OK, so we kind of feel like this Friday Feature doesn’t need much of an introduction, but in order to stay true to our format (a little consistency goes a long way!), we have a wonderful local artist to share with you this beautiful Friday the 13th. Peter Jamus of Peter Holme Photography is a reputable and extremely talented Minneapolis-based photographer that we have had the pleasure of getting to know and work with.
AS: So tell us about your involvement or interest in fashion…
PJ: That’s a pretty interesting story, actually… as I have never really been invested much in fashion. It was only until I was invited to shoot a show a couple years ago that it started to snowball into what it is now. Initially I had a bit of a distaste for most things fashion, really. I never really liked the images I would see, whether it be in magazines or otherwise. Besides not knowing (or caring about) anything in the fashion industry, I found most of the (mainstream) fashion material I would see to be empty content-wise and conceptually there was nothing which interested me about it. They were vain, luxurious, and so ‘Americanized’ (if you catch my drift) that it was actually kind of disgusting to me. This of course changed as I learned and saw more but at the time I had those feelings, I was very focused on being a fine artist (even though at the time I had no idea what that really meant).
Things changed slightly as I started to shoot fashion shows. The first fashion show I ever went to, I probably shot more images in a small amount of time than I ever had before. I remember filling up both of my memory cards and having to borrow a friends in order to keep shooting. It was nuts! But I wasn’t ever really shooting the runway, ironically enough. What interested me more was everything else; the luxuriously-dressed fashionistas, the waiters, the wine glasses…the atmosphere. It was all so foreign to me, it was like I had entered another world– one which I only saw in film or some magazine or something. So, I kept going to shows and kept shooting. Eventually I even grew to appreciate what these shows were organized for…the clothes themselves. When I actually was able to shoot backstage things started to get even more interesting! I would be shooting these models right before they hit the runway, finding interesting ways to contrast the dirty, grungy hallways they came out of with the lush, rich…high class clothing they were wearing.
After a while I would go to shows only to shoot models, but not necessarily for beauty (although I was able to get numerous beautiful shots of them before they hit the runway), but for the interesting contrast they would provide in a brief moment, with them usually unaware. It was all very interesting to me. Here we have these models…these ideal human beings, beautiful people… walking up and down a runway simply as canvases to the art they were wearing. In that moment they aren’t usually seen in the same way we look at people. They were simply objects. Where else in culture do you see something like this? I found it fascinating, and still do… although showing that in my images is the real challenge. I feel like I still haven’t really breached the same hard-hitting ideas that I think of when I shoot, but I enjoy the challenge.
AS: How would you describe your personal style?
PJ: Fhew… That’s REALLY tough for me, as I love to dabble in different ‘genres’ of photography. I still always think of myself firstly as an artist, and a photographer second. There are so many things one can do with photography, it is such a flexible medium. And I’m young, I used to be very conscious about my age, as many would confuse me for someone older, but now I’m proud to be where I am and doing what I’m doing at only 20. I feel accomplished in that sense. But as far as style? I think I could probably verbally describe it, but not visually, as it changes every time I click the shutter. In words, I would say that I am a finder of truths; more specifically, I unveil ironies and like to show the reality of moments. A lot of my artwork and projects tend to revolve around the city, or around popular culture and how our society or ‘cultural ethos’ shapes us…and what I dislike about that. While I love living in the city, there are many aspects of that lifestyle that deep down I disagree with wholeheartedly; I try to show that in my work as best I can.
Besides that, I am a portrait photographer by trade (gotta make the dough somehow, right?)… and I love it for different reasons than I do my artwork. It’s amazing, really. I love to capture people being who they are… I feel very much like a psychologist at times. I have to examine and realize what makes my subject ‘tick’…what makes them smile naturally, what makes their eyes tell the entire story. Then I have to have the abilities to capture it at just the right time. I love it.
PJ: It’s very interesting. I like how small it is for my needs…as most know me and my work by now, and I can easily get backstage and shoot what I want… however for everyone else? Not so good. I think it’s a relatively hostile environment to new-comers who aren’t as lucky as me…something needs to change in order for it to grow and flourish to support the kind of amazing artists we are known to create in this lovely state. I would love to see more shows which are focused on the art…the creations made by creative designers…instead of the focus on selling. Yes, I understand these designers may have mouths back home to feed…but I do wish they would make art for arts sake every now and then (and they do! just not very often…). I also wish the events were more opening to the rest of Minneapolis, instead of stuffy, private shows which only those in the industry (or press) get to ever really see firsthand.
PJ: Very spontaneous, I take an idea and run with it. Either that or the opposite… I spend months developing an idea in my head, putting it to paper, then to photoshop, then I go out and make it happen finally.
AS: What projects are you currently working on?
PJ: Currently I’m still working on my fashion series (have been for a few years now). As well, I have quite a few commercial and fine art projects that I have been keeping under wraps for a while now until they are published (yes, published!). Excited to share them once everything is finished. I also am in the middle of a ‘365’ project, where I take images every day. Although it has evolved into a ‘take photos on the weekdays, rest on the weekends’ sort of thing…I still want to be pushing myself as often as possible to create work. It is very demanding on me, as I am quite the perfectionist when it comes to my imagery. I have just returned from Peru and Washington state!
AS: Any influences or anyone you look up to when it comes to your work?
PJ: Oh man, too many to say here in one long-winded post… but I will say that I am deeply inspired by the ‘masters’, the classic artists who shaped what photography is today.
PJ: I used to play soccer 5 days a week on a very competitive and demanding team, but quit because it was too draining. I was pretty good, I played with an Olympic Development Program for a few years before I found my feet deeply seeded in art. I think if I hadn’t been exposed or pushed to explore that more, I would still be kicking balls in the net. I still play a couple days a week, but nothing like I used to… I was even given a few scholarships to various colleges, but never went through with that.
AS: Lastly, any words of advice for aspiring artists?
PJ: Do what YOU have to do in order to create exactly what you want. Opinions matter… and are a very important part of growing as an artist/photographer…but you need to follow your own gut. Also, never give up, and never be satisfied with where you are with your form… challenge yourself and you will find opportunities await around every corner.As ‘fortune cookie’ as that may sound, it is very true; if you focus on creating good work, people WILL eventually notice and you will find yourself being desired by those who need your kind of imagery.