If we were to think of a photographer, model, curator and director who influenced an entire generation of artists at just 25, the first name that would come to mind would be Petra Collins. The reason? Her style has become a real code, an independent visual language and a trademark made up of pastel colors, neon lights and lots of glamour. Her love story with the camera begins at the age of 15, but there have been two important encounters of her life: the first is the one with the director Richard Kern, who was her high school teacher and mentor. ; the second is undoubtedly the one with Ryan McGinley. The links with photographic research of Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman and McGinley herself (in particular atmospheres), are undeniable. Petra’s photos speak of a typical fresh teenage beauty and give off a strong sense of freedom.
The artist began to make herself known inside photography world from 2013 when her Instagram account was at the center of countless controversies so much to be blocked: the triggering reason? A photo who shows her in a non-depilated bikini. This story has had a resonance that makes her a feminist icon that fights for a type of natural beauty, so as to realize an entire project called “Discharge”.
In fact, Petra is not just a photographer, but she is also the founder of online artistic collective The Ardorous. Babe book includes the work of 30 artists from the association, who explore the issues of female identity within the context of the Internet and social media, with a weakness for pastel colors and the millennial pink. The artists of the book, such as Arvida Bystrom, Sandy Kim, Harley Weir, Jeanette Hayes, and Kristie Muller, come from different places, including New York, London, Moscow, Stockholm, Los Angeles, Berlin and Toronto.
Her projects include The Female Gaze, a series of young teen portraits struggling with everyday life: school, parties, intimacy, and sexuality. Her gaze is poetic, without being cloying, her photography is able to highlight the emotions that distinguish this particular period of life and the inevitable transition to adulthood.
There have been numerous collaborations with Magazine such as Vogue, A Magazine, AnOther, i-D, Dazed and many others. The most interesting feature was with Gucci‘s director Alessandro Michele, for which she edited a video and several commercial works. Another work among many that come immediately to mind is that dedicated to Fenty Puma By Rihanna.
24 Hour Psycho project is one of the last works that tells young women’s emotions in states of sadness and emotional suffering: moments of vulnerability become acts of empowerment. Fragility and emotionality are emotions typically associated with the female gender: once again Petra wants to emphasize these characteristics as an added value and wants to show the world what it means to be a girl who lives adolescence today, constantly in contact with social media. These images, deeply intimate and private, face the complex question of a generation that does not know the world and people, if not through a screen.
La carriera di Petra non si limita solo alla fotografia, il suo talento e la sua estetica l’hanno portata a dirigere video come Cardi B – Bartier Cardi (feat. 21 Savage), Envisions ’70s Glam for Bulgari, Selena Gomez – Fetish, A Hungarian Dream for Gucci Eyewear, Spring 2017 Nordstrom , Lil Yachty – “All In”, Lil Yachty – “Keep Sailing” , Break a Sweat for Adidas StellaSport ed altri. I colori glam e la gestione delle luci, dove spiccano quasi sempre elementi scintillanti, contribuiscono a ricreare un mood pop e ipnotico che ormai contraddistinguono il suo stile.
Qui sotto trovi i video più celebri, come quello per Gucci Eyewear, Fetish per Selena Gomez e il più recente Bartier Cardi per Cardi B.
If you want to deepen Petra’s story further, you can find everything in the book Coming of Age published by Rizzoli, an accurate monograph entirely dedicated to her whole world. Watch the video below.