Peter Lambropoulos, more commonly known as Petlamb, is a Melbourne Photographer that we have been working with for a number of years now. His works are always vibrant and intriguing, and we take great joy in printing them.
His most recent work, titled ‘Water Damaged Selfie’, recently won the inaugural M Collection Award for an unrepresented Victorian artist and was printed using Canson Infinity Platine – a beautiful semi gloss fibre rag that further enriches the bold saturated colour in Petlambs images.
Education and background:
I studied photography at the Queensland College of Art in the late 80’s and then did a post-graduate diploma at the Victorian College of the Arts in the mid 90’s. I had great teachers at these institutions both technically and conceptually.
Where are you based?
Melbourne is where my home-studio is. Most of my work is created in a built-in wardrobe in my bedroom — I call it the shooting cupboard.
How long have you been photographing for?
About 25 years. My first professional exhibition was a curated group show in 1989 called In Full Sunlight. It was coordinated by Luke Roberts and Scott Redford. I was thrilled to be invited into a show by such interesting artists.
Describe your photographic style?
On a formal level the work leans towards abstraction and is visually seductive using bold saturated colour. Conceptually I am interested in exploring where the act of photography begins and ends. This is because photography (especially analogue photography) is so process driven. To this end, I have always included extra steps in my photographic process, whether it be performance, sculpture, video or installation. Essentially one project feeds ideas into the next — in a continuum — and it has been a long slow evolution towards abstraction.
What camera/equipment do you use?
I have really embraced the shift to digital from analogue — it suits my personality better. I was always too impatient to finish a roll of film and would rush off to process it halfway through. Having said that, I did enjoy printing my own colour work. But the benefits that digital provides to my practise far outweighs my desire for darkroom time. I love the immediacy of digital and it is much easier to archive as well.
Gadget wise I use a Nikon D800 which I only recently upgraded to from a D80. My main lens is a Sigma 105 macro lens and I still use a Manfrotto tripod I bought in the 80’s. I shoot tethered to an old Mac laptop with an NEC 1990SX colour critical monitor attached.
For lights I use whatever is at hand, usually a number of tiny LED torches. I usually try to keep my lights as small and lo-fi as possible. My lighting stands are empty 2 litre milk bottles filled with scoria with aluminium rods shoved in.
Who inspires you?
Most of my inspiration comes from looking at other artists work and scientific illustrations and photographs. At the moment I am really interested in the linear quality of Brent Harris’ Swamp and Grotesquerie paintings (simultaneously blobby and graphic) and the colour gradients used by David McDiarmid in his Rainbow Aphorism series.
Tell us a little about your image that just recently won the M Collection Award:
The M Collection Award was an acquisitive prize judged by Jason Smith from Heide, Martia Smith from Gallerysmith and Mardi Powell from the M Collection. The piece I submitted was called Water Damaged Selfie. The idea of water damage is my latest fascination and to have it validated by the judges is very encouraging. As the starting point I took a very silly and colourful self portrait using a phone. This became the basis for the final work which was then taken through a process of re-photographing with water.
What’s next? (future projects or exhibitions)
I am now moving forward with my Water Damage Series. The idea for this work stems from water’s binary relationship to photography as creator and destroyer. In analogue photography, water is an essential part of the process, yet in an archival sense water is the enemy, a destroyer.
So my investigation wants to mirror this binary in a digital context. Water is the essential creative element in this work and is what gives it its unique aesthetic, yet in doing so destroys any figurative element in the process.
Further to this, I am interested in how water acts as a primitive lens. I love the perversion in using water this way. Basically subverting the optical quality of the photographic lens with something optically inferior.
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