Multimedia Laboratory

Interview with photographer | Bradley Peters

Why do you take photos?

I don’t really have a straightforward answer to this question and I guess the only response I can give is that I take photographs because I have to.  The best way I can describe my relationship to my photographs is that it’s kind of like a conversation that I’m having with myself.  The problem is the conversation is in Spanish and I don’t really speak Spanish but sometimes I can pick out some of the words.  It’s discovery through an attempted translation.

 
Describe your start in photography.

I borrowed a camera from a friend and he gave me a 15 minute crash course in F-stops and shutter speeds.  Later that day I got a bunch a film and basically proceeded to make some really bad pictures over the next 2 years.  I was self-taught in beginning but then took a bunch of classes at the University of Nebraska, then went on to get my MFA at Yale.  I’ve had some really amazing teachers along the way.


Who are some of your favorite photographers and why do you admire their work?

Probably my biggest influences would be Arbus, Winogrand, Eggleston, Adams (Robert).  They’re artists whose work has an effect on me every time I see it.  Their images never get old.

 

What is your greatest experience as a photographer?

I don’t know if I have one.  Being an artist tends to leave one vulnerable in many ways that I usually don’t associate with “greatest”.  It’s probably just my personality.

 

What equipment do you prefer to use and why?

I use the Mamiya 7ii and flash.  I made a rule for myself a long time ago that my camera equipment could never reach the point where it prevented me from being able to go on a long walk due to its size or quantity.  I like being able to take my equipment everywhere.

 

Describe your editing process (i.e. How do you go about selecting, retouching and printing your photographs?)

Part of my process is about letting things fall apart.  Before each shoot I’ll try to imagine every possible scenario that might take place and I use these ideas as a guide for what I should try to avoid.  When I’m lucky I’ll come back with something completely unexpected and it becomes pretty apparent which image is the most interesting.  I don’t spend a lot of time debating between a set of images.  I really only perform basic color correction and almost no retouching except for dust removal.

 
What sets your work apart from that of others?

I like ideas that sound too terrible to be an interesting photograph.

What are your plans and aspirations for the future regarding photography?

Like a lot of photographers I eventually want my images to take shape in the form of a book.  That’s what I’m currently working on but I don’t have any idea when the project will be finished.

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