Ben Heine was born on June 12, 1983 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Heine received a degree in journalism form Brussels in Belgium. He made his Masters' final assignment on the "limits of freedom of speech in political cartoons" Starting as a painter and political cartoonist, he became more widely known in 2011 for his "Pencil vs. Camera”.
The idea of mixing drawing with photography came to him in 2010. Heine says it was the result of a long graphic exploration and logic consequences of his artistic evolution. Ben Heine is able to create iconic faces from history and pop culture by drawing circles of various sizes and colors. In order to give them a dynamic and 3-dimensional appearance" "Pencil vs. Camera" mixes drawing and photography imagination and reality, through illusion and surrealism. In this project, Heine's usually focuses on architecture, portraits and animals. Among many others, the main themes approached in "Pencil vs. Camera" are love and friendship. Heine says: "I just make art for people. I want them to dream and forget their daily troubles. I used to write poems many years ago, I want to convey a poetic meaning into my pictures, each new creation should tell a story and generate an intense emotion, like a poem, like a melody". This series had a large impact on the graphic design community. Heine says the initial idea of this "Pencil vs. Camera" concept came by coincidence while he was writing a letter. Some of his "Pencil vs. Camera" creations have also been related to optical illusions.
Ben Heine’s “Pencil vs. Camera” is a relatively new idea that is certain to grow and catch the eye of other artist/photographers. I think Heine is an amazing contemporary photographer because he came up with his own type of photography instead of taking traditional pictures like other photographers in this day and age. I look forward to his method of photographer to become more popular and I hope he receives the acclaim he deserves for his creativity. His “Pencil vs. Camera” has got me very interested, and I might try and make my project a series of “Pencil vs. Camera” photos.