Tuesday, 21 October 2008
All images ©Bradley Peters
I came across the work Family Plan by Bradley Peters today which immediately stopped me in my tracks. The tensions between spontaneity and theatricality are just one of its obvious strengths but I also really enjoyed reading his rationale behind the project. It is always fascinating to hear how photographers try to pull together their ideas and influences as they strive for a single, clear vision. It is those blind alleys, unforced errors and final steps before a new direction which led to key turning points and revelations about one´s own work that I find so intriguing. So here is Bradley trying to steer a path through different, and often conflicting, interpretations that have arisen around his personal photography:
"In an attempt to make things clearer for myself, I have been trying to figure out why exactly the work feels like it does. But my understanding is slowly evolving and shifting, which is making a clear definition difficult. Sometimes it feels like the fragments of the distorted stories that I grew up listening to my father tell — but then again, it also feels like an investigation into how neurosis translates itself into gesture and body language; how my mother's distress influences the particular manner in which she holds her dinner fork. Sometimes it seems like it's trying to deal with ideas of materiality — what things people love, and how they love them; how they think they need them because of what they represent. Sometimes it feels like it's about the idea of how everything is connected and pulling on everything else, or how destruction is just really transformation — where there is a change in form but not in energy. Sometimes it seems like it's dealing with some kind of pseudo-faith and the false relief that is gained through ritual; the strategies we've established to ease our souls through habitual distraction. And sometimes it's the feeling of pure desperation in trying to communicate something that is outside the senses; a hybrid moment of the indescribable personal, and the accessible everyday — the failures and miracles of human perception.
It is kind of like hearing a strange sound coming from another room that seems both at once recognizable and unfamiliar. It is the compulsion to discover its source. Although this pursuit may seem to be inevitably elusive and fruitless, I am hoping to gain whatever understanding I can through the process."
Bradley Peters was born in Columbus, Nebraska, in 1979. He received a BA from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln in 2004, with degrees in both Psychology and Art. In 2002 and 2003 he was awarded the UNL Creative Activities & Research Experiences Grant. He is also the recipient of the Jean R. Faulkner Memorial Award, the Gold Award from the Midwest Society for Photographic Education, and the Richard Benson Prize. He is a 2008 graduate of the MFA program in Photography at the Yale University School of Art.