Peter Anderson: Wildlife Photograms
12 Feb 2011
Having photographed some of the most famous and infamous artists in the rock world, Peter Anderson has emptied the darkest recesses of his mind to bring us a collection of photograms that are stark, but yet strangely reminiscent of my childhood. Model airplanes and toy soldiers adorn his photograms, casting white shadows on gritty images of rock stars and broken buildings. Anderson's work is gripping because it allows objects to become stencils, breaking up the barren black or shades of grey they are mounted on. This is great brain fodder.
This exhibition goes beyond the lens, because Anderson literally creates photographs. There is ingenuity at work that allows you to see layers, rather than simply depth, in the finished photogram. These are photographic collages of toys and images and at times the work seems pieced together, a model kit for the viewer to assemble.
'I got into photography through coming to London and I applied to do a post graduate course, after doing a degree in design in Glasgow. The course was self structured, you had to basically make up the course for yourself and that didn't work for me. So I just did what I wanted to do, went out to clubs and started making photographs.'
The phrase 'making photographs' became literal in this exhibition, but this process was after years of work in the music world. After securing work at NME after his post graduate course he produced some of his most iconic photographs of the 1980s. He was working flat out, but became despondent with the commissions he was getting.
'It's only over the last couple of years or so I have been trying to do something different, instead of that whole thing about making photographs for instant reproduction. Instead I decided to make things to go on walls.'
He talks with great energy about his work 'making photographs' and the process of his photograms. His studio is a veritable playground of broken toys, huge enlargers and large developing trays.
'It's about hands on darkroom stuff. It's about the imagery that's all around me. All the objects I've used I've found in the local junk market or just lying around.'
Anderson uses this 'junk' to bring a unique perspective to his portraits. You will see a large portrait of Henry Rollins with a grenade and spider chemically burned into a photogram and you feel a sense of the inner nature of Rollins' hardcore persona. Some of his photograms do have a hardcore edge to them, and this has been mistaken for pro-war sentiment.
'Someone said 'This is all a about violence and war' and I said well if I provoke a reaction that's fine, but it's anti-war. These are things we sell to children. What does that say about us?'
Anderson's exhibition will be at the Book Club until the end of February.
The Book Club
100 Leonard Street
London EC2A 4RH
020 7684 8618