Peter's cover image
Peter

Peter WHYTE

Year of Award: 1996 Award State: Tasmania Arts - Visual > Painting And Illustration
To study photography with particular reference to the export market - Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Japan, USA
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I was granted a Churchill Fellowship to investigate from a visual perspective the markets that Tasmania exports into. Added to this was a schedule of high-level training in studio lighting and digital imaging.

20 years on, I am still a commercial and fine art photographer creating imagery for many export-oriented Tasmanian enterprises – from Blundstone boots, ship building, the burgeoning whisky industry and value-adding food producers like Candy Abalone, to globally focused enterprises like MONA and the Agrarian Kitchen. I also document the work of many of Tasmania’s leading artists and designers. The premise that drove me to apply for a Churchill Fellowship is still relevant – the presentation of world- class products and services must be world-class.

The outcomes of the Fellowship still drive my business today. One of the most memorable meetings in 1996 was with the then head of Tassal in Japan, Mr Sato. When discussing the importance of quality and context in imagery, Mr Sato said:‘We do not want to be reminded that we are Japanese, we want Tasmanian …’ These words still ring in my ears, as I strive to create imagery with a distinct and credible Tasmanian feel.

Tasmania has the international ‘it’ factor at the moment, and for a myriad of reasons – the ‘MONA Effect’, growing inbound tourism, a critical mass of high-quality food producers, an upsurge in innovative restaurant start-ups. The things that were considered to be disadvantages are now pluses – our small scale and relative isolation have made us exotic and sought-after. The international media gaze is now focused on us, and they understand the power and value of good imagery. Many more people will see our imagery than will ever actually experience Tasmania.

The Churchill Fellowship confirmed for me that we can more than match it with the rest of the world. I have been fortunate enough to receive quite a number of national and international awards and regular commissions from magazines in Australia and around the world. I have had commercial commissions in New Zealand, the Republic of Kiribati and Italy. The Churchill Fellowship has helped me maintain a global focus in my commercial and fine art practice.

Wherever I am, with or without camera, everything I observe and experience is an exercise in lighting, composition, content and context. When not working I like to travel, bushwalk, fly-fish and sea-kayak, though the line between work and play is often blurred. I host an Airbnb, which brings to my door a stream of fascinating people from around the world.

This feeds into my love of food and cooking, not only for taste and texture, but visually and culturally. I always have several potential fine art projects on the go. This feeds into and is also fed by my commercial practice. These projects sometimes evolve into exhibitions. 

Excerpt from “Bringing Knowledge Home” published by the Churchill Fellows Association of Tasmania (2016) 

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