So as 2017 draws to a close, the final installment of Take 5 for this year has been placed in the steady hands of Peter Ydeen. We discovered Peter's exceptional work via Instagram and have been fans ever since. He has carefully considered five of his favourite images from his vast collection of atmospheric night time captures.
About Peter Ydeen
Peter Ydeen studied painting and sculpture at Virginia Tech, under Ray Kass, (BA), Brooklyn College under Alan D'Arcangelo and Robert Henry, (MFA Fellowship) and at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture with visiting artists, Francesco Clemente, Judy Pfaff, William Wegman, Mark Di Suvero and others.
After studies, Peter made his way in a variety of jobs, including set construction, lighting, illustrations, architectural modelling working in architecture, stage, advertising and film. Later, after marrying his wife Mei li, they opened a gallery in New York City selling African, Chinese and Tibetan sculpture. Over the last several years Peter has concentrated on photography where he is able to use the many years spent learning to see. His series “Easton Nights” has been widely published and shown internationally.
Over the last few years Peter Ydeen has been photographing at night in the Easton Pennsylvania area. Starting with images of George Tice's elegant night shots in mind, it soon matured into much more than he had expected. The night has it's own visual rules, it's own color wheel, and it's own ethereal presence. City lighting is meant to light up objects in much the same way you would light a still life or a stage set. Coupled with the pink light emitted by the odd sodium vapor streetlights, Easton becomes a silent city of lit stages, all in unreal color and shadow. The silent and empty geometry with its decades of formation creates a character and almost mystical animism. The project is both addictive and cathartic, and what started as an exercise, became an interaction with the quiet shapes and exotic lights in this offbeat city.
Alive embodies that fantastic animism which lies dormant in our environments by day, but explodes at night. The houses become our companions with personalities of their own. The painter Charles Burchfield spent a lifetime trying to capture this radiance in our buildings and landscapes, which the camera seems to grab hold of so easily. The leaning structure in this photograph acts as if it wants to come and take a walk.
“The Devil is in the Detail” Drew’s Beverage reflects an abundance of character and reveals my love of “stuff”. The Dodge in the bush, the moonlight, the trash bag, the coke machine, and a level of nitty-gritty, which comes together in this image to talk to us.
I Want a Yellow House with a White Picket Fence
This is a photo of a house in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, which embodies an aspect of the “American Dream”. It also gives credence to the saying “Be Careful of what You Ask For”. I am attracted to this image itself for the fantastic fence and the richly textured tree and the eerie glow of the house. This was one of the earlier images from the series, and still one which speaks to me most.
That Tree on East and Ethel
That Tree on East and Ethel is one of the images, which exhales a romantic and lyrical and even mystical quality, almost fairy tale in nature. When I return from shooting, early in the morning, my camera often gives these to me, and I am always taken aback. There is far less post processing than one would imagine. These fairy tale landscapes are a reality which we have created and live in every day.
I am always drawn back to this photo because of the fantastic accidental design and composition, which come together to tell a story. Somewhere there is a man named Whitaker, who probably ran into the sign; and he had no idea he was leaving it at such an attractive angle and dangle.