Peter van Stralen studied to become a graphic designer at the Academy of Arts in Arnhem, The Netherlands. During this study, his interest in photography was awakened. Since then, he has been working as an autonomous artist/photographer, whose non-commercial activities have mainly been focused on staged black and white photography.
Apart from this, he is also active as a photographer in the field of art and culture in general. His photographs have been published and exhibited many times and in many different countries, from the famous Leica Gallery in Germany to the 25CPW Gallery in New York.
He likes to describe himself as a ‘two-dimensional sculptor’ who prefers to work with female dancers, since they are able to combine power with grace in a very natural way. His style is strongly influenced by his background as a graphic designer: it is rather simple and direct. That is why he played with the female body forms in a straightforward fashion: to him, ‘less’ often means: ‘more’. In this sense, he can be considered a minimalist. Both form and composition play an important part in his works, and since, in his opinion, color often distracts from the essence of an image, he prefers black and white photography: ‘If you take an image of a naked person in color, you get a picture of flesh; if you take an image of a naked person in black and white, you get a picture of forms’. None of his images was digitally manipulated: everything you see on the image portrays the actual pose in his studio. In order to avoid fashionable or time related influences on his works, they were produced in a time- and space less environment. His photographs have no titles or any other kind of information: the interpretation of the images is left to the viewer. Moreover, since the dancers act as interpreters, he also tried to avoid any identification of the person behind the figure on the photograph, thus fully focusing the viewer’s attention on the form of the image.
In this series ‘ODD BODIES’ he emphasizes themes like alienation and estrangement by photographing the female body from a different perspective, in which women are no longer just familiar and sensual, but also pleasantly strange and fascinatingly versatile. He tries to show the female body in a way that makes you wonder again about seemingly ordinary forms. Therefore, this photo series is a reflection of his admiration of these dancers. [Official Website]