Peter Coulson is an award winning Australian fashion photographer. Specializing in beauty, fashion and fetish photography, Coulson mixes a range of styles, fusing the latest fashion trends with his personal conceptual reflections. Coulson’s images are strong, sensual, and mysteriously elegant with a twist of his screwed up weird sense of humour. For more information read the interview below and check out his website www.peter-coulson.com.au.
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
Complex, yet simplistic, button pusher.
Whom do you look up to?
People I look up to for their photography would be Ansel Adams, Patrick Demarchelier, Irving Penn, Peter Lindbergh and Erwin Olaf.
Are there any personalities that have contributed to your successful career path?
My main influences would be Helmut Newton, Ellen Von Unwerth, Quentin Tarantino, Guillermo del Toro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
How did your photographic career start?
My first experience with photography was when I borrowed my dad’s Minolta for a Chuck Berry’s gig. I was photographing musicians and bands on the side initially. The passion grew over time, I just wanted to create. I can’t sing or paint, but photography I could do. I needed a way to express myself.
I am self-taught. I did go to photography college when I finished school, but was kicked-out after 2 months because I kept asking “why”. They could never answer my questions, and it was frustrating that I couldn’t get the answers.
What was your favourite project and why?
It would have to be my ‘In My Pants’ book, which I hope to finish in a years time. Over the past couple of years I am constantly asked “when are you going to do a book of your work?”, so I decided to do a book to raise $2,000,000 to fight cancer. It will be made up with 30% Celebrities 40% Cancer fighters /survivors and 30% everyday people all wearing just my 30 year old Levi 501 jeans.
Quotes and Wisdoms
How do you define creativity?
Being able to see or envision something, and create it into your own vision.
If you had one advice for someone seeking to live a creative life, what would you tell him?
Spend as much time as you can shooting what you love shooting. And do not rush things, take your time and be fussy. I will spend a full day perfecting lighting so I can get the exact shot I want correctly. I don’t ever move onto the next shot, settling for something so-so or planning to ‘fix’ it in Photoshop.
Do you have a favourite quote that describes what you truly believe in?
“Pay it forward” – Helping someone without expecting anything in return, only expecting them to ‘pay it forward’ to help someone else. And “keep it simple”, it explains itself.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your career as a photographer?
People not letting me be creative and do ‘my thing’, instead pushing me to do what they want.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at 21?
I don’t really have an answer. If I knew what I knew now at 21, my life would be very different. I am happy with my learning experiences.
Is there anything for which you would be ready to give up your passion for photography?
If I had to give up photography (that will never, ever, EVER happen), I would get back to being a Muso.
All images © Peter Coulson
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