Peter Thiedeke’s passion for photography has taken him around the world – from high fashion shoots in London and New York to adventures off the beaten track in South America, Spain and the Sahara.
These days he juggles a day job as a photography lecturer at the Queensland College of Art with work on his PhD, freelance photography and gigs as a creative director.
“I’m a workaholic,” he says with a laugh.
“I’m always looking for the next project.”
Peter is a QCA alumnus, but his decision to study photography was by chance rather than design.
“I had gone into the QCA intending to study film and TV, wandered into the wrong interview by mistake, and ended up in the photography course,” he says.
“But the first time I went into the dark room and developed my first black and white print, it was a moment of magic – I was hooked.”
After graduating from the Queensland College of Art in the early 90s, Peter moved to Sydney, where he quickly made a name for himself as a fashion photographer.
The bright lights of the Big Apple beckoned, and Peter relocated to New York and later London and Buenos Aires, where he opened his own studios.
“I had some good mentors and worked hard for them,” he says.
“My career progressed very quickly.
“I did advertising work for big fashion and beauty luxury brands and a lot of editorial for magazines – it was a brilliant way to build my reputation and keep improving my skills.
“In Buenos Aires, I was part of a collective of multidisciplinary artists who did everything from murals and music videos to crazy fashion design.”
While it sounds glamorous, Peter says these days he gets a bigger kick out of guiding the next generation of photographers.
“It makes me feel young again – their curiosity and energy is infectious,” he says.
“It is a real privilege to be able to guide them on their journey, and I learn so much from teaching – it has improved my own practice.”
His advice to aspiring photographers is simple – find an inspiring mentor and put in the hours.
“Surround yourself with good people and work hard for them,” he says.
“And don’t be afraid to fail.”
“We are in the very early phase of the digital revolution,” he says.
“We still don’t know exactly what it is or where its going, but it’s important to be open to new things and collaborate on things outside your discipline.”
“It’s also important not to lose sight of the fact that all of the tools and technology don’t make a great photograph – it’s all the way you see things and connect with the world.
“That will never change.”