Peter Latham is a New Zealand based Artist. We've just received some amazing new work in our galleries so we thought it was the perfect time to find a little more about Latham and his practice.
What do you make/art practice?
Fine art photography, specifically focusing on landscapes of New Zealand.
What does a normal day look like for you?
Busy! 90% of my time is based in my studio, processing & printing, varnishing canvases, painting frames, general admin, marketing material (website & point of sale for my galleries), deliveries to galleries, client visits, liaising with my suppliers & galleries. In reality, only 10% of my time is spent in the field actually photographing, I wish it could be the other way round!
You're a self-taught photographer, how did it all begin - where did this passion for photography come from?
As I described in the introduction of my book “Looking For The Light”, I got caught by the photography bug at an early age. Back when we used to have films processed the old fashioned way & you only got to see the prints much later. I found the whole process quite magical & I was hooked!
Where do you find inspiration as an Artist?
I seek inspiration by constantly seeking new subjects & locations, looking for fresh perspectives & images that are both fresh & engage the viewer. I do a lot of research on various places & I always have a pile of notes on my desk, with various trips always in my pile for next year.
What do you love most about working & living in Aotearoa?
I was born in Auckland & grew up in Whitianga, on the Coromandel Peninsula. I’ve always been very passionate about New Zealand, we’re incredibly lucky to have such unspoilt beauty on our backdoor & there is so much variety packed into our (relatively) small country. But I often feel more of us should get out there & experience what we have, too many of us haven't seen much of our own country & it’s only when you travel to some 3rd world countries like I have been fortunate to, that it really hits home. But I hope people may be encouraged to get out & experience more of our little paradise, after viewing my work.
How has your artwork change over time?
Like any artist, one's vision develops over time & with the advent of high end digital equipment, I’m able to shoot much larger & very finely detailed images, photographs that I could have only dreamt of capturing a few short years ago. I get bored easily, so I have to keep myself challenged with new ideas & different ventures. Some images stand the test of time much better than others, but I’d like to think I’ve improved significantly, in terms of what my eyes now see & my technical ability too.
How/Has the digital space affected your artwork?
The digital age has both its advantages & disadvantages. Whilst it’s fantastic to be able to critique images instantly in the field & check both the small details & exposure, us kiwis can be a little skeptical of photography as art. Nowadays there are numerous software apps that make it all too easy to improve a mediocre image & everyone has a camera in their phone! But I keep my images true to life, making minor adjustments to contrast, shadows & highlights until the image is a faithful copy of what my eyes witnessed when I pressed the shutter. Despite using very high end Phase One equipment, no camera sensor is as accurate as the human eye. Not yet at least!
What is your studio/creative space like?
My studio is attached to my home in rural Ardmore & is a dedicated space I built two years ago. It’s very bright & airy, both cool in summer & warm in winter, I love it! And the coffee machine is always on, people are always welcome to visit by appointment.
What drew you to working with The Poi Room?
The Poi Room came to my attention 12 years ago, when I first approached Melanie in Newmarket. Her immediate response was so bright & positive, how could I not want to join the team?! So since 2007 I have grown very fond of the Poi Room family, they really are fantastic to work with & Mel & Clayton deserve every success. It’s a tough market, selling luxury goods in difficult times. People don’t have to have art on their walls, so it’s very gratifying when they do. And it pays the bills, thank goodness!
Describe your relationship with The Poi Room & how our values fit with your business?
I’ve always valued my gallery relationships very highly & my beliefs are closely aligned with the Poi Room's. It’s not all about money, I’m very passionate about my craft & I work incredibly hard to produce the best artworks I possibly can. The highlights for me are both in the field, those rare times when I happen to put myself in the right place at the right time & bring home something magical. And then when I get to see my work installed on my clients' walls & see the pleasure it brings them.. that satisfaction it brings is better than any pay check.