Behind the Lens: Peter Fingleton
At just 24, London-based photographer/DJ/party promoter Peter Fingleton is the poster boy for modern-day multitasking. Just as adept at rendering a poetic portrait in an intimate studio setting, as he is capturing the atmosphere at a rammed London basement club, Fingleton can also be found behind the decks at Dublin's weekly club night C.U.N.T. Originally from Ireland, Fingleton upped sticks to London having graduated from the National College of Art and Design in 2011. Since then, he's worked with esteemed photographer Brett Lloyd, shot renowned drag artist Jonny Woo, and documented the high octane antics of London club collective Sink the Pink. We managed to catch up with him to talk childhood memories, London's Kingsland Road, and Quentin Crisp.
What’s your earliest photo-taking memory?
Peter Fingleton: I remember wandering the woods near my childhood home when I was 11 or 12 with a crappy disposable camera and trying my best to take beautiful photographs. Can't quite remember how well they turned out though, but it was a start.
How did you get into photography?
At some point in my early teens I started photographing my friends at parties, on school trips abroad etc. While they were initially just meant as a fun memento, once social media took off there was suddenly a much larger audience looking at my pictures and telling me how much they liked them — it’s always nice to have encouragement.
What, in your opinion, makes a good image?
Coming from a fine art background, I'm always looking for the meaning in an image, what the image-maker was trying to say or, at least, what can I take from the image that will make it something more than just a pretty picture. I also feel like an awareness of what has gone before you and what's been done is important in making new work.
Your body of work spans club and event photography, fashion photography and more intimate portraiture; how would you describe your photography style?
It’s all about the subject. I don't like to force a pose or a persona on someone that they're not comfortable with. If I can capture a side to them that they don't normally show, I'm happy — and they usually are too.
What’s been your favorite party to photograph so far?
I went to Bestival for the first time this summer with the amazing Sink the Pink crew who were running a late-night party tent (the Grand Palace of Entertainment). The most insane five days ever, and I loved it.
Is club photography as much fun as it looks?
Honestly, yes. I never understand party photographers who sort of lurk in the shadows, snap someone's picture and then just stand there glumly until taking another one. If I'm not having fun somewhere, then I don't see the point in photographing it.
What’s your favorite London venue?
I still don't really have one, but if it's a dark, sweaty basement venue on the Kingsland Road I'll probably be happy.
What is it about a person that inspires you to shoot them?
I find stereotypical beauty a bit of a turn off. I'd much prefer to shoot someone who is incredibly striking without conforming to the usual notions of what it takes to be pretty and/or handsome.
If you could have anyone sit for you as a subject, who would it be, and why?
I'm going to assume you mean living or dead so I'm going to say Quentin Crisp, as I've always liked playing with gender roles in my work. I imagine his huge personality would have lead to some amazing portraits.
All images by Peter Fingleton