the Blog
Derk's Works Photo Blog

What If \\ Film


February 2013 – Dominican Republic \\ What If Conference


( I like making people laugh with me for photos because it is an easily accessible way to get really close to someone.

The following laughs are real, but they were also slightly contrived. )


  1. That image of Jenny and Josh blows my mind!!!!! These are all so great!! Miss you guys fiercely. xoxox

The Oscars \\ no second place

oscar night



Hasselblad 500C \\ I got some film back today, more of a blog on that soon to come, but I wanted to post this photo today along with this thought that I have been encouraged to be mulling over; there is peace, kindness and beauty in each moment. I’m looking forward to spending some time this weekend doing nothing more than enjoying some moments. Happy weekend friends.

I Love Your Dishes



A very happy Valentine’s Day to the most amazing, beautiful, and kind woman I know. I’m so glad I married you. -benj

  1. jennifer

    I will always cherish the moment and memory of you reading this to me. I love your heart. I love you. (Ok getting too sappy for a blog comment)


What If \\ Returned with Passion



Last week I spent the week with an amazing group of people committed to challenging and encouraging each other, as artists, to move off of any sort of stagnant plateaus we may have paused on, and lean into making our stupid ideas a reality. I realized that many of my ideas (let’s not fool ourselves though… NOT all of them) had far more merit than I had wanted to admit and just needed a call to action. I received that call and reminder to passionate living last week and I am honored and humbled to be able to share as much of my thoughts and heart with you as you are willing to read. If you look at my blog for just pretty images, I welcome you to continue, but I feel the need to warn you that it is my job as an artist to engage you far more deeply than that. The world we live in trains people to be zombies, moving from one day to the next in passive routine waiting for their retirement years to do something great. I believe that we are called to action NOW and that it is a disservice to our creator to do anything less that what He calls us to accomplish. I have sold myself short to myself by repeating the idea that “I want to be known as a photographer and a designer of beautiful things”. Not that I don’t want that, because I do. My passion is far greater though, my calling is to be an encourager. It is my heartfelt desire to make that subtle shift in this blog. I will most certainly continue to share my photographic work, but not exclusively. I want to be vulnerable, honest, real, truthful… that is where I must live in order to satisfy that calling.

I am a photographer, true, but I also write some pretty unpolished and non-rhyming poetry. I am a bad speller. I draw out my thoughts. I prefer pen and paper. I commit right now, to whoever is reading this, to publish these thoughts in an effort to let you into my mind…. And hopefully, find some truth and beauty that will give you courage. I step forward to you not with my own courage but from the loving support of some of my new friends (Steve and Jen, Josh and Jenny, Richie and Natalie, and Jonas) to whom I am exceedingly grateful.

It is at this crossroad of authenticity, artistic being, and a desire to be the best photographer I can be that I can be, that I share with you what I LOVE to photograph… and I assure you, it is not those among us that are living zombies.


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Love for each other.


Love for the details.


Love for the celebration.

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The meaning of being whole.


The meaning of potential growth.


The meaning of community.

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Passion despite great risk.

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Passion in the process.

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Passion for their dream. \\ (side bar) This is Steve and Jen. It was their passionate dream that took me away to the Dominican Republic last week, filled me with courage, introduced me to the joy of these children (another post on that coming soon), and dropped me back off in Columbus, Ohio to fulfill a dream of my own. (you’ll hear more about them… to be sure!) \\

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You are what you eat. As you think about that type of person, it is my sincere desire that you would be able to see me striving to live in that fullness of love, with great depth of meaning, as I look each day fresh in the eye to see what beauty lies in store.


I yearn for THAT to be the passion of me.

  1. Jessica

    Benjamin! I love everything about this post and I can not WAIT to see what you have in store for not only yourself, but the world! So happy and thankful to have met you and your beautiful wife in the beautiful Dominican!

  2. This is AWESOME! Thanks so much for sharing your insights and passion. Love it.

  3. Steve

    Good post. I like it. It did me good to read this. I need to DO more. Also, I need an ax. Do you know where I could get one?

  4. love love love this. i don’t want to be a zombie!!
    also, i think you should show us some pictures of your what if notebook. i have a feeling it’s chock full of beautiful stuff.

  5. what a wonderful collection of thoughts and images. glad to call you a friend and increase my wolf pack!

  6. This was wonderful to read and so refreshing and inspiring — thanks, Ben! Looking forward to seeing it all play out and learning more about your recent trip!

  7. Absolutely beautiful; the images and the words. You truly rock, my friend!

  8. Brilliant, Derks. Just what I needed this morning.

What If \\ Finding Inspiration

This week we’re heading to Punta Cana to find artistic inspiration with the awesome folks of What If!
We’ll keep you posted, but I have no doubt that it will be AWESOME.