KI photographer Peter Fuller holds first solo exhibition, “Wild and Free”

Kangaroo Island photographer and artist Peter Fuller is excited to be holding his first solo exhibition, “Wild and Free”.

The exhibition that opens later this month at Fine Art Kangaroo Island, will feature his stunning dolphin images printed on metal.

Everyone is welcome to the opening on the January long weekend, when State Member Leon Bignell will open Wild and Free at 5pm on Sunday, January 27.

The exhibition will run daily in Fine Art Kangaroo Island’s Kingscote gallery, except Tuesdays, until February 24.

Peter Fuller is a South Australian artist, whose family originally came from Gawler and Yorke Peninsula.

Mum and Dad worked hard and instilled a strong work ethic in their three kids – mum was a sewing machinist, dad a truck driver –  and they lived in their home in the northeastern suburbs of Adelaide for 40 years,  building the best life they could for their children.

Pete was the youngest, and he attended Gilles Plains High School until Year 11 when he was apprenticed in a metal factory, for which his parents were very proud.

His dad was always his hero, so Pete’s dream to be a truck driver like dad was fulfilled in 1992 with a major career change.

After his dad passed away and after a decade in the metal trades, Pete spent the next 16 years in the transport industry, including plenty of interstate driving.

His love of photography, and of taking still images of the colourful and exciting world around him, began long before this.

He always had an interest in photography from a young age and as a pre-teen can remember trawling through a book on photography and saving his pocket money to get a camera.

During trade school he can remember taking several films a week to  the local photo shop to develop. 

The subjects were often sport inspired. In hindsight one of his regrets looking back now on his life as a truck driver is all the wonderful images and moments he didn’t stop to photograph, which he will never see again.

For his 21st birthday, he was gifted his first SLR, a Praktica, which he subsequently regretted updating to a Nikon F801, as the Praktica had no auto focus. It wasn’t until 2004 that Pete bought his first digital SLR.

In the late 1980s, Pete can remember a magical week trailing sports photographer Ray Titus from The Advertiser at a football match.

When Ray who went on to win an photographic award for pictures taken that day, he complimented Pete for having taken the better shot!

Pete went on to take lots of experimental images at the Grand Prix, car shows, SANFL and other sporting events.

In 2003 he approached Oakbank Racing Club – although he had never been to the Races before -  and this was the start of a wonderful and exciting relationship for 15 years with Pete being their photographer of choice.

Pete bought a block of land on KI in 2008 after a visit that convinced him that despite searching places in WA, KI was calling even though he had no previous history of visits.

KI has impacted his art practice in ways that are seemingly meant to be.

When he first arrived he was still heavily involved in photographing sport, back to Oakbank and also for managing editor of The Islander Shauna Black and subsequently Barbara Sibley.

He would travel back to the mainland but the natural world beckoned more and soon he cut all ties with obligations off Island.

WILD AND FREE: One of the dolphin images that will feature in Kangaroo Island photographer Peter Fuller's "Wild and Free" exhibition at Fine Art Kangaroo Island.

WILD AND FREE: One of the dolphin images that will feature in Kangaroo Island photographer Peter Fuller's "Wild and Free" exhibition at Fine Art Kangaroo Island.

These days Pete’s art photography is his main practice, with artistic interpretation of the natural world predominantly. 

“Wild and Free” is his first solo exhibition which will feature seven large format images printed on metal – a material which he is entirely comfortable after many years working as a metalworker – as well as three framed on paper, and some other smaller matted photographs from his Wild and Free catalogue.

His focus is the ocean, its inhabitants and their ecosystem, and the subject for this exhibition is mostly dolphins, and as an avid volunteer with Kangaroo Island and Victor Harbor Dolphin Watch there are many opportunities to explore this theme.

However these photographs are far more than opportunity, as Pete has a talent to see with his naked eye what can be captured through his lens.

These artistic interpretations are sublimely beautiful – creatures and water blending, patterns and sunlight and reflections create compositions where something entirely special and almost meditative occurs.

And in these moments, Pete disappears into his quiet space within knowing that later he will be entirely blown away and inspired by the results.

Pete’s journey as a visual artist has been punctuated in the earlier days with some short photographic courses, but primarily he is self taught.

He is an affable and a likable character and he has developed peer support relationships with other art photographers such as Pete Dobre and Julie Fletcher, who recognise good photography and are keen to see him develop his own style.

His decision to hold his inaugural show to create his creative outpourings occurred early in 2018 after contemplating the prizes he has previously been awarded for his sport photography and more recently his art photography.

He was highly commended in the Kangaroo Island Easter Art exhibition 2018 for “Submariner” by renowned curator photographer Tony Kearney and also first and second place in consecutive years at the Victor Harbor Whale Centre “Prince of Whales” competition.

Curator Fleur Peters said Fine Art Kangaroo Island was always excited to exhibit new and emerging talent and Peter Fuller’s exhibition promised to be an exciting debut of a talented photographer, who is rapidly being recognised for his unique style and format.