Bio information supplied by Mike Peters for the 2009-02-23 meeting of the Somerset County Photography Club (NJ)

Mike Peters
Artist Statement / Bio

Charles Baudelaire characterized a flâneur as a stroller of city streets who seeks to understand and portray the city as he walks while remaining a detached observer. In that very same way, the inspiration for my photographs comes from the world around me.

I wander neighborhoods similar to the one I was raised in – an industrial, working class suburb in New Jersey.  In the faces and facades that I encounter along the way, I find a patina that can only be derived from a life lived hard.  There exists an unpretentiousness for which I feel a close affinity, and in which I see much that is familiar yet want to know better. I find beauty in these faces and facades, especially when they give a hint to the inner complexities that lie beneath the surface.

How people present themselves, the clothes they wear, the way they hold their faces, their body language and environments are all elements that might allow the viewer to imagine a story about what they see. 

There is a sense of ordinariness to these people and places that lie in stark contrast to life as portrayed in the media.  There is nothing at all sensational going on here, just life being lived by ordinary people who do not regularly demand our attention.  These are the people and places I am interested in; these are the people and places my work is all about.

I am currently the staff photographer at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ.  I also work for a variety of clients on a freelance basis shooting products, architecture, interiors, portraits, and all types of events.  Before joining the staff at Montclair State, I made images for corporate annual reports, advertising, magazines, text book publishers and public relations.  I was a staff newspaper photographer for 3 years in NJ and freelanced for the NY Times for about 5 years.

I have been heavily involved with digital imaging since 1996.  However with a long background in traditional film workflow, my goal with digital is to keep it looking film like.  For clients I use digital capture only, and for personal work I shoot film, which I scan directly from to make digital C-prints.

From: Mike Peters
Mar 24, 2010 7:15 AM
Hi David,

Thanks again for last night, it was great to be able to have such an enthusiastic and appreciative group looking at my work.

One thing that slipped my mind, and that I hope you can forward to the rest of the club, is that when I go out and shoot, I still struggle for the first few frames to get over my apprehension about photographing strangers on the street. It's natural to feel that.
One way I overcome that apprehension is to ask myself, what is more important, indulging the fear or getting the photograph? The answer is always to get the photograph, but there are times when it takes some time to arrive at that answer, even now.

Also, if any member has questions, please tell them to feel free to email me.

All the best,

The pictures that Mike presented can be viewed on his site,, or watched in his video, "TheDream", by Mike Peters,