Inter(view)/ Martin Petersen








© Martin Petersen

Martin Petersen trabaja con la fotografía de paisaje, centrando la mayor parte de su trabajo en el enfrentamiento entre el hombre y la naturaleza. Realiza todas sus series en un par de horas, nunca prolonga un trabajo durante un largo período de tiempo. Para él, la fotografía es una experiencia que captura un lugar determinado en un momento determinado.
Retrata su entorno cercano, en Dinamarca: lugares de paso, carreteras perdidas, campos de cultivo, etc., donde nos muestra la huella del hombre en esos espacios intermedios entre lo construído y la naturaleza, mediante imágenes de límites desdibujados. Martin disfruta tanto fotografiando como escribiendo sobre el trabajo de otros fotógrafos para



ContradictioN. How did you get into photography and what does it mean to you?
Martin. The true story is that I got dumped by a girlfriend and her biggest wish was a digital camera (we’re ten years back here) and an iPod, so being the big childish man that I am I bought both just to piss her off. I instantly liked photographing, but didn’t know what to do with it. By chance one of the regular customers in the record store where I worked was a local artist with whom I shared musical taste. I mailed him some mp3’s of some obscure early post-punk that he was interested in hearing, and then we just mailed back and forth. In the end I mailed him some photos, and every time I did that, he was never quite satisfied, and that pushed me forward. The day he wrote something nice about my photos back to me was a good day.
Two-three years ago photography was everything to me. Today it’s totally different. I still take loads of pictures of my now two year old son, but I rarely go out to photograph. When I do I either take the car to a place I’ve thought about photographing or I just take the car and go for a drive and see what comes up. But I have to feel for it, and the weather has to be right, and, and, and..
I still love photographing, and I still find great pleasure in going through a day’s work, editing the photos while drinking a beer and listening to some music while the rest of the family sleeps, but today I’m as equally pleased writing about photography. I write for, focusing on mainly Danish photographers, and only writing about photographers whose work I like. It feels good to share the work of photographers whose work I admire and to research their work to find the right words to describe them, so that hopefully people can see the same greatness in their work that I do. I have given up on ever becoming as good as the people I write about, that’s not going to happen, I aspired to that a couple of years ago, but not today. Today I photograph for my own sake, and if I feel that I’ve done a good job I’m glad to share my work. I know that some people enjoy it, I know that most of this worlds seven billion plus population probably don’t care, but when people tell me they like what I do photography is still everything to me.

C. On you CV, you mention that your work is focused on the clash between man and nature, can you explain a bit more about this?
M. When I started taking photos I lived near the harbour and went for a lot of night walks where I photographed all the old industrial buildings at the harbour. Your average very predictable ruin porn and very gloomy photos. But something slowly changed, perhaps it was the before mentioned artists fascination with nature that I got smitten by and it just exploded when I met my wife. I got tired of all the concrete, darkness and decay, and started looking at the fields, the sky, the woods and the ocean instead. When I got a homepage and needed to add a CV I’d been listening a lot to “Sophtware Slump” by Grandaddy which has this amazing man vs. nature/technology vs. nature theme that I recognized in my own work. When I realized that I sort of stuck to it. In the work I display on my homepage at the moment, you see nature taking over manmade objects, man changing nature, nature put into manmade environments, and manmade objects in natural surroundings. It’s variations over the theme, but I think that I’m on home ground when I say that I focus on the clash between man and nature.

C. All your series are taken within a couple of hours, why this restriction on time?
M. The answer to that question can be found somewhere between impatience, lack of time and my own sense of esthetics. I really like that a series of photos is a description of a certain place at a certain time the way that I saw it and chose to communicate it to whoever is going to see the photos. It’s a very basic approach, but I really prefer photo series where you feel that all the photos have been taken at the same time. Some photographers want to tell a story, some just flick some random photos together and add an artful description, some manipulate their photos while others just do single shots. Whatever rocks your boat (except for the ones with the artful descriptions – fuck off). I’m doing it the way I think is right, if you’re not, you’re doing it wrong.

C. Who or what are your influences?
M. I keep saying that I’m not influenced, but that’s probably a lie. I love the work of Per Bak Jensen and Nicolai Howalt, and a project like “Denmark in Transition” just blew my mind. Fourteen amazing photographers (including Nicolai Howalt) photographing this small country we live in. When I saw the exhibition and bought the book it was a total Wayne’s World moment of me going down on my knees screaming “I’m not worthy”
But my influences are a sum of all the photos I look at daily. I just rediscovered Antone Dolezal, the day I do work as good his “Ghost Town” series I’m going to throw my camera in the ocean because work like that you just can’t outdo.

C. And finally, what about your future projects?
M. One of the places where I’ve photographed is supposedly going to be flooded to restore nature, if that happens I will return. Besides that I have no specific plans. I hope that I can keep finding places on the island where I live that I want to visit/describe/photograph, and I would really like to learn to take portraits.


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