News Column

Artistic duo: Belgian student, his host brother exchange talents in music, photography

May 14, 2014

By Renata Birkenbuel, The Montana Standard, Butte

May 14--An exchange student and his host brother mesh their talents to shed new light on Butte.

Roy Peters, 19, of Zonhoven, Belgium, and Max Wellman, 17, graduate from Butte High on June 5 with solid artistic feats on their resumes.

Peters has spent his year in Butte taking photographs and working side-by-side with Wellman in Max's electronic music production company. They make a solid combination in more ways than one.

"It shows me a lot that even though we're separated by an ocean, teenagers are still the same," said Wellman. "We all have the same perspective on life and tastes in music and art. Anywhere you go teens are doing the same things."

Their talents complement one another, for sure.

Wellman expanded his horizons last March when he and 24 Butte High peers visited Butte sister city Altensteig, Germany. Their German counterparts will come here next October.

Meanwhile, Peters was in Butte, but with a different host family before the Wellmans took him in on April 1. The boys had hit it off right away when Peters arrived in Butte last fall for the start of the school year. Their natural creativity drew them together -- and their duo projects have blossomed.

Wellman's DJ company throws free, non-alcoholic dances for kids, teens and young adults and Peters' skills at mixing computerized music fit the groove perfectly. He had done DJ work in the United Kingdom before coming here.

Together the boys have played live gigs at Venus Rising Espresso House, the Clark Chateau and Star Lanes Family Sports Center. On May 19 they play a private graduation party in Bozeman, then a gig at The Red Zone in Butte on May 23.

Wellman said business is on the upswing because live DJ-hosted parties attract teens.

"It's going good," said Wellman. "It's fun."

Even though Peters started learning photography only last semester in teacher Mike Kujawa's class, he displays a natural eye in his "Time

Co-Lapse" exhibit now up at The Uptown Cafe, 47 E. Broadway St.

Wellman serves as his subject in many of the photos, conveying Butte in surprising ways.

In the Uptown show, Peters shoots mostly slow-shutter exposures that depict a series of fire photos set at the Mountain Con headframe. He calls them "composed motion" shots, scenes of Wellman twirling fire with the lit headframe as a backdrop.

A 25-second time lapse allows the slow shutter to freeze several sparks at once. He uses a Canon EOS 550 D with a variety of lenses and flashes.

"I wanted to do something with power and action in it," said Peters.

His work shows versatility, too.

He proves that he can set up artificially lit stop-action water shots, abstract wide-angle Yellowstone National Park river bank views, low-angle shots of the Edmonton Bagpipers playing in the St. Paddy's Day Parade, old-fashioned black-and-white shots of old Butte cars and a unique action shot of Butte High basketball player Cory Farstveet in shadowed, pre-dunk flight.

In a lonely, retro-style shot of a mostly deserted Uptown alley -- except for Wellman -- Peters captures a typical Butte scene.

"That's mainly what I wanted to do -- capture Butte," said Peters.

"It's a little bit more artistic," added Wellman.

The photos that hang in the cafe are untitled for a reason. Peters wants the shots to speak for themselves.

"I think a picture has enough words to say it," said Peters. "A title isn't always needed."

The exhibit will be up until June 28. By then, Peters will be back home in Belgium and gearing up to join the Belgian Royal Military Academy.

Wellman will study business at Montana State University in Bozeman.

Both plan to keep alive their hobbies and to stay in touch through their art.

"I just enjoy it. I think it's a perfect way to capture what I do in life," Peters said.


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Source: Montana Standard (Butte)

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