Week 10 PHO702 / positioning practice

Notes on task as follows:

I first discovered Anders Petersen about 6 or 7 years ago. Whenever I have read an interview with him, I feel refreshed by the way he explains his approach to photography. His work has stuck in my mind. As a photographer of informal and intimate portraits, Petersen spends much time with his subjects, getting to know them over a period of several days, weeks, months sometimes, before photographing them.  Through this process, he seems to have developed an awareness of the fragilities of life, and learned much about himself. His words express sensitivity to the human aspects of photography that I have rarely found in other practitioners. Although portrait photography is not my area, Petersen separates his work into two strands, portraits and snapshots. It is the snapshot which I can relate to more. In one interview he describes the swiftness of the snapshot process as like a cut.

“my other way of shooting is just snapshots. Cutting is a good word for it. I cut . . . that’s what it feels like, because it’s so fast. Then I peel away layers.” (https://aperture.org/blog/anders-petersen-finding-a-fever/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.)

Petersen’s use of black and white film containing blur, grain and contrast is consistent, as is his approach of acceptance of rawness and flaws of being human. This idea of imperfection is one that has stood out for me amongst what is often the precise and sharp world of contemporary photography.  The following extract is from an article in the Guardian newspaper in 2006. It is not structured on the page as a typical Q&A interview, however there are questions and answers contained within the text.  This particular quote goes some way to reflecting my own thoughts:

“‘Really, I want every image to be a kind of self-portrait,’ he says. ‘If I take a picture of that apple on the table, it can be a self-portrait.’ How? I ask. ‘By using whatever is necessary to be true to myself: the light, the darkness, the hunger I have and the innocence. By not thinking. By being as primitive as possible, as raw as possible, as horrible as possible. Using my nerve and my heart and my gut. Then, only after shooting, I will use my brain to select and edit. This is the beautiful and fantastic thing about photography.’”  https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2006/oct/01/photography (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

There are links to a few other interviews here:


Image by Anders Petersen from Okinawa available at: https://www.photobookstore.co.uk/blog/photobook-reviews/okinawa-by-anders-petersen-reviewed-by-robert-dunn/
(Accessed 03 April 2019)