Keith Petersen is an artist and photographer living in the East Bay. He works as a photographer specializing in Fine Art and Antique documentation. He graduated from CCAC with a BFA in Photography and has shown work in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area.


Nature and the climate crisis are a primary influence on my creative practice. My process addresses the concept of transformation as a way to think through the impact humans have on the natural environment, for better or worse. My interest in the intersection of the natural sciences and art has led to a series of explorations of the chemical interactions between natural and synthetic materials and compounds, many of which I make from scratch. I use photographic processes to document the often unstable and ephemeral reactions I instigate in my studio. These processes allow me to see and communicate that which is not visible to the unaided eye. The mystery of what may emerge is underscored by the abstract qualities of the images. 

My studio process involves several stages. I first experiment with combining inks, mineral compounds, oils, plant matter, and other found and foraged components and subjecting them to heat, cold, magnetism, corrosion, and decay. I observe the reactions between these components until visually compelling colors and patterns emerge. I then use a camera and various lenses, polarizing filters, colored gels on studio lighting, and colored backgrounds to photograph the chemical reactions I observe. Finally, I use post-production equipment to create compositions in which I use strategies such as repetition and layering to produce a final image.