Peter Garritano: "A great picture inspires more questions than it answers"
New York-based photographer, Peter Garritano, one of PDN's 30 New and Emerging photographers to watch, was not always set for a career behind the lens. In fact, Peter tried his hand at quite a few industries but felt he would never be much good at them. Finally, it was when he tried photography, that he felt he was pursuing a career that was right for him– and that it was. Peter Garritano's photography has been published in Elle, The New York Times, Vice and he has shot commercials for Delta and Pfizer. What made us reach out to Peter were his set of portraits, which show a mix of diverse individuals all with a strong mystical element to them, and as Peter describes, "inspiring more questions than it answers". Here to speak about his photography career and his tips and tricks on the industry, is an interview with Peter Garritano.
What is the purpose of your photography?
For me, it's a way to explore topics that interest me for one reason or another, and hopefully in doing so I'm able to shed new light on them or turn others onto them as well.
What was your inspiration behind getting into photography?
I was inspired by the work of other photographers that I'd seen and thought I'd like to get into it. I'd worked in a few other industries before becoming a photographer but in each previous position I never felt that I was doing was something that I'd ever be much good at. When I got into photography it seemed more feasible as a career to me.
Tell me about your Portraits project, what are you conveying here?
I'd been wanting to do a project on New Yorkers for a while and last year I became interested in the idea that the people in a city this large and diverse must be able to find a community no matter how uncommon or esoteric their interests. I started digging into that idea and ended up finding that personals ads offered a first-person look at the range of interpersonal needs we're seeking to fulfil.
Is there a particular narrative behind your pictures?
Hmm.. hard to say. No, I don't think so?
With a portfolio and catalogue as impressive as yours, how do you go about choosing what goes into a new shoot or project?
Thank you! I generally try not to lean too hard on things I've done before in the past to avoid getting into a routine. I like to constantly try new approaches, new topics, lighting styles, etc. I'm generally most motivated when I've got an idea that's unlike something I've done before. I think this also helps me grow as a photographer.
What makes for a great picture?
A great picture to me is one that's a bit reticent-- inspiring more questions than it answers.
What’s the hardest part of your creative process?
The unseen administrative side of things. Arranging all of the moving parts involve in a shoot can be a lot of work and not that much fun!
What was your favorite shoot to do over the last year?
I've been lucky to have had a few really fun assignments from the New York Times over the past year. One of which involved photographing the death of the retail mall scene in the United States. We had to play some cat and mouse with mall security.
What camera are you using at the moment?
I use a Canon DSLR, a Mamiya RZ67 and Mamiya 7.
What’s your favourite kind of camera?
I like the RZ best!