Written by Monica Camozzi
Standing in front of a Vincent Peters photograph is a deeply psycho-analytical experience. Because out of the photographer’s soul and that of the person portrayed comes a third element. The self, what one metabolizes and takes away. But it is also an emotional immersion, a journey. As he says
When you look at an image you meet different parts of yourself
Even in the path created at the Palazzo Reale for the exhibition Timeless Time, curated by Alessia Glaviano, you were faced with your multiple self. Split into different universes that coexist in parallel.
The photo is the writing with light and few understand it like Peters. Alessia Glaviano
Vincent, why famous people and not people from the street?
Because by already knowing who the person portrayed is, it is easier for the viewer to project. Of Charlize I don’t need to tell you who she is and I can concentrate on the emotional part. I am not interested in showing the body, the nude as an end in itself: the image must act on an emotional, biographical, even hormonal level if you like. With this kind of communication you share dreams and emotions.
It doesn’t matter what’s on the picture, but what you take home with you.
Your portraits have a neo-realist power, like photograms. Where does this inspiration come from?
My father was a tireless film-watcher. The narration of these films to me as a child was our form of emotional communication. I imagined something that I heard but did not experience directly. When I was eight years old I knew who Monica Vitti was, I was given emotional baggage that stayed with me.
What are your favourite films?
Ladri di Biciclette, Stromboli, Riso Amaro…I love the films of Fellini and Vittorio Gassmann.
Italy is poignant in your visual stories…
My parents, when they were newly married, drove around Tuscany in a Topolino. They were in love with Italy. In the photos the unconscious falls away, everything happens in seconds, we see a part of us that we are not aware of. Each photo is a revelation in which you discover something about yourself. Imagine when you get married: every person you met before, every coffee, every look, every Sophia Loren you watched at the cinema all contribute to your wedding day.
What is your approach to the subject?
A lot of my approach comes from cinema, I let people express what they are. Everyone has their own truths, I have never been intrusive, I let human beings free. Irving Penn used to talk to the subject for an hour, others created tension on the set on purpose
The portrait, in the end, is an encounter
What is beauty?
Something that often creates conflict, those who possess it in a powerful form are afraid of losing it. I do not like didactic beauty, cosmetic photos where everything is still, perfect. I love to create a communication with the beholder. In any case I don’t want to impress people with the beauty of a celebrity, I don’t want to tell people what to dream about.
I want to leave a door open for the person to finish the story. In this way, it becomes artistic communication.
How did you feel, starring in an exhibition at the Palazzo Reale?
As if I had won an Oscar. I was also moved by the words of the head of the Palazzo Reale, Domenico Piraina, when he said that photography is art and that he really appreciated my work.
What do you think about the overload of images that overwhelms us?
I think we take more photos in one hour than we have done in the last 150 years of the history of photography. And that we are not made for this intensity, for this level. The big problem is not just emotional, but technical. Thousands and thousands of digital photos stored, which are rarely printed. It takes energy to handle this mass of images.