Peter Fetterman on the Art of Collecting Photography

Longtime show exhibitor – and photography connoisseur extraordinaire – Peter Fetterman recently lectured for Leica on the art of collecting fine photography.

Born in London, Peter Fetterman has been deeply involved in the medium of photography for over 30 years. Initially a filmmaker and collector, he set up his first gallery over 20 years ago. He was one of the pioneer tenants of Bergamot Station, the Santa Monica Center of the Arts when it first opened in 1994. The gallery has one of the largest inventories of classic 20th Century photography in the country particularly in humanist photography. Diverse holdings include work by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Sebastião Salgado, Steve McCurry, Ansel Adams, Paul Caponigro, Willy Ronis, André Kertesz, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Lillian Bassman, Pentti Sammallahti, Sarah Moon and Jeffrey Conley.

During his lecture, Peter speaks with great passion about his first purchase (a chance encounter in Hollywood), his drive to collect (all collecting is autobiographical), and the photographer he calls his “constant obsession” (Henri Cartier-Bresson).

In Peter’s own words: The only mistakes I ever made were the photos I didn’t buy. If you see something that speaks to you – and haunts you – find a way to buy it. A great photo to me is one that changes me: I am one person before I see it, and another one after. Every photo I have ever bought in 40 years has touched me because it brought out something in me and I think that is what collecting is all about – it’s a form of self-expression.

See you at the show Peter!

Henri Cartier-Bresson MUNSTER, COUNTY KERRY, IRELAND, 1952 Gelatin silver print