Interview / tutorial by Editor in collaboration with the artist Peter Hammer
The photographic universe presented by balances between photography and surrealistic paintings, such as the ones from Salvador Dali. He creates unlikely sceneries happening in fantastic coloured settings which make us travel through dreamland.
Thank you so much, Peter, for sharing your work with us.
How did you manage to achieve 'The End of Time'?
What were the different steps to realize this result?
Like most of my images, it starts with an idea.
In this case, I was doing a series of images based on society and how we fit in it.
This was the last image in the series and in spite of having done very well in international competitions, it always did worse than any other image out of that series.
In 'The Destruction of Time' – not yet on 1x, the concept was how we rebel against time and destroy time. In this image, I took it a bit further and thought what if time has been destroyed.
Like most of my surreal images, this is a collage of several images. In 'The End of Time', there are 41 different layers with 26 different images and the file size is just 1GB.
I always start with some sort of background layer but that initial layer might get replaced as the work progresses. A lot of the elements are recycled from previous creative images. Here for example the sky is taken from the 'A Long Walk' (which I just uploaded on 1x) and was done a number of years ago but it has been modified to fit in this image.
Other elements were occasionally created or usually extracted from other images.
I have a bit of a catalogue of objects I specifically photographed to use in my creations but most elements are taken from my huge library of images. I NEVER use clip art or images taken from the web so everything is original. If I need a particular image I will go out and take it. When progressing to obtain the final image, I still try different things. Sometimes it works but at other cases, ideas get scrapped as they don’t work.
Elements get moved around to fit the composition and I am usually guided by dynamic symmetry grids. As ideas can change while processing, it happens that the final image is very different from I had in mind.
I never create a sketch or storybook. It’s all just happening in my imagination.
I have to tell you that I am a big fan of Salvador Dalí. When looking at your works, I can find the spirit of his paintings. Am I wrong about that?
No, you are not wrong. I just love the work of Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte and other surrealists. During the lock downs we had last year and this year in Melbourne, I spent a lot of time creating my own versions in some of Magritte’s and Salvador Dali’s paintings.
I did a whole series on Magritte and will eventually upload some to 1x.
Where do you find your inspiration to create your works?
That’s a difficult question. Sometimes ideas just pop into my head but more usually it is from observing what is going on around me or from looking at other people’s work. I often try ideas, some work some don’t. Sometimes an idea morphs into something totally different. I also like playing around with different techniques such as in-camera motion (ICM) as in the image of Mordialloc Creek posted on 1x.
What equipment do you use?
I have been doing photography since my early childhood, inspired by my late mother’s interest. I did all my own monochrome work including making prints. I then switched to colour transparency film doing my own processing. Once I got married I had to resort to using print film. I switched to digital in 2005 using a Panasonic FZ20 on a tour in Africa. That got superseded by a series of Nikon DSLR cameras until Olympus released the OMD-EM1Mk1 in 2013. At that point, I tried it out and found it vastly superior in image quality to the D7000. Since then I have continually upgraded and now use an OMD-EM1Mk3 and a couple of EM1Mk2s. I have a huge range of mainly Olympus lenses but also a few Panasonic lenses and a Laowa super wide-angle lens.
My favourite lenses are the Olympus 8-25mm, the 12-100mm, and the Panasonic 100-400mm. I only shoot in jpg as I find that there is no benefit in shooting in raw and the physics bears this out.
What is photography to you? What place does it take in your life?
Before retiring in 2010, I worked as a physicist/electronic engineer and IT developer. My background was in physics. In my university days, I was jointly responsible for much of the electronic design and production of hardware for Australia’s first satellite which was launched in 1970 by NASA. I also contributed to 2 other amateur satellites one of which is still working after 40+ years in orbit. Since retiring I spend a lot of time either travelling or playing with photography and I have completely abandoned my earlier profession. Over the years I have visited about 40 countries and spent around a month or more on each of the 7 continents. My last trip was to Cuba and Canada in 2020. I love playing with images and while I still like conventional subjects such as landscapes, street photography, and architecture I am much more interested in creative photography. I like creating unique pieces of art which might express my own feelings and interpretations.
You can see many more images including landscapes and photo travel images from around the world on my website at: www.peterh.photography