Interview: Peter Henrik Gall
Luca Curci talks with Peter Henrik Gall during THE BODY LANGUAGE 2021 at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
“I’m a Hungarian photographer with a versatile mind and many interests. My photography projects are connected to my studies, lifelong learning is my passion, I studied the last 12 years traveling around the world. I am a qualified private detective, healthcare manager, I studied studio arts, traditional dances, I finished my schools as an event producer, project manager and many more, and currently studying digital marketing management in order to professionally present my artworks for the public. My photographs reflect on different aspects of my personality, its development. The colorful photos usually radiate the ethnic and religious diversity I inherited. I have Uzbeks-Crimean Tatar, Russian-Lanai Chinese, Ashkenazi Jewish, Italian, Hungarian, German and many different roots that highly define my identity, the perspectives, style, themes of whatever I create. For “The Body Language” exhibition I chose to present some of my photographs from a project called “Burung – Faces in the crowd”, part of extended photo documentation, born in 2017/2018, in Bali. “Burung” means ‘bird’ in the Indonesian language, which is the main title of the whole photo documentation of my arts and traditional dance studies of this era”.
Luca Curci – According to you, what makes a good photo? Which details do you focus on?
Peter Henrik Gall – I think, considering a photo ‘good’ is really up to a subjective and personal perspective. There are so many styles and topics in the field of photography that makes it very hard to define the term “goodness”. Sometimes I look at my photos pridefully, but some days I would just simply erase them from this world. A good photo has the ability to speak to the soul. To communicate secrets, stories, emotions. A good photo is captured for the needs of a wandering soul. Since our needs are changeable, the same photo can’t be considered eye-catching for everyone and every time, but it will remain a silent mirror. A good photo speaks to the soul in its own language when the person is ready to listen. “The Body Language” features some of my photographs that belong to one of my bigger projects. This project is characterized by facial expressions. I emphasized the hidden emotions within storytelling, that was the most important detail I wanted to present with my project.
LC – When you take photos, are you usually inspired by the situation or do you find inspiration in yourself?
PHG – As I observed, I usually inspire others in my environment, more than they inspire me – which makes me occasionally overwhelmed by feelings, but in the end, I find an effective and creative way to pour out these emotions. That’s why I grab different cameras and use two different ways: I consider myself my own fluid muse and I take self-portraits in order to get rid of the unnecessary stress and my subconscious frustrations. On the other hand, I find huge inspiration in observing other human beings, following their body language, facial expressions, I’m trying to read their minds through the photographs I take of them. Many of my portraits seem to be well-timed since I generally watch my targets patiently and I am able to unconsciously count the seconds when the moment comes to capture their gestures and catch the highest peak of a certain emotional range of a situation.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
PHG – I don’t really find obstacles in creating artworks. I believe it is up to the mindset of a creator, how debilitating or facilitating a certain experience is for an individual. ‘The most challenging’ part is to make the people understand that there are countless ways to see ourselves. If we can see ‘through the glass darkly’, then we can find extremely positive ways to look at our own bodies, attributes, too. I feel like, I have no problem finding the middle way, but many people struggle with that. When someone meets me in person, they don’t think at all that I take photos of myself, or I can show different faces of the other people. But when I use my gear I can transform into anyone or anything that I want. I can show the beautiful sides of the people they never knew existed, ever. I have no problem with taking photos of strangers in public either since I usually hide behind the camera and I know that from my point of view they will look beautiful. I always say, look around and you find yourself in a world filled with inspiration and chances – grab them, and show yourself in the most beautiful ways! Think about challenges as lessons to be learned and nothing will become an insurmountable obstacle.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
PHG – It did not change too much. One thing has changed – and that’s the form and the level of expression. I started as an ‘average’ artist, with drawings, paintings – trying to find my way and experimenting a lot in the visual arts. Then I needed a period of silence to focus my energies on other fields of life. But my visions and goals always stayed the same, and like a sleeping Alien waited hibernated to burst out and articulate properly. I did not have the perfect level of skills earlier, or my equipment was not proper to show what I could, or what I wanted. But at the same time, I always knew I have the potential to fulfill my desires. My artworks were always a bit psychedelic, tense, personal and colorful. So I dare to say that my style didn’t change – I just found better ways to express my thoughts, feelings and there are still many ways to go!
LC – Do you use art to express something in particular? Is it like your medium of expression?
PHG – It is definitely a medium of expression. I used to have an active psychotic episode which was a milestone in my life. It helped me a lot to analyze my coping mechanisms, my subconscious intentions and led me onto an adventurous journey of healing. Art was, is, and will be the only way to understand the unknown language that my oppressed layers were trying to use, or talking to me through the forms of hallucinations and using a language of a suffering soul. Once I freed my mind with the help of art, my visions became clearer than ever, the noises and voices turned silent, and I could express myself in the most effective ways.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
PHG – I agree with the term “liquidity” in the vision of the gallery. I am very happy that I got the chance to show some of my prints at the event within this massive presentation. In my opinion, my portrait shots perfectly fit into the theme of “The Body Language” exhibition, since I’m also depicting the subconsciousness in my images and photographs. Seeing the other artworks of international artists at the event makes me feel honored since the gallery provides a prosperous platform to show our little worlds, and what worlds the others have!
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
PHG – Sadly, I could not visit the venue due to the lockdown, but as far as I watched the uploaded footage on social media, the gallery provides a perfect opportunity for artists to show their talents. It seems, and it is indeed a perfectly organized event. Big shoutout to ITSLIQUID Team.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
PHG – I enjoy cooperating with ITSLIQUID Team, I received instant help, or advice, whenever I needed it. I can be thankful for your continuous assistance, help and work.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
PHG – I have no suggestions. I was totally satisfied with everything, thank you.