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Constructed Realities

Mark Peterman by Mark Peterman on Aug. 18, 2020


Constructed Realities is a series of fictional scenes that each represent a suspended moment in time, a void, where the unknown looms. It is a decision making moment where the present separates from an alternate pathway of the futures that didn’t materialize. Only in hindsight can one determine how to interpret that moment and wonder about the paths not taken.

These scenes are all built with small scale 1/18 size sets and props. When the scale is revealed their fictional nature allows them to exist somewhere between the real and the imagined.

It is an ongoing series that will evolve from this first phase...



The series is a progression of my narrative driven personal projects such as Stills of Imagined Films and Days Present Themselves that I have developed over the past decade.

I had previously built some full scale sets in the studio for the ‘Stills of Imagined Films’ project years ago. That experience had made me realize that building anything full size was always expensive, time consuming and not very practical. This started my experimentation with building miniature sets and models.


One of the things I have learned over the years about staying creative is that you have to constantly follow your interests no matter where it may lead. This includes enriching your skillset by learning new things in areas that you may not have a practical use for right now.

When I had started the project 'Days Present Themselves’ several years ago I knew that I wanted to include a few small scale scenes as part of the narrative. That project was released last year and did contain a few scale models in the completed form. I felt like there was more room to grow in that area and shortly after, I started concepting a new series made entirely of small scale scenes.



Earlier this year I had started on the project and as my client work dried up with the self-isolation period I began focusing on making this series a living, breathing thing. In some ways it was fortuitous timing to create such a series. The concept was ready, all I needed was time to produce the work. I rarely have the luxury to spend singularly focused time on any one series of personal work.

This work where I am creating scale models (or photographing them) has a certain level of meditative process that I find very fulfilling. It is also quite a perfect project for isolation where I can build and shoot all the scenes either by myself or with a minimal crew at my studio or even my house.

This is only the first phase of this project and I am very excited to continue to develop the series.



The Process



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More About Mark Peterman

Mark PetermanI'm an artist who explores narrative storytelling through photographs and multimedia using constructed realities that cross over into implied fiction. My work contains a graphic story-telling quality with a cinematic feel. I continue to experiment with new concepts as an approach to solving old problems and see refinement through perseverance as a way forward. My work has been featured in the American Photography Annual, PDN Photo Annual and selected for Center’s Review Santa Fe 100. My projects in book and print form have been exhibited at museums and galleries around the country.

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