For more than two-decades, I have been documenting the small town of Natchez, Mississippi, in two very distinct ways. As a newspaper photographer and reporter, I have used the camera to tell the rich and complex story of the people who live southwest Mississippi.

As a fine art photographer, I have explored a landscape that is just as vibrant and multifaceted as the people who live and work there.

Each photograph, in a way, is a small portrait of the community in which I live.

In my fine art photography, trees have become a regular subject. Over the years I have realized, that each tree has its own distinct character as singular as the portraits of the people I photograph for the newspaper. I hope each tree portrait not only reveals something unique about the landscape but allows the viewer to discover something unique about the world, as well. -Ben Hillyer




Ben Hillyer is a photographer, designer and architect in Natchez, Mississippi.

For the past 20 years he has worked for the local community newspaper, The Natchez Democrat, documenting the people, places and events of southwest Mississippi. Starting as a staff photographer, he has worked in various capacities, including visual editor, creative director and other editorial roles.

His editorial work has appeared in regional and national publications including the Christian Science Monitor and the New York Times. His fine art work has been featured in galleries across the southeast and on book covers, including New York Times best-selling author Greg Iles’ books “Turning Angel” and “True Evil.” His photographs were selected in 2019 and in 2021 for the bi-annual Mississippi Museum of Art Invitational.




Featured Image: Hillside Live Oak