Mark Peterman

Sometimes we need to describe our lives through thoughts and feelings. Often times they are intangible, slightly out of reach, and it requires a series of investigative photographs to bring those descriptions into focus. Photographer Mark Peterman has done just that with his series, Interacting with My Past. I was intrigued by his idea of returning not only to the place called home, but to the memories that shape the place, and by the idea that where we are born does not always define who we are.

After growing up in Michigan and Missouri, Mark attended the Kansas City Art Institute and continues to explore narratives with photographs and multimedia. His desire to be creative on a daily basis fuels his curiosity about the human experience and he documents things in sketchbooks as a way of remembering his life. His site reflects a curious mind, dipping into a variety of mediums. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona and is an editoral, portrait, and fine art photographer; in addition he creates multi-media and motion projects about memory and family histories.

Interacting with My Past: I am fascinated by memory. I find it to be simultaneously perfect and imperfect. You remember what you choose to remember and how you view your past is relative to what memories you keep.

This project is an exploration of my memory and how I remember my past. I have gone back to photograph the places and people who had an effect on me growing up in the midwestern United States. Having spent my formative years in Michigan, Missouri, and Kansas, I share a common bond with many other people who grew up between the coasts.

My memories of youth are mostly of an idyllic place in a midwestern setting. The landscapes that composed this land shaped my existence, whether it was the Great Lakes that touch Michigan or the endless wheat fields of Kansas.

While growing up in the Midwest, I also remember struggling with a restlessness. I had a constant desire to get out and pursue “something else.” I felt suffocated by these same midwestern landscapes and an attitude that this was “good enough.” As I got older I realized that many of the people around me felt the same way. Over time I felt I had to leave the Midwest to outgrow those feelings, but it lingers in my mind and has left an indelible mark on my character.

Going back today, I find that many of those same people I grew up with continue to struggle with this restlessness on a daily basis. I have found that when you go back to explore your past, the perfect, idyllic memories fade into a new imperfect reality. Time overtakes memory, as the places and people have evolved with growth and change. These images are part perfect memory, imperfect reality, and portraits of an ongoing restlessness. This is my experience Interacting with My Past.