In his conceptual photography, Ralf Peters stages the character of everyday objects and locations, presenting them in a new light. Reduced to their essentials, motifs such as bridges, petrol stations and landscapes are abstracted to the essence of their colour and form, appearing to dissolve into pixels.
Peters challenges viewers to question what they see by blurring the line between photomontage and documentary photography. In doing so, he criticises the image aesthetics of consumer culture and the artificial world presented through digital image processing, which skews the human understanding of "reality".
The artist approaches his subjects conceptually; observation and documentation of moments are the starting points for his practice. Peters studies and documents places and objects over long periods of time, carefully analyzing their details. He then assembles the various snapshots he has collected using a freely structured post-processing technique, changing and reshaping the images. His montages are created similarly to the manner in which a sculptor brings materials into form, or how a painter explores varying colour combinations.
Ralf Peters' desire to depict the real, the human, the natural and urban, has been a theme throughout the history of art and photography. With the development of digital photography as a mass medium, the question of authenticity in presentation of the real has often been addressed playfully. Digital image production rooting in abstraction and formal variation became a major trend in the history of digital photography in the late 1960s and 1970s. Early experiments such as those by Nancy Burson or Charles Csuri documented the characteristic features of the medium expressed through repetition and variation, and challenged the idea of the original.
Ralf Peter's methodology is related to these developments. Subjects are transformed and abstracted until they become unrecognisable ciphers of their original form, and as Hito Steyerl also attests in contemporary photography, shakes up the perception of the real.
Ralf Peters studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig, the École des Beaux Arts in Nîmes and the Akademie der Bildenden Künste Munich. At the beginning of his professional career he used the traditional media of painting and sculpture, before dedicating himself to photography and digital photomontage since the late 1990s. Ralf Peters lives and works in Hamburg.