In the Art & Photography section of our Journal we pay homage to artists who represent significant inspirations to our brand. Today’s article is a tribute to monochromatic photography master Jason M. Peterson, whose moody, artistic work has earned him legendary status on Instagram.
A STUDY OF THE HUMAN CONDITION AGAINST ARCHITECTURAL SCALE.
Learning to see in black and white, and how to expose and compose for the grey tones is an art that requires study, experimentation and care, and it’s rare to see contemporary photographers who focus exclusively in this world. One who does, and have stunningly beautiful work, is Jason M. Peterson.
Having gradually transitioned from shooting his images using a simple iPhone to using a Leica SL, Q and M10a, Peterson has developed a unique style of urban and moody photography. His work showcases a dark combination of solid blacks, bright whites, and shades of grey, working with shadows, angles, and lines to draw out unique forms within his compositions. His use of symmetry is particularly effective at showing scale and depth.
His portfolio has a huge variety of photos, including cityscapes and street photography. They are bold and graphic, featuring a strong visual storytelling that reflects Peterson’s background in advertising. Peterson is a a creative director at his agency The Times, and his photography shows a broad sense of design and composition and a deep knowledge of photographic history.
Exploring the alleys and streets of Chicago and New York, Peterson captures vigorous street vibes of both cities, exploring the rare moments of quiet and isolation that exist amidst the chaos. Peterson sees his images as a study of massive urban scales vs the human condition, creating powerful compositions that perfectly fuse human subjects against the vast and scenic city environment, telling a story of the urban landscape and the people within it and capturing the moments that constantly happen and go by unnoticed.
His work jumps out as distinctive and unique, especially for its composition and tonal range. His work spans everything from cityscapes to landscapes, from aerial shots to minimalist scenes, but when you look at a photo of his, you know it is his. Looking at his work as a whole, you can tell that he thinks in the language of black and white.
TAKING TIME OUT OF THE EQUATION.
Drawing inspiration from his favourite b&w photographers like Harry Callahan, Hiroshi Sugimoto & Ray Metzker, Peterson has created a unique style that is as much graphic as it is photographic. Aesthetics that are new age and of the era, while at the same time feeling nostalgic in tone - reminiscing the iconic and often unparalleled black and white stories of the 40s of the last century. Peterson’s message is timeless: his impactful b&w photography is designed to take time out of the equation.
As he told Artifact Uprising, "black and white photography erases time from the equation. You can compare an amazing black and white image that was shot today to one from the 1940s and there is no obvious timestamp. When you picture the 1950s or 60s with your eyes closed, you can still imagine the color within the monochromatic tones. This style truly makes timeless images. It also allows you to focus more on the emotion in the image as opposed to the timeframe".
CAPTURING THE HUMAN EMOTION.
Though black and white photography is what he’s known for, Peterson doesn’t necessarily define himself by that choice. As he once told My Modern Met ‘To me, my photos aren’t about black and white at all. I am trying to capture the human emotion, make the viewer feel something. Black and white helps focus on that emotion - colour is one less thing to be in the way of seeing the feeling’.
Peterson's objective is to make people feel something when creating a photograph - whether this is black and white or colour, looking for micro-moments that are honest and human, finding the intersection of light, composition and a real human moment.
We feel a strong connection with the poignant work of Jason M. Peterson. We share his passion for juxtaposing urban settings with emotional moments, striking a balance that touches people who view his work. His impactful B&W photography that is season-less and take time out of the equation.
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Jason M. Peterson is a Chicago-based photographer, creative director, and executive with 25 years of creative experience in television, print, interactive advertising and brand identity. Raised in Phoenix Arizona, Peterson moved to NYC in the early 90s to pursue a career in advertising. He now lives in downtown Chicago where he has recently established his own content agency The Times. Peterson’s work in advertising has certainly impacted his photography, perfecting his ability to tell a story and evoke emotion through monochromatic imagery. With over 1.1 million followers, his moody, artistic work has earned him legendary status on Instagram.
You can find his latest work on his instagram account @jasonmpeterson.
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UNTAMED STREET is a contemporary men’s and women’s footwear brand, born from the union of London creative spirit with the Italian art of shoemaking. Our design code is inspired by modern and progressive arts, monochrome photography and urban landscapes. Bold and unapologetic, we blur the boundaries between art and fashion, embedding techniques used by painters and contemporary artists and fusing the artistry of luxury with the ethos and aspirations of modern city life.
read more about our philosophy.