Born in Budapest, Hungary, Peter Sorel made a name for himself as a photographer by taking portraits of Hollywood stars for almost 50 years. In the late 1960’s, Sorel was first hired to photograph on the set of "Easy Rider." Although the movie was on a rather low budget, its popularity ended up putting his name on the map. Since then, he has worked on more than one hundred film sets, documenting the experience and photographing for promotional posters and press kits. Of the many classics he has worked on, films like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Jack Nicholson) and Se7en (Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman) stood out for Peter because of the talent that surrounded him on those sets.
In an interview with WTTW, Peter shared his enjoyment of working with actors like Emma Thompson and Nicole Kidman. "Surprisingly, men in the industry seem to have more of a vanity problem and have been more difficult to work with," he stated. One of Peter's most iconic photographs is an image of Clint Eastwood from the movie The Outlaw Josey Wales. When speaking of Eastwood, Peter states, "He knows exactly what he wants. He doesn't play around. You know, you don't shoot with Clint for two hours. He said, 'You got it, right?', and I said 'Of course I got it.'" And in under five minutes, he really did. In addition to the large number of films he worked on in the late 20th century, Peter has also photographed for newer films such as Frida, Twlight, and Life of Pi. Throughout his career, movies have changed dramatically. Today, Peter feels that it is difficult to be creative on set when most of it is shot on a green screen and so many special effects are added later on. Through his years of dealing with the film industry and actors, he claims that only two have every caused him any problems: Gene Hackman and Barbara Streisand. Apparently working with Barbara Streisand was so difficult, Peter had to quit the film after only three days.
Peter Sorel may have begun his photographic journey in Hollywood, but today he resides in Chicago and puts his energy into what he really loves – fine art. While pieces of his ongoing projects are available in print at the gallery and digitally on his website (www.petersorel.com), his primary body of work Sky/Lake: An Homage to Mark Rothko explores the landscape of his new home. This series includes images of the sky and Lake Michigan during different weather, seasons, and times of day. The images break the traditional horizontal view of the landscape and transform it into abstract color fields, exploring changes in light and emotion through each photograph. In addition to his recent solo show at Hilton | Asmus Contemporary, Peter’s Sky/Lake series was on display simultaneously at the Union League Club in Chicago this year.
For more information about Peter and his work, please visit his page in the artist directory on our website or watch his interview from Chicago Tonight WTTW with Marc Vitali below!
Hilton | Asmus Contemporary