Peter Clarke Interview | Yellowtrace

 

Peter Clarke is an established Melbourne-based architectural photographer who is responsible for documenting many beautiful buildings and interiors around Australia. With over twenty years of experience under his belt, Peter has gained extensive knowledge in documenting the built environment, as well as natural and man-made landscapes. His work successfully combines his passion for photography, architecture and design, and regularly appears in many Australian and international journals and architectural publications. His collaborative approach and strong vision has seen his unique graphic style applied to a wide range of industries including architecture, construction, mining and aviation.

Having previously featured a number projects on Yellowtrace that have been photographed by Mr Clarke – i.e. Slattery Australia Office, Zumbo Cafe, Birkenstock HQ33 MacKenzie Street Residential Tower, Move-In Showroom, Mortgage Choice WorkplaceSAHMRI Building in Adelaide, Artedomus Melbourne Showroom to name just a few – we thought it was about time we got the chance to find out more about the man behind the striking images.

 

Interview with Australian Photographer Peter Clarke | Yellowtrace

Huntingdale Golf Course by Inarc. Photo by Peter Clarke.

Interview with Australian Photographer Peter Clarke | Yellowtrace

Huntingdale Golf Course by Inarc. Photo by Peter Clarke.

Interview with Australian Photographer Peter Clarke | Yellowtrace

CBD Apartment by Elenberg Fraser. Photo by Peter Clarke.

Interview with Australian Photographer Peter Clarke | Yellowtrace

CBD Apartment by Elenberg Fraser. Photo by Peter Clarke.

Interview with Australian Photographer Peter Clarke | Yellowtrace

Luna Apartments by Elenberg Fraser. Photo by Peter Clarke.

Sean Godsell, RMIT Building - Peter Clarke Photography | Yellowtrace

RMIT Design Hub by Sean Godsell. Photo by Peter Clarke.

 

+ Hello Peter, welcome to Yellowtrace and thank you for taking the time to e-chat. Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself – when did you first decide you wanted to become a photographer and how did you get to where you are today?

I first wanted to become a photographer after I did a TOP course on Art& Design. It exposed me to many areas of the Arts, incorporating Painting, Drawing, Ceramics, Graphic Design and of course, Photography. I enjoyed the ability to compose within the frame and the relative immediacy of the craft.

I then took on Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art Photography at Prahran College. After completion of this, I spent the next five years assisting many photographers in the advertising industry.

Not really wanting to become an advertising photographer I took some advice from a friend who suggested working in the editorial field. This provided me with a great start, working on many lifestyle and home maker magazines – it was here that I was able to develop the ability to work under all conditions and I then moved towards shooting just architecture and interiors. Through my connections made from working on magazines stories, I started working directly for architectural practices.

 

Interview with Australian Photographer Peter Clarke | Yellowtrace

Case Meallin by Mim Design. Photo by Peter Clarke.

Little Offices Mim Design - Peter Clarke Photography | Yellowtrace

Little Offices by Mim Design. Photo by Peter Clarke.

Manning Rd by Noxon Giffen. Peter Clarke Photography | Yellowtrace

Manning Rd by Noxon Giffen. Photo by Peter Clarke.

Move-In-Showroom - Peter Clarke Photography | Yellowtrace

Move-in Showroom in Melbourne by Elenberg Fraser.

 

+ What are you seeking to portray in your work? What is fundamental to your practice – your philosophy and your process?

I am constantly trying to stay faithful to the Architects or Designers Vision, to give an accurate representation of the space and the key features. To explore their use of the space, focusing on the detail and use of materials. I do that by being patient, waiting for the right conditions (or building them where we can) and working on the details we can affect, and not sweating it on those I cannot control.

+ What are some of your main sources of inspiration? Are there any specific references you are drawn to regularly – books, websites/ blogs etc?

I am often looking through websites and blogs, taking note at what’s happening here and overseas. Not all my photographic inspiration comes from Architectural photographers – I like people who have a sense of style or a look, this is quite often photographers who shoot both Commercial and Personal work. I’m also involved with a creative agency that has some excellent ideas and varied interests. It creates a great place to form opinions, bounce ideas from each other, and validate your thought processes along the way.

 

Mortgage Choice Workplace in South Yarra, Victoria | Yellowtrace

Mortgage Choice Workplace in South Yarra by b.e. architecture.

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra by Edwards Madigan Torzillo Briggs. Peter Clarke Photography | Yellowtrace

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra by Edwards Madigan Torzillo Briggs. Photo by Peter Clarke.

Ormond College Library by McGlashan Everist. Peter Clarke Photography | Yellowtrace

Ormond College Library by McGlashan Everist. Photo by Peter Clarke.

Interview with Australian Photographer Peter Clarke | Yellowtrace

Aerial Views. Photo by Peter Clarke.

 

+ Who or what are some of your influences? What other photographers, artists and creatives in general do you admire?

I have always greatly admired Tim Griffith, his attention to detail, his quality of photography and the uncanny ability to find the quirky angle.

I also love thew work of Art photographers Robert Polidori, Edward Burtynsky and Andreas Gursky – their ability to find beauty in the built and natural form is amazing. Burtynsky’s latest documentary “Watermark “ is visually amazing, and also illustrates his passion to highlight man’s effect on the landscape.

