Regine Petersen

Image collector

We know from astronomy that when we gaze at the stars in the night-time sky, whether with or without a telescope, we are looking into the past. Because contrary to our perception, many of the stars we can see from earth no longer exist. Due to cosmic dimensions, it takes years, decades or even millennia for the light from distant stars to reach us.

Like the starry sky that maps constellations from the past, photography also acts as a kind of time capsule for often long forgotten things. In her series of photographs, divided into several chapters dealing with various sightings of meteorites, Regine Petersen therefore combines scientific curiosity with the strategies of contemporary art in an ideal way: Fascinated by the fact that asteroids of all sizes frequently fall to earth, she has for years meticulously collected and archived newspaper cuttings, factual reports and scientific articles on the topic. She has traveled to known sites of meteorite impacts, interviewed experts, eyewitnesses and residents, and combed through newspaper and photographic archives. This intrepid search for clues has produced extremely haunting portraits that say more about the way people deal with these rocky witnesses from the dawn of our solar system than about the meteorites themselves.

Petersen not only finds her subjects in remote places, but also at home in Hamburg and elsewhere in Germany. Different regions often reveal strange similarities in her series of images. Places and living things appear to move closer together, only to be set apart again by small, bizarre secrets. These manifest themselves in Petersen’s photographs like fragments of a coherent story. She finds the motifs for her pictures on her photographic excursions, often spontaneously and almost incidentally. An instant of lucky coincidence gives rise to original, sometimes surreal moments: People and animals are often arranged as equals with little space around them; they become contemplative, dignified protagonists in her colour photos. The tangible calm inherent in her images derives from Petersen’s staunch loyalty to analogue photography with its unhurried technology: Unlike pictures taken with digital cameras, its results can only be seen once the film has been fully developed. This “laid-back” approach to the material she has chosen is reflected in her images. The scenes she captures are tranquil and unruffled, somehow with their own sense of time – much like the light from the stars that does not worry about the timeliness of its information in the cosmos.

Biographical information

1976

born in Hamburg, Germany

2006

receives her Diploma in Communication Design and Photography from the University of Applied Sciences, Hamburg

2007

receives the Otto Steinert Award (Honourable Mention) from the DGPh – German Society for Photography, Cologne

2008

publishes her first photobook Ok, But No Fighting

2009

completes her studies with an MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art, London

2011

Artist in Residence, B2 Institute / Lunar & Planetary Lab, University of Arizona, Tuscon

2012

receives a grant from the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, Essen

2015

solo exhibition with “Find a Fallen Star” at the Foam Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

lives and works in Hamburg, Germany.