When I was little, my father would pretend to transform into various beasts and monsters. Before the ritual would begin, he would raise his lip, revealing wolf-like canines. Overcome by a primal aggression, he would grasp his face in agony, but just before losing control, he would catch himself. However, he always promised that next time, may not be the same.

Growing up, I was fearful of most things.

As an adult, I experienced instances of violence and public harassment and have turned to image-making to heal. Using photography as a tool, I confront spaces that haunt my psyche and, in the process, take ownership over feeling safe.

After the Embers Burn and Die, is an ongoing body of work inspired by my father’s stories and teachings. He emphasized the sacredness of the land, teaching me of animism, spirituality, and myth, which I reference as I distort and dislocate the natural world.

Investigating themes of the liminal, mysticism, identity, and death, I create a space that lives in ambiguity. It is familiar yet still foreign, a constructed reality that visualizes my deepest desires and greatest fears.

To see more work by Jake Benzinger, visit - Website / Instagram