate future photographers with his work.
“I think my work can be an example to my students. I hope that they can see how much time and effort it takes to create compelling work,” Ben said.
Ben is a dedicated artist, who works with photography. He became interested in photography after taking photography classes at Heritage High School in Leesburg, Virginia. Eventually, he would move on to study photography at Shepard University, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree. While working as a photographer and creating his own projects like Beautiful Pig, Ben was furthering his education at Cranebrook Academy. There he would receive his Master’s Degree in Photography.
Soon enough, Ben had finished creating his project, Beautiful Pig. A two-year photography project documenting a Detroit Police Officers, named Marty Gaynor, and his experiences in the line of duty. Beautiful Pig was quick to gain audiences and win awards like the Mercedes-Benz Emerging Artist award, David Robinson award, and even earn him interviews in news stories by Hyperallergic. Most notably, Beautiful Pig lead Ben to win the internationally acclaimed FOAM Talent award. An award given to very few artists by the FOAM Gallery in Amsterdam.
Photo from David Dupont
Ben’s students at Point Park University have been blown away by all the effort he has put into his work.
"I couldn’t imagine working on a project for as long as Ben did for Beautiful Pig. Two years on a single project takes the dedication that I don’t see in other artists,” Tyler Caplin, a student of Ben’s, said.
As students get a chance to learn from Ben, they begin to find out what it takes to create compelling photography like he has.
“Ben has really made us look at our photography critically and take time on our work so that we can create the best work possible,” Selena Hurst said.
Meanwhile, other photographers like Zach Szabo, who also teaches photography at Point Park could see how dedicated Ben is to perfecting his craft.
“I think that the time and work Ben put into creating his work really helped Ben find out how to create successful work that he has create,” Zach Szabo said.
In the future, Ben plans to accomplish more goals. Not only does he want to become an archived artist for the Society of Photographic Educators. But, he also wants to move into integrating his photography with other mediums like sculpture.
With all the notoriety, awards and achievements Ben has earned over the years, Ben can sit back and laugh at the time when his high school art teacher told him he should give up art.