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Peter Fraser interview

Like every year, PHotoEspaña will have a program of exhibitions, professional and public activities from 29th May until the end of August. One of the shows will be Mathematics of Peter Fraser (1953, Cardiff, Gales) curated by David Campany in which the artist reflects about the importance and presence of mathematics in our daily life and arts.

Taking advantage of his visit in Madrid, PHotoEspaña will organize in Descubrimientos Week one workshop the 1st and 2nd of June in PIC.A Alcobendas.Peter Fraser during two days will exchange his opinions and advises with the participants interested in finding their own and particular way.

Which is your objective or what do you want participants approach with your workshop Escaping the library?

In the modern world we are used to being inundated with images every single day, in so many ways, magazines, television, advertising, and social media. My belief is that many of these images and ways of other peoples seeing lodge themselves in our conscious and sub-conscious minds. This means that as photographers, we face a particular kind of problem. If we want to make photographs or photographic work which we feel is a 'personal expression' of our 'unique view of being in the world', then we need to find ways to suppress these 'other peoples images' and find the route to making our 'own expressions' of what being live means to us. This workshop is designed to help with this problem.

Which are the most common difficulties or problems that you see with photographers?

There is a misunderstanding especially with young photographers of the difference between wanting to make photographs and having to make photographs.

Nowadays there is a huge production of images and a big number of photographers. We want to know your opinion about this and how or when one artist finds his own direction between all of this.

I believe we all have a unique voice within us, but we have to find our own way to hear it.

Do you have contact with new and emerging photographers? 

Yes, I do, as I do some visiting teaching, and some teaching worldwide for the London College of Communication in London using an advanced Educational Skype application. So over recent years I have had students in Japan, South America, USA, Middle East, and many European Countries, and also I have some private students also. In addition I run my own Instagram account (peter_fraser9) which keeps me in constant contact with new ideas by younger photographers.

You have published various books with important publishing houses like Steidl. What do you think about what is happening now and the big success of photobook market and production? 

I feel the photobook phenomenon has been driven by publications like Martin Parr and Gerry Badger's 'History of the Photobook' series as well as many book competitions, and publishers like 'Blurb' and many others. However, there are so many books being published and released now that many of them are really not so interesting, and it's making it harder for quality publishers to sell their books as the market is so very saturated. Great photography books always stand out in time, but I feel that many published now will not be so lucky.

I suspect that we are going to see a resurgence of interest in 'physical prints' of interesting work, as well as a continuing and developing excitement for 'digital and interactive' work

It seems that now is more important for photographers publish a book that make an exhibition, what do you think about this and what is your experience on these fields

Actually, even though I understand why you say this, and for a photographer of my generation it feels natural, but I think one of the most avant -garde ways of working for some very interesting young photographers, is they are working offline and making it only possible to find their work through word of mouth, at popup shows, and happenings, which of course in some ways takes us back to earlier times of art history when an artist wanted to help ensure that the experience of an artwork was special.

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