For the past decade Ben Cauchi has engaged in a practice examining the nature of photography, the passage of time, and the psychological dimensions of viewing. His work is made using the very earliest photographic techniques; the wet-collodion photographic process, producing ambrotypes and tintypes; one-off positives on glass or metal. It is a process invented at a time of pioneering discovery in the worlds of science, industry and reason, yet also a time when spiritualism and mesmerism held the public imagination. This dichotomy is at the centre of Cauchi's work; he stages scenarios in the studio and, using the photographic process itself, blurs the lines between what is, and what is not; and in so doing investigates the space between the empirical and the incorporeal.
As writer and critic Gregory O'Brien has said: Cauchi "has not only mastered long outmoded photographic techniques but he has revitalised those traditional ways of making and seeing within the context of contemporary photography and the present day world. Beyond their mystery and occasional sense of menace, his immensely refined images are also repositories for lyricism and, at times, a dark but nonetheless exquisite beauty."
Recent exhibitions include Jacob's Ladder, celebrating contemporary artist's imaginative engagement with the heavens on the anniversary of the moon landings (2018, Ingleby), and Shadow Catchers, an exhibition of photography and moving image from the collection of the Art Gallery New South Wales.
Cauchi was awarded the Creative New Zealand Visual Arts Residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2012) and The Arts Foundation of New Zealand New Generation Award (2011). His work is held in public collections internationally including the National Gallery of Australia and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.