Having studied fine art, advertising and graphic design at an assortment of schools, Pieter started his career as the assistant on a 2-man crew shooting a documentary about Guatemala in the early 70’s, travelling to the country’s varied sites from the capitol to mountain lakes and markets, stunning black-sand beaches and the ruins of an ancient Mayan city.
Before entering the world of 4-star advertising agencies he was at the now-defunct Hearst newspaper, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. Following a 40-year career in advertising and graphic design, earning several awards along the way, he has returned to his first passion – photography. Never without a camera since his first one at age 15, he now shoots film as well as digital and spends many an hour making prints in the darkroom.
In 2020, Regal House published The Purpose of Things, a collaboration with poet Peter Serchuk, featuring 40 original photos by Pieter de Koninck.
I take quiet, thoughtful photos. They are pictures of the pauses between words. My images reflect a certain solitude, even when populated. A solidity and stability, even when fleeting. Perhaps the photographs take me rather than the other way around.
I have walked the streets and beaches of my neighborhood almost daily for 35 years, walking the dogs that have been my companions over time. These are familiar places yet there is always something new to see. I watch the trees, the shadows and the evidence of human presence, objects left along the curb. My work is based on the notion of celebrating what is given, what is ordinary, what is there. My photos are conversations, with the subject and with the viewer. They are intimate observations of the everyday, sometimes isolated in the studio.
Taking advantage of the square format, composition becomes key – provoking interactions that might be lost in a more elongated format. Lines, shapes and energy direction are always lingering under the surface. I often concentrate on details, trying to extract meaning, beauty and solace from chaos.
In a subdued way, I make my pictures a little unsettling, provocative but with a quiet wit. They leave more questions than answers.
Pieter de Koninck