Peter DeVito is on a mission to enlighten us through his lens.
– KEYS SOULCARE
From gap-toothed and differently abled bodies, to dark-skinned models and muses living with acne, photographer Peter DeVito’s portraits center those often left (or Photoshopped) out of the beauty discussion. And — as with all art that reflects the infinite, true appreciation for how beautiful we all truly are, his work bursts with the kind of electric, kindred spirit energy that will leave you thinking, feeling (and often, smiling) more fully on many levels.
When he’s not shooting for the likes of Vogue Italia, The New York Times, and more — DeVito can often be found on Instagram and other platforms. Whether he’s doing model calls (for breathtaking independent projects like this) or challenging industry leaders and everyday scrollers, he’s a breath of fresh air to the all-too-prevalent beauty and culture standards. Check our chat about creating awe-inspiring work using photo expertise, a human-driven process, and a distinctly enlightened point of view.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Peter DeVito, and I’m a photographer who tries to photograph people who I don’t think are represented enough.
How has the reception of your work (and inclusive/representative POV) shifted over time?
I feel like over time, the themes that run through my art have become more and more accepted.
What are the philosophies that you carry with you while photographing?
I believe that there is beauty in everyone. You just have to be open to whatever energy your model is giving off in order to capture an image that does justice to their beauty.
Can you walk us through intentions you put forward when capturing someone’s beauty?
My process is different for every shoot, but no matter what the shoot is, I always try to bring as much positive energy as I can and go in with the intention of creating the best images that I can. If I’m having a bad day or something bad happens right before a shoot, I make sure to not bring that negative energy with me because it will impact how the photos come out.
What makes us beautiful?
Our differences are what make us beautiful.
What makes a photo beautiful?
A photo is beautiful when it tells a story. Whether it’s a picture I’ve taken or one that someone else has taken, my favorite pictures always make me feel something when I look at them.
What’s one thing you want all of your subjects to understand as you’re taking their photo?
I want them to understand that they’re in a safe space, and that them feeling comfortable is always my number one priority. I will tell them all my ideas and if they’re not comfortable with an idea or just don’t like it, we’ll immediately scrap it. I want the models to feel good about the pictures during and after the shoot.
It’s easy to take our own beauty for granted. Your work doesn’t just highlight features like noses, eyes, and skin — it centers and celebrates them. What aspects of photography go into doing this so beautifully, across such a vast array of subjects?
Going into doing a shoot with any model, the main thought I always have is how I want to do their beauty justice. There isn’t any exact technical formula to how I work. I do some shoots outdoors in direct sunlight, others in complete shade, and some in studios. The technical aspects of each shoot are different, but the thing that remains the same is my approach. For every shoot, I try to make the models as comfortable as they can be and try to build a connection with them.
If we wanted to do a better job of not shying away from the camera lens in our own lives, what advice would you give?
I would say to just start taking more selfies of yourself. You don’t even need to post the pictures anywhere. The more pictures you take of yourself, the more comfortable you will be in front of a camera.
How about capturing our everyday lives and loved ones?
Basically everyone has a phone nowadays, so don’t hesitate to use it to document everything.
What are some of your favorite soulcare rituals for staying grounded in the moment and in your own body?
Going for a walk and not looking at my phone the whole time.
What’s your highest vision for the work that you’re doing?
I want my work to be on magazine covers, commercials, billboards, [and more] so that I can spread the messages in my art as much as possible.