one heck of a lady. absolutely stellar personality. and her photography? breathtaking. introducing the one and only lori peterson.
I have always had a camera in my hand. I learned to shoot using my mom’s Brownie camera. Growing up I was always the kid that invested their money in film and getting the film developed. As an adult I was always taking photos of my children and friend’s children and basically anyone who would sit still long enough for me to capture some images! When I was working as a Doula and Childbirth Educator, I attended births in a hospital setting as well as in-home births. One of the things I always made sure to learn before the birth was how to use the family’s camera so that while they were bonding with baby and the doctors were doing all of their usual post-delivery stuff that someone was capturing these tender, loving and oh so special moments. That progressed to people asking me to shoot photos during delivery (when doctors approved) and it seemed more and more people were asking me shoot images while also working as their doula. I did some maternity photos for friends and then newborn photos and then the switch from doula to photographer was off and running and there was nothing I could do to stop it. And I didn’t want to.
I grew up obsessed with art. That never changed. I love doing portrait work, but what I love is making it more about being a piece of art than just a photograph. I want it to mean something when people look at it. I want it to be something that none of their friends have and that is not going to be duplicated, no matter what. Whether I am working on a session of a newborn or an art piece I always envision the end result and not just what I am seeing in the camera. It’s very much like creating a painting and taking it from a simple painting to a huge canvas piece. There is a thought process that goes into it and a myriad of twists and turns I take to get to the final piece. This is why no pieces are alike no matter what I do, how the session unfolds or what even ages I shoot. Every image is it’s own little piece of art.
I am wanting to learn wet plate photography because I am a tad obsessed with the look of vintage photographs. I have even learned how to edit photographs so they have a vintage look and feel about them. One day I hope to own a late 1800’s wet plate camera and be able to create art using it.
I love incorporating pieces and places into sessions that are unexpected. The artist side of me likes to create props and sometimes those props go very fitting with artsy shoots I end up doing, like a recent post-apocalyptic series of images. I love painting and my grandmother taught me how to sew and those are coming in handy for a session I have coming up where I am deconstructing a wedding dress to make it into a wearable piece of painted art.
I am a very nontraditional person who embraces tradition. My husband says that gets a bit confusing. I love old, vintage things. I love old photographs. But I love putting a new spin on them and bringing them outside the norm and pushing the envelope a bit. I also like finding things that most people would not see as beautiful and creating photographs and pieces of art with them and making people look at them differently. Sometimes there is beauty to be found in things that make people uncomfortable and want to look the other way.
what is your most memorable session and why?
My most memorable session was with my friend Lisa, her husband Dave and their two children. Lisa had been battling cancer and I decided that we were going to do shoots as often as we could so that no matter what was thrown at them from that day forward that they would have these little pieces of their story to look back on. We got one session in and it was beautiful. The kids behaved. Lisa was feeling good that day. It was supposed to rain, but the rain held off. It was perfect. It was also, unfortunately, our only session. Lisa got very sick afterwards and we were unable to get any other photos done in the short time she had left. At her memorial service, those images we took that day were playing in a slide show and I knew, I mean I really and truly KNEW how much those images meant to them at that moment and how much they would mean even after that moment had passed. That was one of their connections to her. That was a moment in time that we had forever frozen for her husband and her kids. After she passed away I was looking at those photos and I couldn’t help but cry. I was so honored to be a part of providing Dave, the kids, and all the other family members with a little forever moment with her and her beautiful smile.
how would you define the art of photography?
If you pick up a general art book you will see all the different kinds of art that can be created. I think that is also true in photography. There are so many different types of photography in the world and lumping into “photography” is like saying a Monet or a Van Gogh is just a “painting”. There are people who are masters with a camera, just as Monet was with his paintbrush. There is an undeniable vision that Monet, Van Gogh, Tiepolo, Degas had in mind when they set out with their canvas, paints, and brushes and there are some photographers who use their cameras to create works of art just those incredible artists did. We can into photography thinking that it’s just about the gear, the camera, or what equipment you have in your bag, but at the end of the day it’s all about what is inside the photographer and what skills and creativity they bring to that camera.
anything else you’d like to add?
In 1996 I started a genealogy journey that would lead me to relatives I didn’t know I even had, stories about family that I never heard and an awakening to the importance that photographers, whether professional or not, bring to the lives of people. I accumulated all of these family photographs from these newly discovered family members. I decided as a Christmas present to print them and have them put into a book for my great-aunts and their families. I received a phone call on Christmas Day from one of my great-aunts daughter-in-laws and it forever changed my view on the value of a photograph. She said that my great-aunt opened the gift and as she went through the albums that she started crying and just touching the images as they sparked memories. She recounted to the family that she and her husband had a house fire in the 1950’s and all of their photographs were lost. All of them. Some of these images she had not seen since that time. Some of them she had not seen since she was a child. The next day my great-aunt called me and while we talking she started crying. She told me how seeing those images of her father, mother, grandfather, various aunts and uncles was one of the best gifts she had ever received. She started telling me stories about her family, her childhood, growing up, and as we were speaking I wrote all of it down. She passed away a few years later, but I know that those memories and stories would have been gone forever had that album of photographs not made it’s way into her hands.
Photographs can touch our very souls. Parts we didn’t even know existed.
to learn more about lori peterson photography or to book her, please visit her at the following links:
http://www.loripetersonphotographyblog.com (please be advised: contains artful nudes.)