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Jos Peeters: Photographer of the week

by Yvette Depaepe
Published the 30st of November 2020

Jos Peeters' motto is
'one eye sees and the other feels' according to a quote by ~Johan Klee '.  His rather dark and gloomy portraits contain a narrative inspired by the moment he took them.  Let's discover more about the artist behind his work.


'In the dark'

I am Jos Peeters, fifty-three years young and born in Bree, Belgium. I moved to the Netherlands twelve years ago, where I am currently living in IJsselstein near the city of Utrecht. There I also work full-time as a Visual Merchandiser at Ikea.

However, my greatest and longest standing passion that held my fascination for over twenty-five years is visual storytelling by transforming portrait pictures I shot into dramatic scenes, depicting both fictional and existing stories through Photoshop.

Let’s start at the very beginning. Around twenty-five years back, my brother first took up photography which quite sparked my interest. After a while I bought myself a Nikon D90, which was a nice device to play around with. Many years later portrait photography grabbed my interest, so I got myself a small at-home studio. It was amazing, approaching random people and asking them to pose for my camera, which quite some of them gladly did. It was very rewarding to let my imagination run wild and bring out stories of these people that remained hidden at first glance.



When taking somebody’s portrait I come up with a narrative that I in turn tell through Adobe Photoshop; translating what I pick up on during shooting and editing into a clear visual. When a story calls to me I get to work without completely knowing beforehand how it will turn out, letting myself be freely inspired in the moment. This of course entails loads of experimentation until I am satisfied with the end result.


'Calculated model'


I do not consider myself a photographer but rather a storyteller of single moments. But without photography, my work would of course not exist. I prefer to shoot in a studio with a single light source, which can be challenging but offers immense possibilities for creating ambiance by working with light and shadows.


'the light'

Over the years I have worked on the technical side of photography and on my Photoshop skills, always aiming for perfection, though I know better that it does not exist. Still, knowing that it is ultimately unattainable, perfection remains worth striving for to keep ambitiously improving.


'Be yourself'


Visitors to several past expositions have pointed out that most of my work is quite dark and gloomy, and I suppose it is. I have no further explanation for it besides that it simply captivates me, the dramatic. I can, nevertheless, trace my own dark years in the pieces I created and which reflect those times, like the following work:


'The demons in yourself'


Almost every creation has its own story that is uniquely mine; no one apart from myself knows these stories, including my most beloved. There are a few exceptions, however, such as the following piece I made for this woman who lost her child. The title speaks for itself.


'Hold your head above water'


The next piece is also deeply expressive. After having travelled a difficult, dark path you arrive at a crossroads, ready to finally take another path. You are still carrying your protection (umbrella), but what will you do? Hopefully you toss it aside and make your way towards the unknown.


'End of the road'


One of my own favourite creations is the following. I am satisfied with it considering the technical difficulty. I hope you will be able to unravel its story, or perhaps your own. Simply getting someone to think about it makes it a success in my eyes.


'Walking in the unknown'


Urban photography has also always attracted both me and my brother Patrick Peeters (pat2006), who also shares his work on 1X.

Together we would tour Belgium in search of abandoned buildings to capture. Our photographic styles differ quite a lot, his being very pure and immaculate. Here is one of the pictures he took:


'Abandoned...' by Patrick Peeters


By contrast, here is another work of mine with the same urban subject, this time with dramatic light and shadows as is typical for my creations.


'Ghost in an orphanage'


Currently I am using the Nikon D750 camera, which meets my needs. I still believe the person in front and behind the camera ultimately makes the image, and not the equipment. Although one does of course want the image to be technically strong too.


'child's tear'


I am often amazed at the extraordinary works of talented artists and photographers, but I try not to take direct inspiration from them because it would influence my own work. If I am being honest though, it subconsciously happens regardless, but I nevertheless try to withhold myself. I hold deep respect for these artists who are able to stir my feelings with their works. It is exactly that, which is of great importance to me. I can only hope my creations move people the same way, both positive and negative, it does not matter. Living is feeling. That is what I experience here on 1X and I thank all of you for portraying and sharing this visual creativity and authenticity.

I deeply value realism and attention to detail in my art. While working with fantasy worlds and Photoshop, the whole only comes to life when the small details are incorporated seamlessly. So, my tip for starting members: mind those details and let your imagination run wild without losing yourself in it. And of course, practice, practice, practice and discover!

I would like to end with you this quote by Paul Klee: 'one eye sees and the other feels.'




'Dangerous eyes'


Reading the recently published magazine article “Serendipity in Photography or …  Being there versus going there”
 by Yvette Depaepe, I was pleasantly surprised to see the photo
“A lady’s eye” by Susanne Stoop 


'A lady's eye' by Susanne Stoop


The man in the foreground is holding a photo I once made in his arms! When and where was this image taken, I wondered. Happily, Susanne could refresh my memory. She took the picture in 2012 when members of the photo collective ImageCreative – I was one of them – were setting up a group exhibition in a cultural centre in Leiden in the Netherlands. A wonderful memory of days gone by.

Jos Peeters 

Goed man! Ik wist niet dat je ook op 1X zat?
Jos, I really appreciate this article that helps me discover where your passion comes from. Your work is powerful and profound. Every expression, every pose you capture tells a very strong and unique story. Inspiring. Congratulations for your work and thank you so much Yvette for giving us the gift of your articles.
Thank you so much Roxana. It's move me
It was really extremely interesting to read your story and through it to understand the origin of your way of feel photography, the source of your inspiration and your creativity. I honestly didn't know your works before reading this article, but I was really impressed by the depth and intensity of your faces and compositions, and I can't wait to visit your gallery to get to know you better. So sincere congratulations and thanks for sharing your story with us. And thanks also to Yvette for once again bringing to our attention a very talented author like Jos. Greetings. Sergio
Thanks for your appreciation. Sergio.It's a pleasure to me to discover all the talented photographers on 1x.
Thank you a lot for your kind words Sergio
Congratulations with the 'Photographer of the week' feature and many thanks for your fine collaboration, Jos. Cheers, Yvette
No thank you Yvette