Half his output is dedicated to paid clients, while the rest is devoted to creating personal work. “It requires a lot of energy being consumed by the visual arts and, equally, it’s just as tiring being consumed by commercial photography,” Petch says. “When I’m consumed on one, I can’t wait to do the other.”
Petch worked for many years as a self-taught graphic designer before starting out as a photographer more than a decade ago. He scored his first paid gig documenting athletes breaking world records at Mount Taranaki for Salomon Running in 2010.
In 2018, Petch embarked on a fine arts degree in Christchurch, starting at the Ilam School of Fine Arts and finishing at Ara Institute of Canterbury with academic excellence.
His final year studied Canterbury beekeepers, shot mostly on colour film, and is a source of great pride showcasing the vital relationship of environment to bees and their farmers.
When he’s saved enough cash from commercial work he switches to art-mode, where Petch shoots primarily on his trusty 1950s TLRs, with a love for black and white film. He develops the rolls at home or in his studio at the St Asaph Street Collective. His current focus (long overdue) is organising his archives across five hard drives shot over many years, with the aim of making some zines and books.
Petch is a big fan of the photobook medium and would like to produce some himself. “Each book is the vision of the artists; it’s how they want you to see and experience their work,” he says.
Duane Michals is a big inspiration and Petch is inspired by the “stillness” of American artist Alec Soth, who’s work that is mostly captured on 8 x 10 film.
For Petch, photography will always be a way to process and understand the world around him.
Interview by writer Anna Frances Pearson. I’m flattered.