Helbich is a medical doctor who has been taking photographs since he was 20 years old.
He became a close friend of Josef Sudek while he worked at the hospital in Jablunkov in Moravia. He then became Sudek's unofficial apprentice and continued to receive advice and critiques from Sudek. Sudek even gave him the large format camera that he works with.
An even earlier influence was Rudolf Janda, who devoted his entire life to photographing the Moravian forests.
P. Tausk has written an article, Petr Helbich--J. Sudek's Pupil, in Ceskoslovenska fotografie, 1986, p.10. Also see: Jaskmanicky. Fotografove--Photographers, for more information on Helbich.