Sex, Drugs, & Meditation

jessamy.little
May 23, 2018 · 8 min read

The Curious Lives Behind the Warhol’esque Photographer Team — Ben & Trudie Larrabee — Business, Wellness, & Photography

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Skinny Kitty Tea House, Burning Man, 2017

The Warhol Factory?

Career Beginnings

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Musée D’Orsey, Paris, 2002

Finding his Life’s Purpose

Mastering the Business Side of Things as Well as the Art

Ben was not afraid of hard work and landed an extensive project with a church in town that paved the way for him to build a key relationship with the town’s paper editor.

He was also adept at the business side of things. He identified a target market of families with young kids, and he would go to the local schools and hand out flyers to parents as they waited in the car pool line at the end of the school day.

In addition, he secured relationships with some of the mainstay stores in town that had bare walls dying for art work, for example hanging pictures in the local Starbucks where foot traffic was extremely high and his work would be noticed.

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Alice in Wonderland, Connecticut, 2009

Business Turning Point

The addition of Trudie to the team fueled the business to greater heights, as Ben could now spend more time on the art and Trudie on the business side, both enabling them to focus on their strengths and grow the business all the more.

What Sets the Work Apart from the Crowd?

The experience itself is radical. It has no inkling of a family portrait one might have experienced as a child — posing stiffly for hours and pulled out at family reunions in horror. Instead, the session is spent playing around the house while Ben and Trudie come with you on the journey…everyone gets to be at ease and enjoy themselves, which draws out their natural beauty.

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Skinny Dipping, Nantucket, 2013

Joy, Love, and Sex

As I sit with them in their home, they are completely at ease sharing how their sex life is very much a part of their wellness routine, one that helps to nurture and maintain their strong love for one another, their respect for one another’s talents, and cultivate the artistic spirit in them.

In fact, they make a point to set aside time in their calendar 3x a week for ‘wellness time’ which includes making love, marijuana, sharing feelings, and so on. They appreciate that love/sex can happen spontaneously but also know that life can get in the way and that scheduling this commitment to one another is a way of honouring their relationship. This subsequently enhances their personal and professional relationship, as well as their art.

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Trudie Floating, Ausable Lake, 2001

Drugs and Adventures

While traveling, they make a conscious effort to disconnect. They love one particular destination in the Grenadines where they stay in a cottage on a bluff overlooking the ocean — this bluff is a vortex, a high point of rising energy — and there is no internet, tv, or phones. They are really able to ‘unplug’ from the world.

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Sailing, Virgin Islands, 2008

Evolution in the Digital Age

Two major changes they’ve made to the business are to expand their business services beyond the photography and to offer digital files of their work for the family.

Families needed help choosing places in their home to feature the work, frame it, light it etc., so they now offer these options as part of their services.

Clients also asked for digital versions of the pictures so they started offering clients digital files and smaller prints. Although they do anchor me back to what sets their work apart, which is refreshing. The work that they produce is more a family heirloom, not a common photo you slap in a 4x6 on your nightstand.

Tips for Aspiring Photographers

1. Study Shots you take= look back at your shots, study them, figure out what excites you/moves you and what doesn’t, which ones give you a physical/emotional reaction, and try to articulate to yourself why

2. Apply what you’ve learned= now take pictures with that in mind, incorporating parts you like and reducing the parts you don’t

3. Practice= repeat this process over and over, and invest time in this iterative process

4. Trust your instincts= don’t follow the rules or pay attention to anything you read, trust your instincts and anchor back to those when going on this learning journey

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Little, Connecticut, 2007

Asked what Ben Would Have Done if his Business had Never Taken Off?

Wellness Weaved into their Journey

· Meditation= Ben and Trudie’s consistent practice of meditation

· Spirituality/Love/Joy/Beauty= these are all very much a part of the experience of Ben and Trudie’s work and the time they spend photographing a family

· Sex/Love= the consistent commitment Ben and Trudie have to their loving relationship with a healthy sex life being a part of that

· Drugs/Adventure= marijuana and travel are a part of their creative experimentation that inform their art and life, and expands the boundaries of their artistic expression

· Therapy= a consistent practice of inner reflection and therapy

· Activity= morning sun salutations/yoga, calisthenics in their home, walks outside…movement is weaved throughout their day rather than at one specific time, and has a strong connection to nature and the changes of the season

· Healthy Food= during the beginning and at the end of the interview we share recipes and foods that we love — sardines a shared favourite, and Barefoot Contessa although just a smidge healthier J

To learn more about Ben and Trudie you can see their work and reach out to them via their website: www.BenLarrabee.com.

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As ever, thank you so much for reading!

If you found this article of interest/helpful, please share with your friends/family/colleagues, give it a clap (to the left), and or reach out to me to let me know. I love to know you are reading!

If you are in need of wellness guidance, I am always an email away: Jessamy@jessamylittle.com. You can also follow me on instagram for my latest wellness/entrepreneur tips @indiakooki or sign up to my newsletter at www.jessamylittle.com.

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