Biography
Peter van Stralen studied to become a graphic designer at the Academy of Arts in Arnhem, The Netherlands. During this study, his interest in photography was awakened. Since then he has been working as an autonomous artist/photographer, whose non-commercial activities have mainly been focussed on staged black-and-white photography. Apart from this, he is also active as a photographer in the field of art and culture in general.
Motivation
Peter van Stralen has a deep admiration for female dancers, since they are able to combine power with grace in a very natural way. Over the last couple of years, many female dancers have participated in his photo projects, especially dancers from the local Dance Academy as well as from the ‘Introdans’ company, both in Arnhem, The Netherlands. This interaction between these young women on the one hand and his own (photo-) graphic background on the other hand has proven to be most fruitful: “I am deeply indebted to the dancers for all their efforts and their inspiration which they have given to me during countless photographic sessions. Therefore, I do not consider these images just to be mine, but also ours”. Having published his photo book ‘FIGUREN’ in 2001, Peter van Stralen has tried to create even stranger images of the female body than was the case in ’FIGUREN’. The photographs from this new series he now calls: ‘ODD BODIES’. Unfortunately, ordinary nude photography often shows rather predictable or even banal and degrading images of women. This is why he chose to show female body forms from a somewhat different perspective: neither common nor erotic, but rather strange. To him, women are not just familiar and sensual, but also pleasantly strange and surprising. This series therefore reflects his fascination with women in general and with these dancers in particular.
Style
Peter van Stralen likes to describe himself as a ‘two-dimensional sculptor’ who works in between the realms of photography and art. His style is strongly influenced by his background as a graphic designer: it is rather simple and direct. This is why he played with the female body forms in a straightforward fashion: to him, ‘less’ often means: ‘more’. In this sense, he can be considered a minimalist. Both form and composition play an important part in his works, and since (in his opinion) color often distracts from the essence of an image, he prefers to use black-and-white materials. In order to avoid fashionable or contemporary influences, he deliberately created his images in an almost time- and space less environment. Moreover, since the dancers act as interpreters, he also tried to avoid any identification of the person behind the figure on the photograph, thus fully focussing the viewer’s attention on the form of the image. Just like the movements of dance drive the body to ever-new forms, culminating in a new choreography, this photo series itself ultimately has become a kind of photographic choreography.
Technical data
He is currently working with a Nikon D3x camera and a 24 – 70mm 1:2.8 G ED Nikkor zoom lens.

All photographs were taken in his studio using Bowens Esprit 1000 flash equipment.