Frank Peeters – Copyright
ISBN 3 – 89261-402-4
I bought this book back in the late 80s and it has remained one of my favourite books ever since.
It's a slim volume, only 47 pages, published in 1988 and as a soft-back. It's an album that was produced to accompany an exhibition at the Swan Tower, Kleve. The reproduction is excellent on good quality paper and the images haven't dated.
Peeters monochrome style owes something to Ralph Gibson - pushed film and high contrast. Possibly a red filter. The images themselves seem like details from other, larger, photographs. In all the photographs the film grain is very prominent and quite wonderful.
Textiles, bodies and skies figure prominently in the book. The textiles are particularly beautiful, lending themselves well to the high contrast technique employed by Peeters. People, when they appear, are often photographed facing away from the camera, adopting strange poses, sometimes mimicking a statue, sometimes gesturing to the heavens.
There are only three images in the book where you can make out the face of the model, indeed in one picture the model covers her face with her hands. Yet this just adds to the air of mystery that permeates the book.
A lot of the images are comparisons. A model in a floral blouse is photographed from above in a field full of wildflowers. The stark contrast of the picture makes the two subjects flow together. In another the same model leans on a tree next to some ferns, the flowers on the blouse again merging into the natural scene. Some grasses appear to be held by a model behind their back, the photograph just capturing the stalks on the silk garment which carries a faint floral pattern. The wrinkles in the material reflect the light which adds to composition.
Others photographs are abstractions, slices of reality filtered through the author's unique vision and process. All are arresting and thought provoking.
This book still inspires me to make photographs and when I first bought it I went through a phase of trying to copy Peeters style, but of course I couldn't get it quite right.
Technical mastery can be acquired but seeing is much more difficult.