My favourite Architects are Juliaan Lampens, Marcel Breuer and Peter Zumthor – I’m such a big fan of Modernism.

 

Macarthur Place by Layan Design. Peter Clarke Photography | Yellowtrace

Macarthur Place by Layan Design. Photo by Peter Clarke.

Interview with Australian Photographer Peter Clarke | Yellowtrace

Kettle Black by Studio You Me. Photo by Peter Clarke.

Interview with Australian Photographer Peter Clarke | Yellowtrace

Kettle Black by Studio You Me. Photo by Peter Clarke.

 

+ What advice would you give to emerging photographers who want to follow your path? What was one of your biggest lessons learned since starting your practice?

I would suggest that it is always good to stay focused and remain patient – things may not happen quickly and may require some diligence. Work for as many photographers as you can, learn from their experience and take on board their relative skills, not just photographic ones. Opportunities will present themselves and offer alternatives, which may set you down a different path, which can be a good thing.

The biggest lesson is always be friendly and helpful for your clients – don’t be a problem – help solve the problem.

 

Shrouded House by Inarc Architects. Peter Clarke Photography | Yellowtrace

Shrouded House by Inarc Architects. Photo by Peter Clarke.

Interview with Australian Photographer Peter Clarke | Yellowtrace

Red Hill House by SJB. Photo by Peter Clarke.

Interview with Australian Photographer Peter Clarke | Yellowtrace

Red Hill House by SJB. Photo by Peter Clarke.

Seacombe Grove by b.e.architecture. Peter Clarke Photography | Yellowtrace

Seacombe Grove by b.e.architecture. Photo by Peter Clarke.

 

+ What are you most proud of professionally? And what has been your favourite shoot/ project so far?

I recently did a series on the de-commissioned Age Newspaper building, it was great to wander around the old building and photograph the spaces and old machinery. The place felt like a ghost town.

Also the SAHMRI Building in Adelaide, South Australia stands in my mind as one of my favourite pieces of work. It is a wonderful building, a centre for medical research designed by Woods Bagot, and I was the first to photograph the finished product. The night was beautiful, SAHMRI just stood out, and the rest as they say is history. I hope you like the images as much as I do.

 

Interview with Australian Photographer Peter Clarke | Yellowtrace

The Age. Photo by Peter Clarke.

Interview with Australian Photographer Peter Clarke | Yellowtrace

The Age. Photo by Peter Clarke.

SAHMRI by Woods Bagot | Yellowtrace

SAHMRI Building by Woods Bagot in Adelaide. 

SAHMRI by Woods Bagot | Yellowtrace

SAHMRI Building by Woods Bagot in Adelaide. 

 

+ What are the qualities you most like about yourself?

Friendly, passionate, hard working and always trying to get the best shot. I’d also like to think that I have an eye for style and great design.

+ Apart from your work, what other interests or hobbies do you have?

I love my beloved Saints footy team. Golf when I can. I’m looking forward to playing the Huntingdale Golf Club – incidentally I have shot the club it self (see, images at the top of the page). Beautifully designed by Inarc, I managed to see much of the course and found the grounds so compelling. I like Art and Architecture, especially in combination, as they can make for some fantastic days out.

 

Artedomus Melbourne Showroom by Studio You Me & Thomas Coward | Yellowtrace

Artedomus Melbourne Showroom by Studio You Me & Thomas Coward.

Artedomus Melbourne Showroom by Studio You Me & Thomas Coward | Yellowtrace

Artedomus Melbourne Showroom by Studio You Me & Thomas Coward.

Slattery-Peter-Clarke-Interview-Yellowtrace-14a

Slattery Office by Elenberg Fraser. Photo by Peter Clarke.

 

+ What is your most treasured belonging?

My most treasured belonging is interestingly enough a painting by my father in law. It is an Abstract Expressionist work from the 80’s, full of colour, it really fills my living room.

+ What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

My Father in law and I have the same name.

 

Zumbo Cafe Melbourne by Elenberg Fraser | Yellowtrace

Zumbo Cafe in Melbourne by Elenberg Fraser. Photo by Peter Clarke.

33 MacKenzie Street Residential Tower, Melbourne by Elenberg Frazer | Yellowtrace

33 MacKenzie Street by Elenberg Fraser. Photo by Peter Clarke.

 

+ It’s not very cool, but I really like…

According to the studio, its Trance and Progressive house music. I get banned from choosing the music in the studio.

+ In ten years I’d like to be…

Ideally I would love to be photographing more for exhibitions and personal work. And I would also like to continue to be working with some more international architects on assignments in some yet un-travelled foreign places around the world. I am also interested in venturing down to the Antarctic. I think that the glaciers and stark nature of the environment would be fascinating to spend some time around.

 

Interview with Australian Photographer Peter Clarke | Yellowtrace

Waimea Canyon. Photo by Peter Clarke.

Interview with Australian Photographer Peter Clarke | Yellowtrace

New Zealand Mountain. Photo by Peter Clarke.

Interview with Australian Photographer Peter Clarke | Yellowtrace

New Zealand. Photo by Peter Clarke.

 


[Images © Peter Clarke.]

 

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Team Yellowtrace is a small and highly dedicated bunch of cool kids who assist in the production of design stories, general admin and correspondence associated with each and every post. The team works tirelessly behind the scenes, providing invaluable support to the Editor In Chief. Extreme love and respect to the power of ten!

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