Artists are inspired people. But what makes them create what they create? What lights the fire that produces such wonderful work? Here are a few questions that will hopefully inspire some answers.
This week we have Peter Ahrens, a South Australian photographer with a gift for capturing the natural world. His images are instilled with a clarity that only enhances the emotions they radiate. Moments in time frozen to be repeated by all those who see them. Award winning beautiful work. I’m very happy to have him here to share his inspirations.
Who are you? What factors in your life have led you to create? Was it an epiphany moment or something that has always been?
My name is Peter Ahrens and I’m an Australian landscape photographer from South Australia. I think my strong love for nature and the environment are the backbone of everything I do. When I was just a kid I was overjoyed to see documentaries on TV and always imagined myself going off and creating my own. As time progressed I went to see places of great beauty such as Ayers Rock, Kakadu, Mossman Gorge and the Great Barrier Reef with my family. While on these trips I would take lots of photographs. My parents must have seen something in it because for my 13th birthday they bought me a more serious camera. I think from then on it just grew. Having somewhat a technical mind I think that the photographic medium was perfect for me.
Where are you from, where do you live, and how does your location influence your art?
I’m from the small town of Lyndoch in South Australia and I’ve lived here all my life. We have a few natural reserves surrounding the town and the Mt Lofty Ranges running along one side. Being from a smaller, quieter, slower and more relaxed place I think makes a big difference to how I approach art. I love trying to capture a strong and emotional moment, while also keeping it simple and relaxing.
Were you ever distracted away from your art and creating by the need to make a living? Have you ever stopped creating?
For about 4 years I worked at my father and uncle’s agricultural company. This was not a bad thing as I learned a number of things about business from both of them. Of course while working there the whole time I was creating photographs and defining my style. It was always nice to see other people at the company enjoy them, emailing to family and using them as computer wallpapers. It was this time that I saved the money to begin my venture as a fine art photographer.
What do you create? Do you have a niche or do you spread your creativity across several disciplines? Do you have a preferred subject?
I create Australian landscape prints which are matted and can be framed to hang on the wall. Right now I have only one size of 60x20cm, but there are two larger sizes planned for the future. I will only take photographs of nature, but will include things like old ruins, jetties and bridges. I’ve mostly limited myself to always use a 3:1 panoramic ratio because I just love the way it looks.
What inspires you to create? Do you have any techniques to find inspiration?
Just getting out into nature is great for inspiration but I love looking at other people’s work too. Not just that of other photographers but also musicians, designers and writers. When I listen to a musical piece from Hans Zimmer, it is so packed with feeling, emotion and story. I always come away feeling how that’s what I want to create in a photograph.
How often do you create? Do you procrastinate? How do you balance between the things that have to be done versus the things you want to do?
I create every day, but not always photographs. I love design – this is something I can spend huge amounts of time on and is also a massive source of my procrastination. I’ve redesigned my website more times than anyone would care to count, and of course learnt a lot along the way but it’s easy to get too carried away. Generally there is nothing I don’t want to do, it’s just a matter of finishing the task I’m on now. This is a lot harder than it sounds because I love to try and perfect things, which I think is largely to do with how much I love what I get to do every day.
Where do you create?
I’ll create a photograph anywhere I can find a beautiful scene. Otherwise we have a dining table setup at home with our computers and notebooks, this is were we eat, design, draw, write and edit photographs.
What do you enjoy doing the most?
Coming across a new and breathtaking scene for the first time. I tend to get very excited and can’t stop talking. It’s a great deal of fun learning what the place is really about and finding exactly what it is I want to bring back in a photograph.
Do you have any advice for other artists?
I think you have to have big dreams but take little steps towards achieving them. Countless times I’ve bitten off more than I could chew and didn’t keep things simple. This just leads to nothing getting done. Always follow what you want to do, never change because someone else wants you to or because it might be more commercially viable. Art is about you, by trying to make something for everyone you make something for no one.
Where can you and your art be found?
You can find my Australian landscape photography here at my website – http://peterahrens.com.au . The collection is very limited right now but will be updated as time goes on. There is a mailing list where you can learn when each photograph is released and receive special pricing.