Peter Funch

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Danish-born photographer Peter Funch, newly repped out of Levine/Leavitt, demonstrates quiet elegance and humor in his photography for European clients like Air Greenland, Lee, and Kappa. But the U.S. market, and the rest of the commercials world for that matter, has yet to take advantage of the 30-year-old's seedier side. His portfolio and truly spectacular website is also home to trannies, crash victims, and most recently, Sin City. The latter was ideal fodder for Funch's lens, which seems to gaze wide-eyed at the adult playground's architectural "wonders." Las Vegas' pyramid-inspired Luxor, the glossy Renaissance-era halls of the Venetian, even Star Trek's U.S.S. Enterprise appear surreally lustrous and sexy in his photos, every bit of their manufactured beauty magnified via extra-long exposures. But contrary to what the pictures may suggest, this photographer is not drooling. Instead, the images are his way of telling a joke, his smirk at the oddities of postmodern society. "I like the thought of people thinking that something so fake is beautiful-that's quite funny to me, " explains Funch, who honed his skills and raked in awards as a photojournalism student at the Danish School of Journalism. "My pictures are sarcastic. I'm trying to make the fakeness beautiful in a really sarcastic way."

Even when he's not kidding, Funch's camera can't help but soak in the beauty of a moment. For another project, he followed an ambulance team through Bangkok, Thailand, photographing the bloody casualties he encountered. "I've been fascinated by crime and news photography from the '40s, and I wanted to see how it would look in the year 2003," he says. "When I took those, I realized I was shooting in the same way I was shooting Las Vegas, and it turned out to be something quite beautiful even though it's brutal. When you put them next to the Las Vegas shots, you can't tell what's fake and what's reality because the aesthetic is the same. I really enjoy the feeling of cheating people in that way." Seems a perfect fit for advertising, but unfortunately for Funch, it's not quite right for porn. "It's quite funny because I've always been fascinated with trashy photography, trashy films-I really try to be trashy in my pictures, but I can't do it," he laughs. "I do a German-style composition, really tight, almost like a perfectionist. Maybe I do organized trash."

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