Peter Ydeen: Capturing The Beauty Of The Ordinary

Peter Ydeen: Capturing The Beauty Of The Ordinary

by Brian Wells

Last updated

"Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph." - Matt Hardy

Early Life And Artistic Beginnings:

Every artist's journey is unique to their life experiences, and Peter Ydeen's story is no exception. Ydeen was born at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, the youngest of five children in a military family. A thirst for adventure characterized his childhood and encounters with a world of different cultures. Little did he know that these formative years would profoundly shape his artistic perspective.

Academic Pursuits:

Ydeen's journey into the art world began with his studies. He graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Arts degree and had the privilege of studying under Ray Kass, a renowned artist. This academic foundation laid the foundation for Ydeen's future artistic endeavors. His insatiable curiosity and passion for creativity pushed him to continue his studies. He then earned a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in painting and sculpture from Brooklyn College, an important milestone in his artistic career.

The Versatile Path: Advertising, Architecture, And Film:

After completing his formal education, Ydeen began a diverse career that led him to explore various creative industries. His roles span advertising, architecture, and film, including extensive collaborations with renowned designer Emilio Ambasz and special effects artist Bran Ferren. Ydeen's ability to apply his artistic skills to different fields has shown his versatility and ingenuity.

Influential Mentors:

Throughout his career, Ydeen has had the privilege of learning from influential mentors who have had a lasting impact on his artistic sensibilities. Among them were Philip Pearlstein, Lee Bontecou, and Alan D'Arcangelo, distinguished artists whose advice and ideas enriched his creative repertoire.

Ydeen's Move Into Photography:

While a focus on painting and sculpture characterized his early career, Ydeen's artistic journey took a significant turn in 2014 when he turned his attention to the world of photography. This change marked the beginning of a new journey in his creative life.

Commuter Motions: A Glimpse Into Early Urban Photography:

One of Ydeen's first photo series, "Commuter Motions," was taken during his daily commute from Easton, Pennsylvania, to New York. These motion-blurred photographs echoed early American modernism and recalled the work of the Italian Futurists and French Impressionists. Ydeen's ability to capture the essence of movement and the transience of moments has resonated with art lovers and critics alike.

Black White and Gray: A Romanticized Urban Landscape:

As his photography career grew, Ydeen began a journey to capture the essence of Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley. “Black White and Grey,” one of his series, offered a fictionalized perspective on urban landscapes. This collection brings out the delicate play of light and shadow and the beauty of everyday scenes.

Valley Days And Convergence Of Small Towns:

Another of Ydeen's series, "Valley Days," explores the unique character of the Lehigh Valley, characterized by the convergence of small towns. Through his lens, Ydeen celebrated the charm of these communities and their subtle but profound beauty.

Easton Nights:

“Easton Nights” is considered to be Ydeen’s most famous series. Inspired by the work of renowned photographer George Tice, Ydeen's nighttime photographs of the Lehigh Valley offer viewers a fascinating exploration of the region under the cover of night. Leo Hsu aptly described Ydeen's "Easton Nights" as "mysterious photographs that depict places we usually ignore and neglect, revealing them as places we cannot even understand."

Beyond Borders:

Ydeen's Global Photography - Ydeen’s creative vision has reached far beyond the borders of the United States. He began a photographic journey around the world and captured landscapes in North Africa, Central Europe, Mexico, and China. His lens offers a unique perspective on these diverse regions, giving viewers a glimpse into the rich spectrum of cultures and environments.

Waiting For The Palms:

In his series “Waiting for Palms,” Ydeen trained his camera on the urban landscapes of central Morocco and the Nile Basin. This collection was named a finalist for Best Photo Essay at the Maghreb Photography Awards and published in World Street Photography's annual publication, documenting some of the world's best street photography.

Ydeen's Signature Style:

"Easton Nights” remains the cornerstone of Ydeen’s portfolio. His photographs, taken in the night light, create an enigmatic atmosphere that transforms familiar places into something otherworldly. Ydeen's unique use of artificial light sources such as street lamps and billboards brings a sense of romance to the mundane and ephemeral.

Themes Of Cultural And Historical Shades:

As Dana Stirling so eloquently put it, Ydeen’s photographs are “intertwined threads of cultural, historical, and personal webs; they form a vast collection of small stories that weave together the narrative of an Easton on the one hand and the American journey as a whole on the other.”

House In Easton, Pennsylvania:

Beyond his artistic pursuits, Ydeen leads a busy personal life in Easton, Pennsylvania, with his wife Mei li. Together, they have run a successful business selling Chinese and African antiques in New York since 1991. Ydeen's many travels, notably to China, allowed him to witness the transformation of that country from isolated landscapes to a prosperous nation.

Personal Exhibitions:

Throughout his career, Ydeen has held solo exhibitions showcasing his artistic skills. Venues such as Prism Contemporary in Blackburn, UK, and the State Theater Galleries in Easton, PA, have hosted his captivating work.

Selected Group Exhibitions:

Besides solo exhibitions, Ydeen's photographs have been featured in some group exhibitions around the world, including major events such as Trieste Photo Days and the Copenhagen Photo Festival.

Notable Awards And Publications:

Ydeen's artistic talent has earned him prestigious awards, including the Gold Award in the special categories of the Prix de Photographie Paris and recognition in the Top 50 of the Rust Belt Biennale. His work has been featured in notable publications, such as the 2020 Easton Nights catalog published by Albright College.”

Peter Ydeen's Lasting Influence On Photography:

Peter Ydeen's artistic journey is a testament to the power of creativity and resilience. His ability to find beauty in the ordinary, illuminate the invisible, and capture the essence of diverse landscapes has left a lasting impact on the world of photography.

Find Beauty In The Ordinary:

In the world of photography, we consider Peter Ydeen a beacon for those who seek beauty in the ordinary. Its’ ability to transform the everyday into the extraordinary reminds us that art can be found everywhere and that, through the lens of a talented photographer, even the most mundane moments can become timeless works of art.

Peter Ydeen's journey, marked by innovation, curiosity, and an unwavering commitment to his craft, continues to inspire and fascinate art lovers around the world. As we celebrate his legacy, we remember that the world is full of hidden beauties just waiting to be discovered at the click of a button.


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