Mike Peters and Matt Weber: Coney Island: Double Vision
I remember about a decade ago, I was in Paris and struck by the phenomenon of tourists looking at art through their iPhones, rather than just looking at art. I began documenting this behavior and came back to Los Angeles excited about creating a new project. I did some digging to determine if it was a unique idea and immediately found three other photographers who had made work around this same subject and were already exhibiting it. Needless to say, my photographs never say the light of day. It’s very had to make unique work in this current state of ubiquitous photography, where everything has been photographed.
I was drawn to the new book, Coney Island: Double Vision, where two photographers navigate the same terrain at the same time and then pair their images, without worries of similarities. Mike Peters and Mike Weber have been creating work in this ripe-for-photos part of New York for over two decades but began traversing it together in 2007 for the Mermaid Parade. They have spent the last decade making images for this book. Coney Island includes 84 pages and 74 photographs with a thoughtful introduction from Blake Andrews.
For information on ordering the book, go HERE
Mike Peters considers himself a passionate observer. The inspiration for his photographs comes from the world around him. He prefers to work within conversational distance, making images that are both intimate and informative about the context of the person and situation being photographed.
Mike was born in 1959 on Staten Island in New York City. His affinity for the gritty urban industrialized streetscape was cultivated while being raised in Kearny, NJ. Mike discovered photography in high school and gave him a means of expressing how he saw the world, and also something that would propel him into the world in a way that was difficult due to intense shyness and other issues. After, as he says, surviving 12 years of Catholic school, he studied photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
Mike has always made his living as a photographer. Initially he worked at Tiffany & Co as a staff photographer, photographing merchandise for catalogs and advertisements. Feeling unfulfilled photographing things, he left to freelance as an assistant and to do his own people photography for magazines. Between 1983 and 1986 he worked as a newspaper staff photographer for The Somerset Messenger-Gazette and the NJ Herald. In 1987 he returned to freelancing again for newspapers, magazines, educational institutions, and corporations.
In 2000 he became the University Photographer at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ where he continues as a member of the creative team producing images for all media. For Mike, making photographs for an institution that works towards the greater good in society is quite fulfilling. He also continues to work for a variety of clients on a freelance basis shooting editorial assignments, portraits, and events.
Despite years of making a living as a commercial photographer, he continues to pick up a camera and make images as a means of self-discovery and an exploration of the world around him.
His portraits made in public spaces are based on photographing people in which he feels a sense of connection. His non-judgemental approach comes from a place of empathy and curiosity about the humanity of each person.
Mike Weber was born in NYC 1958.
He studied oil painting with Nicolai Abracheff who was one of Picasso’s contemporaries and a noted cubist as well. Matt went to Music & Art high school but unfortunately dropped out to pursue “art” in the form of writing graffiti on New York’s subways.
Matt is completely self-taught as a photographer by reading all books written by Ansel Adams; The Print, The Negative and The Camera.
Matt started taking photos of the NYC streets while he was driving a Yellow cab back in 1984. The things he had been seeing late at night were so intense that kept saying to himself “I’ve got to get a camera!”
Matt’s monograph, The Urban Prisoner was published by Sanctuary Books in 2004. His book OBAMA, about the night Obama won the election, was published in 2009. “Street Trip” was published 2019 by Carpet Bombing Culture, and “Coney Island Double Vision” was self-published with Mike Peters in 2022.
Matt’s work has been published in Popular Photography, Photographica, Hamburger Eyes and many other publications. He had a solo exhibit in April 2004 at the now defunct Jan Van Der Donk gallery which was in Chelsea. The Peninsula Arts Center in Newport News had a solo exhibit in 2005. Harper Levine of East Hampton New York has represented Matt’s work since 2007.
Several of Matt’s prints are in the collection of Todd Oldham and Richard Prince.
A documentary about my life as a photographer “More than the Rainbow” premiered in SanFrancisco and New York in the fall of 2012
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