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The Questionnaire : Peter Fetterman by Carole Schmitz


Peter Fetterman : A Passion for Images

Born in London, Peter Fetterman has been passionate about photography for over 40 years. Originally a filmmaker and collector, he established his first gallery in 1988. He was one of the first tenants of Bergamot Station, the Santa Monica arts center that opened in 1994.

His gallery has one of the largest collections of classic 20th century photography with works 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.

Initially very inspired by Henri Cartier Bresson, through his seminal book “The Decisive Moment” (“Images à la Sauvette”), Peter also had the great honor of working with him for the last 14 years of his life.

His desire through his gallery is to promote awareness of one of the most powerful mediums in the world.

As a collector, he was always attracted to very humanistic images, images that helped him understand different cultures he had not known or places he had never visited.

Moreover, the filmmaker in him still thinks that there is a real link between the love of cinema and the love of images. At the end of the day, you want to move and be moved, touched and be touched. Photography and film evoke specific moments that we remember distinctly and that haunt us.

On the occasion of the release of his book “The Power of Photography” published by ACC Art Books, this lover of beautiful images agreed to submit to our questionnaire


Instagram : peterfettermangallery
Website :


Your first photographic trigger ?
Peter Fetterman : Seeing the physical print of Max Yavno’s “Premiere at Cathay Circle” my first photo purchase in 1979 for $400.

Max Yavno 1911-1985 – Premiere at Carthay Circle Los Angeles, CA , 1949 (Printed 1970’s) – © 2022 Max Yavno


The man or woman of images who inspires you?
Peter Fetterman : It has to be Henri Cartier Bresson, my photo god.

The image you would have liked to make?
Peter Fetterman : Henri Cartier Bresson “Srinagar” Kashmir, 1948.

Henri Cartier-Bresson 1908-2004 – Srinagar, Kashmir, 1948 © 2022 Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos, courtesy Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris


The one that moved you the most?
Peter Fetterman : Roman Vishniac “The only Flowers of her youth”.

Roman Vishniac (Russia, b. 1897-1990) – Sara, the Only Flowers of Her Youth, Warsaw, Poland, 1939 (Printed before 1960) © Roman Vishniac. Gift of Mara Vishniac Kohn, Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.


And the one that made you angry?
Peter Fetterman : Any photograph of Donald Trump makes me angry.

A key image in your personal pantheon?
Peter Fetterman : David Bailey. “John Lennon and Paul McCartney”. My youth!

David Bailey – John Lennon and Paul McCartney © 2022 David Bailey.


Which is quality needed to be a good photographer?
Peter Fetterman : Patience, Energy, Passion and comfortable shoes.

The secret of the perfect image, if it exists?
Peter Fetterman : The perfect image is one you can never forget like any great Kertesz.

The person you would like to photograph?
Peter Fetterman : Julia Margaret Cameron.

An indispensable photo book?
Peter Fetterman : Henri Cartier-Bresson “The Decisive Moment”.

The camera of your early days?
Peter Fetterman : Brownie Box Camera.

The one you use today ?
Peter Fetterman : Leica.

Your favorite drug?
Peter Fetterman : Pasta.

The best way to disconnect for you ?
Peter Fetterman : Walking by the Ocean.

Your greatest quality ?
Peter Fetterman : Enthusiasm.

A picture to illustrate a new bank bill ?
Peter Fetterman : Elliott Erwitt, “Valencia”.

Elliott Erwitt 1928 – Valencia, Spain, 1952,printed later © 2022 Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos


The job you wouldn’t have liked to do?
Peter Fetterman : Being a dentist.

What is the importance of photography in your life ?
Peter Fetterman : It is my life.

Your greatest extravagance on a professional point of view and as a photographer?
Peter Fetterman : Buying expensive photographs I cannot really afford.

The city, country or culture you dream to discover?
Peter Fetterman : Tibet.

The place you never get tired of?
Peter Fetterman : Paris.

 Your biggest regret?
Peter Fetterman : Je ne regrette rien as Piaf sings.

Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok or snapchat, what is your opinion about social media ?
Peter Fetterman : I have nothing to do with social media.It bores me and is a waste of time.

Color or B&W?
Peter Fetterman : B&W.

Daylight or artificial light?
Peter Fetterman : Daylight.

If God existed would you ask him to pose for you, or would you opt for a selfie with him?
Peter Fetterman : Neither. I would respect his/her privacy.

The image that represents for you the current state of the world?
Peter Fetterman : Sebastião Salgado, “Figure 8, Goldmine”.

Sebastião Salgado 1944 – Gold Mine, Serra Pelada, Brazil, (Figure Eight), 1986 © Sebastião Salgado


What is the world missing actually ?
Peter Fetterman : Respect for others.

If you had to start everything again ?
Peter Fetterman : I wouldn’t change anything I have had a wonderful life.

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