Los Angeles and NYC-based photographer John Francis Peters has always had a deep connection to nature. Growing up near the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York, the surrounding streams and rivers have long been a source of calm and inspiration for him. This past summer after an extended time away on an assignment in Pakistan, he found himself back at the water’s edge, this time to create The Stream, an evocative series capturing his steadfast love for nature’s flowing waters. We recently asked him more about the project.
What motivated you to start this project?
“What initially caught my attention was the quality of light so specific to the Catskills. I guess I had been away for so long that distance created a shift in my perspective. I realized that these visual details along with the water and general social atmosphere could be interesting elements to build a series with.”
How important is this specific place to the project?
“I feel a deep connection to the place where I made this work, both in sprit and memory. This is the area where I grew up, learned to escape the world and explore the woods—fish, swim, play—and I think those aspects of my upbringing set the stage for a real admiration for nature. The nature in the area evokes a specific creative energy and freedom for me. Experiencing the stream at this point in my life from a new, more removed perspective definitely motivated my rendering of the series.”
Are these images supposed to capture a visual reality or channel something more abstract?
“When I was making this series I was focused on finding social or natural interactions within the stream’s environment that could explore abstraction in various ways. At hand were visual realities, my disposition to those guided by light, moments, etc. I built off of those realities to explore what would emerge from abstraction both physically and emotionally.”
Do you consider this a documentary or more of a fine art project?
“This body of work is an artistic documentation of my home, at a specific point in my life. I intended for the series to create sensations that could be quite personal and somewhat disconnected from the subjects depicted. I hope the viewer will approach the images with only a degree of context so to experience other dimensions the work may serve as a guide to.”