Meet Patcha Kitchaicharoen (@patcha221), a 33-year-old conceptual still life & food photographer.
“Camera eats first” isn’t just an Instagram fad, it’s Patcha’s everyday work life. As a professional food photographer, Patcha finds creative ways to make food look delectable. As a first-time actress, she got to debut in Happy Old Year (ฮาวทูทิ้ง .. ทิ้งอย่างไรไม่ให้เหลือเธอ) because of her shenanigans at Saengchai … Here, we serve you a small bite of her life.
✍🏼 || How It All Began || ✍🏼
· What did you study?
I dreamt of becoming an art director, so I studied Decorative Arts (Advertising Major) at Silpakorn University. After freelancing as a photographer for 8 years, I pursued a one-year certificate program in Photography at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York.
· First job?
I was an art director at Five Star, a film production company. My job was to oversee the design, production and distribution of movie posters, from start to finish.
It was here, where my passion for photography began to form. I felt happiest at poster photoshoots – not at my desk.
I left to intern at IMAGE Magazine for 3 months and then at Mind Studio for 6 months. Afterwards, I became a freelance photographer.
· Why did you decide to go to ICP?
At 28, my life hit a plateau – there was no growth or challenges. I was living life on a loop. From this realization, I decided to shake things up by moving to New York.
· What was it like?
New York’s energy, vibrancy and diversity is unparalleled. You can find inspiration around every corner.
I loved ICP because the conversations in class were honest, fruitful and empowering. It inspired self-discovery and broadened my mind.
Furthermore, my learning went beyond theory. My professors were able to share valuable insider knowledge because of their experiences as real working artists. It helped put things into perspective.
📷 || Point & Shoot || 📷
· What’s your philosophy for taking photos?
Whenever I look through the viewfinder, the moment has to speak to me before pressing the shutter. In that split second, my feelings are sealed into that shot, and that’s what makes it meaningful.
· How did you discover your passion for food photography?
At ICP, the professors would constantly challenge me to reflect on my work. They spotted a pattern; my photos were always food-related. This never occurred to me. So, I was persistently questioned:
What’s your relationship with food like?
What sort of memories do you have about food?
· So, why food?
After deep-diving into all my past experiences, I discovered I had a lot of bad memories revolving around the dining table.
Growing up, the dining table was not a happy place to be. The dinner soundtrack was either silence, the TV or my parents’ constant bickering. The meals were so miserable, I avoided family dinners for many years.
The first time I had a meal with my Belgian ex-boyfriend’s family, I was shocked. Simple questions like “How was your day?” would spin off into other engaging conversations and it was such a warm, loving atmosphere. I secretly ran to the bathroom to cry out of jealousy.
So, I think I capture food to make up for the things I never had. Surprisingly, food has connected all the dots for me – it has made me understand myself and my family better.
· How were you casted in Happy Old Year (ฮาวทูทิ้ง .. ทิ้งอย่างไรไม่ให้เหลือเธอ) ?
Completely by chance! [laughs] Out of the blue, my friend told me P’Ter Nawapol wanted me to audition for his new movie. I went to the audition and surprisingly, got the part of Pink.
On the night we wrapped up filming, I told P’Ter:
“I still don’t know why you casted me. How did you find me?”
“I saw you in a friend’s IG story. You and your friends were having a heated debate about art while absolutely wasted on the street in front of Saengchai. At midnight too!”
“Art? What art?”
“All of your friends admired Pollock’s artwork, except you. They were all so passionate in trying to explain why Pollock was a revolutionary painter … and you just didn’t get it, so you kept on mocking them with a straight face … I just couldn’t believe someone like you existed in the world, so I wanted to have a chat with you.”
Honestly, that beer-fuelled incident had nothing to do with my character, so his reasoning still doesn’t make sense today. [laughs]
· Referring to the movie’s theme, what’s the hardest thing you’ve had to leave behind?
People, of course. [smiles] I was in a long-distance relationship – I was in New York, he was in Belgium. We had great chemistry, loved each other deeply and never argued – it was one of the happiest times of my life.
After months of flying back and forth, he said:
I want to wake up next to someone I love every morning.
And I completely understood. I couldn’t give him that, so it had to end – we had to let each other go.
👁 || Up Close & Personal || 👁
· How has Biiru changed you?
I’ve realized the following:
1. I don’t want children anymore – raising a puppy is so hard, imagine raising a child! [laughs]
2. I worry too much. Leaving Biiru home alone used to make me lose my mind … I couldn’t fully engage in conversations or feel relaxed because I was so focused on tracking his movements through my phone. Now, I’ve learnt to let things go more.
· Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Work until you don’t have to introduce yourself.” I don’t have to be the greatest photographer of all time, but I do want people to think of me when they think of food photography. That’s enough for me.
Strictly speaking, it’s not advice, but “Pain makes people change.” is a phrase that hit me hard the very first time I read it. I believe we all grow from pain.
· In your own words, what is love?
I can’t answer that. My definition of love is in flux.
In my early 20s, I thought loving someone meant making sacrifices and changing yourself to fit them. It was all about finding the middle ground to live happily ever after, you know.
Now that I’m older, I approach love differently.
What do I need to change about myself?
Realistically, how much can I change?
How much is enough?
If I’m changing, are you making changes too?
Why should I change for you at all?
There’s more layers to my thinking because love can be complicated.
· Favourite song?
Can’t Help Falling in Love. The version by Kinna Granis. I’m going to make it my wedding song! [laughs]