Swimming with sharks

Perre Whiter

Danish photographer Pierre Winther broke into the fashion industry three decades ago and has worked for clients such as Dunhill, Finlandia, Hugo Boss, Nike, JVC, Diesel, Levi’s, The Face, iD, Rolling Stone, Vibe and Vogue during his career.

In contrast to his adrenaline-inducing images, the influential and groundbreaking photographer has a very calm Danish disposition. Winther thinks about the words he used to express himself and has clearly prepared and positioned his ideas so they are exactly as he wants them to be.

When Glass interviewed Winther he explained that he very consciously develops the concepts for the images first  and foremost, which then lead into commissions and collaborations with the publications and brands he has worked for. To him it just makes sense to work that way, photographers are more then craftsmen creating an image from a design.

Reality is a very important factor for him, he stresses his focus on that at least to a degree you should feel that what you are looking at is actually happening. It may not be exactly as it appears to be but it allows your imagination to pick up on parts of the image that appear real. Shooting with film, the right lighting, props and angels further improve this realism, a rarity when we’ve become so accustomed to seeing the unbelievable and knowing instinctively that it isn’t real.

The cover of his latest book Nothing Beats Reality is an image of a man riding a 17-foot tiger shark. It was created in 1992 in the Great Barrier Reef without any digital editing and sets the perfect pace for the rest of the book. Bright hues and high contrast stimulate the senses and makes you want to dip in and out randomly to see what you can discover. Sometimes the images feel more like a movie made up of images rather then cinematic photographs.

Winther has a strong storytelling mind and adds plenty of detail to a single shot such as a car pileup of four brightly coloured sportscars, models smiling while draped over the road and cars, and onlookers eating popcorn from foldable chairs (Successful Living – The Car Crash, 1993).

There is a strong line of gritty gangster movies, pulp crime and early Tarantino throughout his book and it’s exciting. Fragments of reoccurring stories appear through the years and in a way you wish you knew what happens next.


Showpage Additional images Nothing Beats Reality-1

story image shark_riding_1992

by Justin van Vliet

Nothing Beats Reality  by Pierre Winther is published by teNeues Publishing UK and is available now

All images © Nothing Beats Reality by Pierre Winther, published by teNeues


About The Author

Chief Glass Online photographer

Related Posts