Monday, May 12, 2014

I Am Looking For Life- Anders Petersen with Anders Petersen from fineArtPrint on Vimeo.

Photo: Anders Petersen
I recently saw Anders Petersen's retrospective book (called... Anders Petersen); it's a big thick book (something like 250 photos) and about a third of the way through it began to wear on me, as if I had already just rifled through the trials and tribulations of several rather complex and very idiosyncratic lives. One of the reasons it began to wear on me was because of the way the book is set up, and because of the way Mr. Petersen photographs. In short, there are too many photographs facing each other, and this claustrophobic feel is further enhanced by the high contrast look Mr. Petersen employs. Fortunately, there are no washed out highlights so characteristic nowadays of careless B&W digital post, rather, Mr. Petersen lets the shadows go dark and the corners vignette for drama. It's intense, and makes each and every photograph demand attention- not a bad thing, just not so great when they're so crowded together, seemingly competing with one another.

Would I recommend this (not inexpensive) book, this sometimes hard to look at, hard to get through book? ABSOLUTELY! For the simple reason that so many of the images are... so good. There's certainly enough for at least two, maybe three solid books here; think of it as life writ large: compressed, condensed and magnified. Images that make you question, draw nearer, and sometimes have you retreat; it's certainly never boring and will even reward you with the occasional smile. As with life itself, one must learn to pace oneself, enjoy it as much as possible and explore it as it unfolds. And then there's the man himself, as unassuming as his diminutive Contax T3, you can sense his presence on every page...

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