artist's statement
peter leiss 
about the artist

For me, photography, like acting, is the most personal and abstract of all the mediums. Under its disguise of co modified and commercialised familiarity lies the potential for absolutely individual expression and exploration.

As with all my photographic projects a direct through line can be made with my earliest fascination as to why we, our species, are so identified with systems of belief. The Romper Stomper series is no exception, whether from the angle of pop culture or ideological belief.

My original thought when I first read the script of Romper Stomper, was that here was an opportunity to fully explore the potential of film stills photography as a unique and overlooked form of creative expression – to take it beyond the standard promotional image, and into a realm of its own. With its dark and confronting subject matter, compelling characters and performances, Romper Stomper did indeed prove a fascinating subject, and the images produced during the shoot are ones I have continued to return to over the years.

What I think they show are the possibilities of film stills photography as an art form that not only documents moments from the film, but also moments in the creative process; that records the life of a character; but can also, at times, extend the life and reality of that character into moments which exist independently of the film they inhabit. Part photo reportage, part fiction, film stills photography can also, at its best, place its subjects in the context of fine art adding a more intensely reflective & aesthetic dimension to the kinetic motion pictures next to which they stand.

Images #34 and #35 (Not part of the Romper Stomper Series) where taken on the last day of the shoot and image #35 was conceptualised by Daniel Pollock and Russell Crowe.

Special thanks to the exceptional performances of the cast and their cooperation to produce ‘The Romper Stomper Series’.

All images were taken with three Nikon N2000 35mm cameras and Nikkor lenses,
housed in a Jacobson blimp case. Black & white film stock was Ilford HP5PLUS & developed in Kodak HC110. Dilution: 1 to 9 at 7 mins at 20 degrees. Shooting dates where from August 14 to September 23, 1991

Peter Leiss
September 2003


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