Peter Untermaierhofer on celebrating life through photography.
Abandoned places might induce a sense of melancholy for most. However, for Peter Untermaierhofer, they inspire a sense of beauty and romanticism due to the memories attached. We delve into this photographer’s mind.
Born in Eggenfelden (Germany) and a qualified engineer in Media Technology (University of Applied Sciences), Peter completed a semester in photography at the James Cook University (Australia). The main subjects of his photography include lost and abandoned architecture and cars. His works have been showcased as a part of exhibitions and publications across Germany - including the ‘urbEXPO’, the Strok Art Fair, the KOKON and the MucAmie Concept Store.
Ever since he was a child, Peter had a fascination for objects that have aged beyond their purpose. The stories offered by each invention or an architectural marvel of yore had him captivated. He remembers coming across old factories of the industrial age, now lying defunct. Or the large airplane shelters built during the great war, never completed to serve their purpose yet standing proud against time. Peter marveled at the raw beauty of the past, seeing beyond the emptiness into the promise the spaces once held. In absolute nothingness, Peter saw hope and he continues to photograph it, translating it for the masses.
It is a race to catch a glimpse of these places, before they give in to the age. Balancing his schedule to accommodate car photography projects, Peter plans tours to abandoned buildings and pursues his passion. He hopes to capture their presence amongst us, before they disappear. While time rarely permits him to publish all of his photographs, his satisfaction lies in the fact that the opportunity has not been missed.
Like an odd tune of a guitar that brings us to the reality of a song, he shares how his pursuit of passion has to be commercially pushed, in order to truly establish his expertise in this genre of photography. There is a need to step out of one’s comfort zone, push oneself ahead and stake claim to an identity. Peter studies new developments and observes all trends, sharpening his skills every passing day. Ever willing to subject his own work to a critical analysis, Peter strives to be better despite his sheer brilliance.
As we seek to understand the message he is attempting to convey, Peter employs an analogy of a human being passing away. Our possessions, ever so alive while we are, fall into decay the moment we step beyond. Our loved ones might care for a while, but mostly, all material objects end up being a burden on the generations to come. That could be a state of sadness, or we have a chance of celebrating things for what they were.
Everything around us that makes our world has a bit of ourselves in it. Our chairs and our desks are an extension of who we are. Our homes and our schools stand for the society we have built. It is this beauty that should not be ignored, even as death comes walking by.
Peter invokes Earl Hickey, a former criminal who made a list of all the life’s mistakes and guided others on the path of Karma. This inspiration serves the purpose of looking back on what has been done, with eyes of love and forgiveness. This asks us to let go of resentment and self loathing, and to embrace the present and the promising future.
Despite all darkness, we ought to find the light and celebrate life. Peter’s photography offers us a peek into this beauty, perceived to be lost yet very much there.