DOMAI interviews Norwegian photographer Petter Hegre.
Petter Hegre: When I published my first book "My Wife" in 2000, I also introduced what I call the "New Nude", a thrilling combination of eroticism and honesty... a very rare combination in the world of Erotica. I like to think of my self as a messenger of uncompromising Intimacy - whether it's a girl playing on the beach, a woman inserting a tampon or a mother lifting her new born baby to her chest. I'm a hunter of sacred, personal moments. I want to display real, sensual radiation, not just create sexy images. I think this makes me different from the majority of artists out there producing millions of (usually sub-par) images every day.
DOMAI: How long have you been photographing for yourself, and how long as a pro?
Petter Hegre: My education is from the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California. I started there in 1989. From there I moved to New York and was hired as an assistant for Richard Avedon. I opened my own studio in my hometown Stavanger, Norway in 1992. I was 20 when I moved to Santa Barbara, and had never really touched a camera until then. But once I got started taking photos, I knew this was my destiny.
DOMAI: What started you in photography, and what do you like about it?
Petter Hegre: I was influenced by my father and his interest for photography. I grew up reading his enormous collection of the German magazine Colorfoto. This magazine was always packed with nudes and it was my first glimpse at the sensuous adventure this profession could offer.
DOMAI: Why do you photograph girls?
Petter Hegre: My sex-drive and my intuition fuel my life. I shoot what turns me on. Beautiful girls turn me on.
DOMAI: What special problems are there in photographing the human form?
Petter Hegre: For me there are no problems. Of course, one must successfully communicate with and direct the model, making her feel like a princess... and then things are rolling. It is a fantastic rush to see a model surrender to your lens. I prefer working with young, slim girls that still have some innocence left. Having a nice body is necessary to making a great image. Healthy, toned bodies with feminine curves always make better images.
DOMAI: We are often asked by photographers about how to find nude models. Any tips on that? What do you do?
Petter Hegre: Always play with open cards. Be straightforward about your wishes. The girls are everywhere! As an artist I always have my antennas out. I get the best new recruits from models I have already photographed. Their girlfriends contact me and say they want to be shot. Treat your models nice and professional and it will pay you off a million times! The Internet is, of course, my biggest source for finding models. I travel around the world constantly meeting models I have discovered on the Web. This is a part of the adventure of being a photographer, and I would not change it with any profession in the world.
DOMAI: What qualities do you look after in a model?
Petter Hegre: I am not afraid to say that I always look for the "perfect" model! Their skin, eyes, hips, breasts, ass, all must be perfect. They must have youth, beauty, and playfulness. I am very demanding.
DOMAI: What is the most rewarding thing about your work?
Petter Hegre: I can photograph 100% on my own terms and conditions. I get to live a life most people just dream about. I make new connections with interesting people almost every day. Plus, my work affects people all over the world.
DOMAI: How did the World Wide Web change your work and your life?
Petter Hegre: After the launch of my web site - www.hegre-archives.com - in January, 2002, a new world opened up for me. For the first time, my most intimate images could be published worldwide to an audience who appreciated my work. It is a perfect media for my lifestyle and the way in which I express myself.
DOMAI: Are there any risks or dangers involved in your work?
Petter Hegre: 20-30 take-offs and landings across the world, including the most abandoned and forgotten airports in countries whose names I can't even pronounce - this must be the biggest risk I'm taking in my search for the perfect super model.
DOMAI: Are there any countries where you like the girls/models better?
Petter Hegre: Eastern Europe is for sure the area with the most beautiful girls in the world. Kiev and Odessa in Ukraine is definitely one of the hottest places on earth. These cities are packed with perfect, long legged girls moving like goddesses. I find it intoxicating to be there. This country is my playground, my garden of Eden. It's here I hope to breathe my last breath of air.
DOMAI: You found DOMAI and were eager to exhibit here. What makes DOMAI different in your eyes?
Petter Hegre: The philosophy of DOMAI is unbeatable. Many of the girls are stunningly beautiful, and the site is a great alternative for the conscious viewer looking for high quality erotica.