Over the past two decades there has been an accelerated shift in the public's relationship to photography. The notion that a photograph is the truth has been replaced with a predisposition of skepticism and saturated disbelief that has permeated into the most basic aspects of our lives. There is a direct correlation to the perceived erosion of photographic truth and a bubbling up hunger for the authentic experience, a hunger, which is nearing a fever pitch.
This is a defining time for America. It's an atmosphere of desperation, alienation, anxiety, delusion, and fringe politics. The nation is hyperpolarized and over-the-top theatrics are the norm. I'm in search of the visual manifestation of these ideas. Just as the physical force of gravity organizes and connects everything in the world, the psychological nature of struggle has a great physical influence on the shape of things. There's a link between the great and sometimes exaggerated stresses in our everyday life and the overlooked behaviors that fill the majority of our day; for example, how our distress can influence the particular manner in which we hold our dinner fork. I'm investigating how this period is affecting gesture, interaction, and coping in America and using the language of ìstaged color narrative photographyî to subvert from within the tradition by letting life back into the images and favoring the photographic over the painterly.
This project does not aspire to literally document this period; instead it's searching for the visual miracles that may give us insight into what it means to be living at this time. Like many artists, I'm interested in our collective American consciousness, but my interest differs by my aspiration to punch photographic cliché square in the face, rather than run away from it. Using the polarization of the country as a parallel backdrop, I want to confront clichÈ by smashing together photographic traditions, in the search for a seemingly more elusive sense of discovery. Just like physicists using the particle collider to discover new matter (Higgs Boson-God particle), it is my belief that the collision of photographic traditions will reveal something new about photography and give us unique insight into how we are living today. My goal is not to find a moderate stance between traditions but instead, deconstruct them to create a new hybrid moment.
I am seeking out public and private domestic life: the basements, backyards, the waiting rooms, and gymnasiums. Exploring physical, financial, and psychological struggle. Examining family, spirituality, and violence all while trying to locate improbable revelation through the tension that is created between spontaneity and theatricality. The semi-performative nature of my work allows for an evolving and open-ended approach that aligns its conclusions more on the side of life than that of art. This body of work is ongoing and the images I come back with will attempt to amplify all that is changing in our common lives.
Bradley Peters received his BA in Art and Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and his MFA in Photography from the Yale University School of Art. His work is part of many public and private collections internationally and has been included in numerous publications on the subject of photography, including Image Makers, Image Takers: The Essential Guide to Photography by Those in the Know published by Thames Hudson. In 2009 he won the inaugural Conscientious Portfolio Prize and was a Critical Mass top 50 Finalist. He is the 2008 recipient of the Richard Benson Prize for Excellence in Photography and the 2003 Society for Photographic Education Gold Award. His teaching resume includes Southeast Community College, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Concordia University and Yale University. He is an occasional contributor for Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine.