Ben Heine: Pencil Vs Camera!



The moment I found this dump, I drew a sketch to convey what we are doing to our environment. I almost burnt my own fingers in the process! Photograph/Ben Heine

The moment I found this dump, I drew a sketch to convey what we are doing to our environment. I almost burnt my own fingers in the process! Photograph/Ben Heine

Visual creator Ben Heine integrates imaginative sketches with real-world photographs in a unique endeavour to combine two arts and create a whole new world.

My Assignment

  • Description
    To create a world where reality meets imagination, by using drawing and photography.
  • Duration
    An ongoing project that I started a year ago.
  • Notes
    The possibilities are endless. If you cannot draw, you can even place a photo inside a photo!

Both photography and art are close to my heart. As a photographer and artist, I have always been interested in stretching the boundaries of the medium. How do I take my sketches to a different level, and attempt something that has not been explored too often? Alternatively, can I hit upon a photography concept that is distinct and unique?

My Perspective
I slowly started thinking about how I could combine these two ardent passions of mine. This was when I hit upon the idea for the Pencil Vs Camera series.
This is very similar to the concept of a world inside another world, something that we can only dream of and imagine. It is where photography meets drawing, reality meets imagination, and the world outside says hello to the world inside my head.

The Process
Mixing a drawing and a photo is actually quite simple. I first make a drawing on a small white piece of paper. Then, I hold the paper in front of the scene that matches the sketch, and take a picture of my hand holding the paper.
However, there have been times that I have experimented with other techniques. One can take photograph of a scene and make a really large print. Then, one can do the sketch and place it in front of the print. Alternatively, one can combine the sketch and photo digitally as well.
Travelling inside your imagination is always exciting. I enjoy shooting portraits, animals and pictures of things I love. In fact, this series is a lot about love and friendship. My hand is always visible in the pictures, and that emphasises an intimate connect between the viewer and the scene.
I always try to draw things that are connected with the background. However, an added twist comes through when I play with the elements and use my imagination.
Of course, if you wish to try something similar, you can try tweaking the idea a little. The sketches can be in colour, or if you do not know how to draw, you can even take a photographic print and place it within the scene!
I am sure that most people like this work, no matter what language they speak or culture they follow. It is something that speaks to child inside us. Most importantly, it allows us to dream endlessly.

To Try A Similar Body of Work



  • Look at The World: Take inspiration from the world around you. You can play with scenes you pass by everyday, or people you know.
  • Have a Sense of Humour: Besides storytelling sketches, photographs that make the viewer smile are those that work best.
  • Keep it Simple: The best ideas are often the simplest ones you can do.



This article originally appeared in the June 2011 issue of Better Photography.

To see more of Ben’s mind boggling work, you can visit

Tags: Composition, June 2011, art, funny, ben heine