Interview With Pete Muller From United Kingdom

Interview with Seyed Ahmad Beheshti from Canada
June 19, 2023
Interview with He MeiLin from China
June 20, 2023

Pete Muller

Pete Muller had an interest in photography at a young age and turned his passion into a career when he was 13 years old and never looked back since.

Interview With The 2022 New York Photography Awards Winner – Pete Muller

1Can you introduce yourself and talk about how you got into photography?

I am Pete Muller and based in London, United Kingdom. I always had an intertest in photography from a very early age. I can remember grabbing the camera from my dad and offering to take the family pictures. At that age, I just didn't realize it was going to be my career, in fact I didn't realize you could make a career out of it until I was around 13 when my mum was reading an article from a paper.

I was at a point in my life where I was having to decide on what subjects I wanted to study at school, photography suddenly resonated with me and I have never looked back, that was what I was going to do for my job.

2Where did you study photography?
After I left school I went on to study a further 6 years at various colleges at various levels. Firstly I went to a fairly local college South Downs in Havan, then Bournemouth Art college, then finally at Salisbury Art college. Progressively picking up tips along the way and honing my talents and knowledge.
3Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
This would go back so far, it is hard to recall. it would probably have been a family picture whilst on holiday with my parents. I was always keen to be the one behind the camera.
4What equipment do you use?
I am currently using canon equipment, bodies 1DX mark 2 and 5D mark 4. I use all L series lenses from a 16-35,mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm. The lighting depends on the subject matter, budget, location and other factors you need to take into account on a shoot.
5What do you hope to achieve?

For me it is fairly simple, to enjoy my life and job. As my job takes up the majority of mine and most people’s life, I thought well, why don't I do something I love? So that is what I decided to do. In my career, my aspirations change and move as one goal is reached. I always wanted respect from my peers and those in the industry; winning this award has gone a long way to achieving that.

I also wanted to do big budget shoots; I have achieved that so I guess I now move the goal posts again. To have a happy, successful career, enjoying myself along way and meeting some incredibly creative people. I guess that is my new goal , for this success to continue.
6What compliment inspired/touched you the most?
I was once told by a photographer that I assisted for 3.5 years that I was his best assistant ever. I was sure there were others who were better than me and he was sometimes quite a tough person to please, so receiving such an accolade was very encouraging. It inspired me to carry on working as hard as I could.
7What inspires your unique storytelling?
So many things! I can take inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. Films, adverts, pictures, anything visual really or even some music can inspire visuals.
8What THREE (3) words describe your photography style?
dramatic, action, immersive.
9Congratulations! As the winner of the New York Photography Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?

It is a massive achievement for me to not only have so many images nominated but to win the overall award is just huge for me. I still think it is not real and someone else won it. It is very inspiring! I want to enter so many other awards now, as I think this is one of the best forms of marketing these days.

People seem to take note of award winners so much more than just your folio. I am hoping for a great start to the new year.

10Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2022 New York Photography Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

I entered a number of different categories, commercial advertising, sports and portraits. I have been working a lot lately on some new personal work, as a personal shoot helped me secure a large commercial shoot this year. in fact, shots from the shoot are what I entered and what finally won. The images of the guys playing football are from a large shoot for William Hill.

However, I wanted to continue with the lighting style, post production and the way I like to create a scene and characters to play in that scene. So I have come up with a number of series I am continuing to pursue. One is about people with tattoos.

I am quite fascinated by the art work and like to create characters out of these people, then come up with a location that will complement the ideas and art work. With people, I am always looking for interesting people that can do great physical movements and then create a scenario around them and light it accordingly, to create a sense of drama. Lighting to a photographer is their signature, it can make or break a shot, without any control or appreciation of it, we may as well use our phones.

11How has winning an award developed your career?
It is a little too early to tell for this award. however, I hope it works in the same way another award helped me this year. It got me a lot of attention and a large commission.
12Name 1-3 photographers who have inspired you.
This is tough, as I go through my career inspirations change so massively, as with your styles. right now I would say Gregory Crewdson and Julia Fullerton Batten. I love their creation of characters and cinematic use of lighting and the scenes they create.
13What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out, by a mentor or your role model?
Tough to remember any pivotal moments, but I do always think about what my dad used to say when he looked at my shots. He simply said, "What are you trying to say in this shot?" so I try to think about that when setting up, what kind of character am I trying to create, are they in the right setting, does it make sense and so on.
14What advice would you give someone who would like to become a photographer today?

I think it has got a lot tougher these days and I have passed advice to a number of younger people, one whom I am mentoring now. It may sound like it more about life than just photography but this is such a tough business to start in these days, I think it is very relevant, as photography can be such a personal business.

So it is simply, "Be true to yourself." If you are not enjoying it, finding it too hard, or don't like your results, only you can change them. Happiness is far more important that perceived success.

15What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

I believe my greatest asset is determination, my desire to make this my career. I don't think I am the best photographer in the world, but I live to work. I have an unrivalled passion to be part of this business and I think this has carried me through any tough times I may have had, when you question yourself.

Since the age of 13, I have never wanted to do anything else and I know I won't. Find your passion and never let anyone deter you. If you get criticism, as everyone does, take note of it, and act upon how you see fit. You may not always like it, but it may be beneficial.

16How do you stay in that space of being receptive to new information and knowledge?
I like to relax and let my mind be receptive to the world around me by keeping fit. The gym is my happy place and helps my mind wander, it is when I come up with my best ideas, thoughts and it helps me get set up for the day, as I go early in the morning.
17Anything else you would like to add to the interview?
It has been a pleasure to answer these, you often learn a bit about yourself, as it really makes you think.

Winning Entries

Pete Muller

Pete Muller had an interest in photography at a young age and turned his passion into a career when he was 13 years old and never looked back since.

Read more about this article from Alex Pansier from Netherlands, the 2021 Category Winner of the Year from the New York Photography Awards.