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Mystery and story in the light

Vincent Peters, portrait © Vincent Peters

Prestigious German photographer Vincent Peters presents these days the exhibition In the light which shows a selection of his work featured in his newest book titled Personal along with other glamorous and romantic photographs by the artist. After being presented in France, Belgium, Austria and Berlin with a huge success, now the show arrives to the gallery IMMAGIS in Munich.

Vincent Peters, photographer and filmmaker, was born in Bremen, Germany, in 1969. While travelling around Thailand in the eighties he began his photographic career taking snaps and when he was twenty he moved to New York to work as a photographer’s assistant. In 1995 he returned to Europe and worked for various art galleries and on personal projects. Since then, Vincent Peters has ranked among the top international photographers, working for magazines such as Vogue, Elle, Numéro, The Face, GQ, Esquire, Dazed & Confused, Ten and The Face and Harper's Bazaar, as well as for luxury brands including Dior, Louis Vuitton, and Yves Saint Laurent. Between the people portrayed by his talent with the camera, one can find names like Laetitia Casta, John Malkovic, Charlize Theron, U2, Penélope Cruz, Christian Bale, Kim Basinger, Matt Dilon, Annie Lennox and Michael Fassbender among many others. In his portraits we always find a kind of mysterious atmosphere similar to the one of the classic films.

What is art for you?

There are many good and bad answers, I think for me it’s to create something that translates your impressions of a certain mood or moment to others.

Why did you choose the light as the instrument to express you artistically?

Light is the melody of photography, its set, the mood, the harmony and the feeling.

How important is photography in the current times?

Photography seems the most democratic invention besides the car I think it gives us the feeling of understanding and owning or keeping the moment and life around us.

What are your main influences?

Movies and certain paintings.

Your photography is focused on portraits. When you consider that a portrait is a good one?

A good portrait for me is like a good conversation where something personal comes through without forcing it.

Why only portraits? Have you ever considered another kind of photography apart of portraits?

I love to photograph people. All kind … Always a story.

Your first book was titled The light between us and was a compilation of your best shots of actors, models, and musicians. How is your process work in these cases? Do you have a complete freedom in the studio?

Shooting celebrity is a complex process where many people try to dominate the results. I propose a concept and see how far I can follow my ideas usually I'm lucky but conditions are a defining factor.

Obviously your photographs are not only the light between the portrayed people and you. Are your works the result of your vision of reality or the creation of an imaginary vision?

I guess in many ways my imaginary vision is my vision of reality or I make it that way in my pictures. The world of a photographer should be bigger than the frame he shows.

Your newest book is Personal and it is dedicated to women, mainly stars. What is that special inspiration you get from women?

Shooting women you are always between generalizing and the specific. One woman as in your question is always representative for every woman. And in that sense for a certain kind of humanity. Fragile or confident, naked or dressed, in conflict or clarity there is the risk to be too symbolic or too aesthetic so the inspiration is from how's in front of u and no keep it personal.

You have also worked for some luxury brands. Why do you think that now to work in publicity is not considered as an artistic activity while most of the works of masters like Velázquez were in fact commissioned?

There are different periods when I started in the 90s photography in advertising was very influenced by conceptual editorial and artistic expression. Lots of work can be considered personal and have a Velázquez like level or artistic expression in commissioned work. Today clients are dominated with sales directive and a screen on set the shoot. By seeing the result immediately they control and direct the work not with artistic ambitions or sensibility. The photographer is the person on set that guide and define the artistic quality lost control. To me todays work is too obvious it lacks mystery and story what actually pulls people into the image. Leave people with a question and it’s what they will remember. Today ad work doesn't do that.

And who would you like to portrait?

Mick Jagger.

Could you explain us a memory from your childhood?

My childhood is in many ways in my pictures somehow It makes me discover myself more than any.

In the light . A selection here
Works by Vincent Peters
Exhibition at IMMAGIS gallery, Munich
14 October - 13 November 2016

An interview by Juan Carlos Romero
Photo by Vincent Peters
Courtesy of the artist
All rights reserved