Peter Bialobrzeski

We continue our visits to (mostly photo) museums – yesterday evening went to a talk by Peter Bialobrzeski, a photographer which came onto my radar through one of my Flickr contacts Thomas Birke (a fantastic large format photographer in his own right). The images i had seen from Peter reminded me a bit to this other magnificent (large format) photographer Andreas Gursky (i still remember looking in awe to the details in his huge prints).

Peter explained how he evolved from a newspaper and magazine photographer to fine art, almost by accident. It all started by combining commercial projects abroad with personal ones, thus at least saving on the financing of his personal projects. Peter walked through the different books he has published (i didn’t know he did so many!) from “XXX Holy Journeys into the Spiritual Heart of India”, his first personal project (loved how he talked about Karma here, and how he tried to portray that), “Neontigers” where he tries to give us a glimpse of the future, “Heimat” where he concentrated on his homeland and is creating some painterly photos influenced by his admiration of some master painters, “Lost In Transition” where he returns to Asian megacities trying to portray how old city blocks are pushed away by modern skyscarpers at an astonishing speed, “Paradise Now” still at these Asian megacities showing how nature is being affected by our modern lifestyle, and finally his last book “Case Study Homes”, a smaller book where digital pictures of Manila’s slum houses are collected. And how did he manage to publish all these books? – like said almost by accident: the personal projects where first noticed by World Press Photo where he won the 1st prize in Arts and Entertainment stories (2002), marking the beginning of his Fine Arts “career”. Of course, the fact that he is incredibly talented helped as well.

What i liked about the talk was that i have been in all the cities he was talking about (Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Manila), thus basically was seeing (and was wondering about) the same things that he saw, but never had the idea to photograph it the way he did… basically i learned i should keep my eyes (and my mind) open! As a downside i think i can say that my drooling over large format cameras has not lessened, on the contrary… these things are however quite expensive (not yet talking about the film), but if you see the results it seems to be worth it. In these ages of digitalisation it seems however silly to spend a lot of money on analog cameras? (as you can see i am having quite a dilemma here hahaha).

Anyways appreciated the efforts of the Antwerp photomuseum, in bringing another fantastic photographer to talk about his way of thinking.