World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 395 - Peter Veltman Revisited

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 395 - Peter Veltman Revisited

Five years ago, Peter Veltman showed trees, landscapes and animals that radiated a great tranquility in the exhibition 'Een Stille Blik / A Quiet Gaze'. Recently there was a new exhibition entitled ‘Soms was het stil’/ 'Sometimes it was quiet'.

Veltman has a good eye for form and composition. Sometimes it is almost abstract work. I speak to Peter Veltman at the end of the exhibition.


He found stillness, he says, but he wasn't looking for it. “It comes from within, my feeling is searching, as it were. Most photos have that stillness in them. For me, a photo has to have a soul.”

We are looking at a photo of the sea at Zandvoort. It's a bit foggy, calmly the waves roll to the beach. A lonely dog is walking. There is no horizon, the sea seems to disappear into the sky. Veltman: “I love fog, then you don't see the ugly things.” And not only that, it also gives him the opportunity to make a beautiful composition. He points to the photo of the Grimburgwal, where the fog helps to create a nice intermediate shape.

The Vliegen Forest (Het Vliegenbos)

Not all his photos are black and white, there are also some color photos, such as of the trees in the Vliegenbos. You can see the long thin trunks of the trees in the snow and the very light green leaves that have not yet fallen. "I have a light touch of color in the color photos, I'm not too fond of harsh colors."

He has known the Vliegen Forest since childhood. “I first came here when I was in kindergarten. With 35 children from the class we went there from the then car-free North. I was 4 years old. When I was 12 I thought of a place in the back of the forest where I had been. A fen where no one came. And 53 years later, in 2012, it was still there. I took a photo of it, which would form the first photo of a series of the Vliegen Forest, a series that grew to about 1000 pieces.” A few of them can be seen in the exhibition and in the book 'Sometimes it was quiet'.

The animals

Birds, ducks, cows and horses can be seen. Captured in a special way, either in a weird environment, or in a special composition. “It is not primarily about the animals, but about the overall picture.”

The people

There are unposed portraits, sometimes from a distance, such as the couple in an embrace on the pier to the Hoogovens near IJmuiden or two people on a bench, almost black, with the strongly outlined facades of houses behind them. Sometimes closer, such as the tramp with luggage and two dogs or the passengers on the ferry on the IJ.


There is emotion in all photos, but it is not superimposed. Not only on all tree, landscape and animal photos. But also, for example, in the photo of the two elbows of the couple at the Tolhuispoort or the girl in a white party dress on the Klaprozenweg. “It's not posed. She stood there like that, I photographed very quickly.”

Veltman: “The emotion comes from both the subject and the composition. There must be a hidden seducer in a photo. Something invisible, unnoticeable. When you see the photo for a second, you say 'Oh, what a beautiful photo', but you don't know why. If that's the case, it worked for me.”

The tender look

As curator Sebastian Rypson writes, “Veltman's empathy for both his subjects and objects is palpable. This is not a photographer of the grand gesture, but of the tender gaze, of the sensitive moment. With the heart of a poet, Veltman brings together the image he already has in his head with the ethereal moments that come his way.”

The book 'Sometimes it was quiet' (Hard cover, printed in full colour, size: 29x29 cm, 124 pages, 111 photos) ISBN 978-90-903616 16 3-5, can be obtained from Peter Veltman, p.s.m.veltman@chello. NL

Photo 7, Portrait of Peter Veltman by Pete Purnell



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