Peter Leifer’s first serious photographic undertaking happened at the early age of 12 years old when he acquired his first 35mm camera. It was a range-finder with a fixed lens that led him to his first studies in formalism, an interest that he has pursued both visually and theoretically to the present day.
His early work in New York City where he grew up featured exhibits in formalism with studies done almost exclusively in black and white.
He received a Bachelor of Arts from Brooklyn College with dual majors in English literature and philosophy, endeavors that enabled him to expand his aesthetic vision with deep insight into the mechanism of art and philosophical precepts innate to architectural achievement.
This was hardly a detour from his photographic passion, which he pursued in earnest throughout his academic studies and in fact motivated his interest in Kant’s Critique of Judgment and the consequential evolution of his theory of Aesthetic Formalism.
That interest resulted in more than one themed essay on the subject and the intent to pursue a masters to further explore the theoretical applications of the philosopher's vision to our modern appreciation of architectural forms.
He believed the compliment of that insight along with the spectrum of vision achieved through the lens were perceptions that would eventually reinforce the study of complex architectural structures and the enigma of their evolution through inception to planning, revisions and eventual construction.
Though that never happened the exigencies of life led him into the field of fashion, which he pursued in Los Angeles where he set up a photo company devoted to conceptual advertising photography and a photographic exploration of fashion as an expression of form which he engineered into advertising imagery. University Town Center in San Diego and its affiliated centers throughout the USA, including the Oakridge Mall San Jose and the Conestoga Mall Nebraska, was a major client along with local small fashion outlets.
On returning to New York City he continued to exhibit work featuring formalist content and worked in home fashion to explore textural elements in fabric and home decor.
He also met Paul Mitchell, an extraordinarily talented individual and innovator in hair products and the two collaborated on Paul Mitchell Systems first advertising campaign. That collaborative effort ended with the untimely death of Paul who never lived to see his vision fulfilled.
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