Peter Kares has been a family friend for over 30 years. Alex and I were at his home recently where he cooked us an amazing dinner and showed me some of his photography. I immediately thought that since he is so creative and based in L.A., his work would be perfect for insidewink.
Street Photographer Peter Kares
What started you on the path of photography?
Not so much what, but who. I was 8 years old living in post war London with my uncle Max and grandmother. Max had an old Leica camera which he acquired during the war. He was an avid photographer taking candid shots of ordinary people doing ordinary things. It also allowed him to meet some very pretty women. He created a dark room out of our coal bin which was the only place in our flat that was completely dark. Providing you didn’t mind the dust and soot it worked perfectly.
What truly amazed me was that by processing some film with chemicals and then shining a bright light on some paper and again dipping that paper in solutions an image would appear. The image would appear slowly as if an apparition and then it would come into full black and white brilliance. I would look at those images and would create a story about what was happening in the photo. Good photos tell a story and that is always my goal.
Who gave you support early on?
I’m not sure that the question is particularly relevant since photography has always been a hobby until I became semi-retired. I cannot compare myself to people who are true professionals and have made careers out of photography. However, when I started taking more and more photos as I had more time on my hands, my wife Elaine strongly encouraged me to pursue this endeavor more deeply. She has been an ardent supporter of my work and has sold several pieces in her contemporary art gallery.
What does your photography aim to say?
I call myself a “street photographer” since I don’t work in a studio and generally work completely alone. My professional background was in motion pictures, so I tend to see things in frames. I try to see things in 2 dimensions and visualize how they would appear as a photo. I can be driving down a street and see something that will just strike me as unique, I’ll stop the car and start shooting. Other times I will pick a certain section of town and spend an afternoon taking pictures of people and events from one location. I try to engage the people I shoot and have met some very interesting folks doing this. Most of all I want my pictures to evoke some thought, I want to tell a story.
What do you love about Los Angeles?
Wow, who would have thought that I would have to answer that question in the middle of the chaos that we are experiencing? Other than the current corvid pandemic and the rioting and looting that is going on, its not a bad place to live and the weather is great. Elaine and I have often said we would love to move and get away from all this mayhem. Then we start going through alternative places and have yet to come up with a better location.
I lived and worked for many years in New York City. Though LA is the hub of film industry, as an independent film maker NY was the 2nd best location. In 1979 I moved to LA to make a film and stayed for 7 years always complaining about LA’s lack of all the things that abound in NY. In 1986 I had to move back to NY for business and I was thrilled to do so. Back to the fine restaurants, the shows, the museums, etc., etc. For the first month or so I was ecstatic, then you start to notice all the small annoyances that become major gripes. Overpaying for almost everything, the noise, the grime, the never ending construction, the people jostling you on the street. Elaine said it best when she said; “there are the same amount of crazies in LA as in NY, but here we see them from our car window and not shoulder to shoulder with them on the street”. So until further notice, “I LOVE LA”
What do you consider success?
A good picture, that special one that speaks to you and you think, “I’d put that on my wall”.
What inspires you?
Every day I see thousands of images taken by thousands of talented people. We see billboards, commercials, fine art, images on the internet of distant and exotic locations, and so much more created by ordinary people who have something to say. Modern technology has made everyone with a phone a potential Ansel Adams. That is awe inspiring.
What is the best piece of advice given to you?
“If someone else did it, so can you.”
Pie Cake or Ice Cream?
Any cake from “Sweet Lady Jane“
By JEAN TREBEK
Jean is a Professional Religious Science Practitioner, Reiki Master and Sound Healer. She grew up on Long Island, NY, and now lives in Los Angeles. She has two wonderful adult children, Matthew and Emily, with her beloved late husband, Alex. Jean enjoys taking long walks, watching movies, and traveling. She is very grateful for her family, friends, Luna (the dog) and good coffee.
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