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Photo essay Street photography

Pierre Terver

Photographer Pierre Terver makes pictures of surfers from a distance and in black and white. The surfers become small abstract figures in the wildness of the sea, a unique approach to surf photography.

Tell us about your background - what path led you to becoming a photographer and doing what you are doing today?
I actually started to draw and paint before I took on photography. 2 aspects made me lean towards the later: I was never that great at drawing and painting (hard truth) and as I spent many years travelling around and living in different countries, my camera became somehow one of my best friends. From then on it has been a constant adventure, learning techniques, working on different subject matters and getting to scratch the surface of this wonderful media.

What led you to the type of work you are making now?
Black and White has always been an evidence for me, I think it even comes  from my original love of drawing to be honest. Graphite, charcoal etc… make for a wonderful experience of the BW approach. Then the 2nd major influence in what I am doing now must be the time I discovered the work of Michael Kenna. I was literally amazed by his work and started to research more about long exposure. I think this is the first time I actually spent time learning a photography technique with a specific goal in mind. From then one there was no coming back from carrying my tripod and filters with me everywhere.

In your opinion, what circumstances can guarantee a good photograph?
Well for me there is simply no guarantee in photography. Like any form of art I guess it really comes from your own mood and energy to make things happen. You might plan as best as you can the perfect shooting, taking into account everything, the tide,  the wind, the swell size, the sun position etc… but then nature throws something unexpected and you need to deal with it. The capacity to adapt, re-think, take a new creative stance on your idea is certainly the best thing you can do to keep your flow going.

What defines a good picture for you? Or what are you looking for in a picture?
Of course good or bad is all subjective and I will gladly let other people bring their views on that but I look for emotions in photography. As long as you feel something and the narrative speaks to you then I believe it works.

Who is your photography hero and why?
Outside of the influence of some big names of landscape photography like the aforementioned Michale Kenna or Ansel Adams I do love the work of Fred Mortagne. His eye, the way he composes his photographs are just second to none as far as I am concerned.

© Pictures by Pierre Terver