What is Mojo-Zen?

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Mojo-Zen is the collected ramblings of zoologist and cultural explorer, Will Benson.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

The hidden world of seeds

These incredible images were taken using an SEM by Millennium Seed Bank seed morphologist Wolfgang Stuppy. They show some of the incredible microscopic structures that facilitate their dispersal, such as hooks to grab on to passing animals and fine hairs and air cushions to aid wind dispersal.

'Kingdom of Plants: A Journey Through Their Evolution' - a book by Will Benson

Although a zoologist by education I seem to have spent a rather disproportionally large amount of my time recently focusing on the lives of the botanical world. Well not being someone to do things by half, after finishing my work on Kingdom of Plants for Sky 3D last year I set about writing the accompanying book.

The book, entitled Kingdom of Plants: A Journey Through Their Evolution, is an exploration of the diversity of Earth's rich plant life. Its 256 pages and over 200 colour photographs tell the tales of the most bizarre and beautiful forms of floral life, the incredible ways they shape the environments they live in, and just how fundamental they are to the survival of our own species.

Finally after 4 months of researching, writing, editing, sourcing images and re-writing, I'm very pleased to say that the book is now published with Harper Collins and ready for you to feast your eyes upon. Available from Amazon / Waterstones / iTunes. I'm especially thrilled to announce that BBC Wildlife magazine selected it as 'book of the month' in their July 2012 issue.


Monday, 9 April 2012

A year in the Kingdom of Plants

I've been away from the blog-o-sphere for far too long, so I return with tales of the last 16 months spent working on Sky 3D's 'Kingdom of Plants 3D'. This of course is Sky's latest three-part 3D extravaganza all about the wonders of plants, presented by Sir David Attenborough.

Filmed predominantly in the grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the series explores the marvels of the botanical world, in breath-taking 3D. As the series researcher I had the fabulous task of poking around behind the scenes at the gardens, discovering stories of incredible orchids and awesome carnivorous plants, as well as the wealth of expert knowledge that maintains Kew's status as one of the world's premier botanical gardens.

Directed by Martin Williams and shot by Tim Cragg, Kingdom of Plants 3D sees the gardens and nurseries at Kew transformed into a hyper-real world of rich colours, exploding pollen grains and previously unseen interactions between insects and plants. Mesmerising time lapse footage, shot by the legend that is Tim Shepherd and the immensely talented Rob Hollingworth, creates some of the most enchanting footage of plants ever captured on film - although I may be biased.

The series will air or Sky 3D in May, with an IMAX release set for later in the year. Here's a little taster for you.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The colour of sound

To coincide with the launch of their latest Pimax printer, Canon has brought together a crack-team of photographers, biochemists and sound engineers to work on their ad campaign, and the results are reallystunning.

You thought Sony's bouncyballs were special - wait until you see this!

This short film shows the amazing photographic techniques that the team used to produce and film the mesmerisingly 'sound-sculptures' of slow-motion, macro, dancing colour droplets seen in the advert.

Lovely music too.

Canon Pixma: Bringing colour to life from Dentsu London on Vimeo.

Back on Terra-firma

After an incredible three months filming in Zambia, this young cultural explorer has now returned to the wintry weather of London, England.

However I’m not going to moan about the cold and wet, and throngs of Christmas shoppers cluttering up the pavements, but simply say that it’s great to be back, and great to be getting my teeth stuck into some exciting new projects involving lots of lovely Science, Film and Music.

I’m also very pleased that my return to the UK coincided with the release of David Attenborough’s latest book, First Life, that I had a part in researching and editing. I won’t get any royalties from you buying it, but you will be able to find my name in very small print in the acknowledgments – every little helps.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Dreike Scholarship Fund

Another charity project that I've been lucky enough to get involved with out in Zambia, is the Dreike Scholarship Fund.

The main aim of the fund is to help communities living around wildlife reserves and national parks, by sponsoring children through education, who without assistance would otherwise be unable to attend school. As well as the children I filmed here in Zambia, the fund also helps children in Rwanda and Uganda.

Malaria No More!

As well as the wildlife films I've been filming and editing recently in Zambia, I've also been involved in producing a number of short films for various charities who work around the South Luangwa National Park, where I've been based.

Here is a short video I made with social media guru, Faris Yacob (read more about his genius here), as part of the NGO Malaria No More's effort to reducde deaths from malaria in Africa.