Art director Gemma Fletcher examines the work of photographer Kate Peters, in the first installment of a series looking at new talent in photography, from recent graduates to photographers breaking into the commercial world…
Kate Peters went out on her own in 2010 after several years assisting Nadav Kander, the golden ticket of all assisting jobs. Achieving a huge amount in just a few short years, she has exhibited around the globe, won numerous awards and has built up an impressive portfolio of personal and editorial work for high profile clients including Time, New Statesman, Monocle and the Guardian.
Pictured above: Lee Scratch Perry from the series Before and After
One of the first things that strikes you about her work is the rich depth of every single image. The majority of Peters’ work is shot on film and she is an avid evangelist of the #filmsnotdead movement. Shooting with a waist level finder means that she can have direct contact with her sitter, creating a more collaborative environment, which shows in the images.
There is plenty of debate about the use of film versus digital, some champion its superior quality, while others believe it to be an archaic medium. For me, the seduction of film in a visual landscape where digital is ubiquitous, offers a welcome change. However, it’s crucial that it’s used to support the process rather than for novelty’s sake.
Mistress X from the series Yes Mistress
Peters’ work focuses on how we construct alternative realities, both physically and psychologically. Truth and fiction, performance and documentary, all play a part in her work.
She is best known for her project Yes Mistress where she created an alternative representation of the often clichéd roles of women and men. The project explored the dominatrix and the client and the shifting complexity they encounter as they switch between everyday life and the world of BDSM.
Likewise her recent series Before and After examines a similar idea with performers, where she photographed them immediately before and after they went on stage as they flex between their different personas.
Edilaine from the series Under the watchful eye: Women in Brazil
In many projects, Kate examines the representation of women and how this has changed over time in different cultures. Shot in Brazil in the lead up to the World Cup, Under the watchful eye: Women of Brazil tells the story of twenty two unique women, whose histories illustrate what life is like in such a culturally diverse country.
With photography still a male dominated industry it’s exciting to see emerging female photographers embrace and share female-centric stories.
Daisiane from the series Under the watchful eye: Women in Brazil
Gilbert and George
Like Nadav, Peters presents well-known faces in ways we haven’t seen before. The images feel intimate, emotional and mesmerizing. There is an openness to her work, and she has an ability to illustrate vulnerability and personality in both a delicate and sophisticated manner, like that of Katy Grannan.
Although tackling diverse subject matters, Peters’ work has a distinct style and aesthetic consistency, which rings true whether she is shooting portraits, landscapes or still life – something that often takes photographers years to achieve. Blending the traditional craft of the medium with her fresh point of view she has created an impressive and enviable portfolio.
Keep an eye on the CR blog for the next piece in the series from Gemma Fletcher next month.