Peter Beard (American, b.1938) is a photographer and writer known for his collage work and extensive diaries. While moving around between Long Island, New York City, and Alabama during his childhood, Beard began the habit of keeping diaries that later became source material for many of his collage works. Beard documented his travels and photographs within his diaries from the age of 12, shortly before his first trip to Africa in 1955. In 1957, Beard applied as a pre-med student to Yale before switching to art history, studying under the influential art historian and theoretician, Joseph Albers. After graduating, Beard returned to Kenya, where he made his home in East Africa, acquiring “Hog Ranch,” the property adjacent to author Karen Blixen’s, near the Ngong Hills.

In the early 1960s, he worked at Tsavo National Park, where he photographed and documented the demise of elephants and Black Rhinos, and published multiple books on the subject. During this period, he began to create photographic collages that explored the interconnectedness of humans and animals. In addition to his own work, Beard has befriended and collaborated with many artists, including Andy Warhol, Andrew Wyeth, Richard Lindner, Terry Southern, Truman Capote, and Francis Bacon. In addition to his collaborations with well-known artists, he photographed prominent politicians, supermodels, rock stars, and New York City celebrities during the 1970s and 1980s. After his art exhibition in 1975 at the Blum Helman Gallery, Beard continued to show his work at galleries in Paris, Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo, and cities throughout Africa.

Timeline

1938
Born in New York, NY, raised in New York, Alabama, and Long Island, Peter Beard kept diaries at an early age
1950
He took his first pictures and photography quickly evolved into an extension of his diaries, as a way to preserve and remember vacations and favorite things
1955
First trip to Africa
1957
Peter entered Yale University as a pre-medical student, but soon switched to art history, studying under Vincent Scully, Joseph Albers, and Richard Lindner
1960
Second trip to Africa. In the early 1960s he worked at Kenya’s Tsavo National Park, during which time he photographed and documented the demise of over 35,000 elephants and 5000 Black Rhinos and published two The End of the Game books (1965 / 1977)
1966
Worked with The Nuffield Unit of Tropical Ecology on a population dynamics study of elephants and hippopotamuses
1966–1968
Collaborated with Alistair Graham on crocodile study at Lake Rudolf for Kenya game department; later to become the basis of Eyelids of Morning: The Mingled Destines of Crocodiles and Men
1975
His first exhibit at the Blum Helman Gallery in New York, NY
1977
First solo show and landmark installation of his photographs, elephant carcasses, burned diaries, taxidermy, African artifacts, books and personal memorabilia at International Center of Photography in New York, USA
1996
Shortly after he was skewered and trampled by an elephant, his first major retrospective opened at the Centre National de la Photographie in Paris, followed by other exhibits in Berlin, London, Toronto, Madrid, Milan, Tokyo and Vienna
1998
50 Years of Portraits opened at Gallery One in Toronto; Canada Stress and Density opens at Camera Works, Berlin; Peter Beard art works exhibited at Paris Photo; Peter Beard works exhibited at the photo exhibition Under/Exposed, Stockholm, Sweden
Lives in New York and Montauk Point, and Kenya with his wife Nejma and daughter Zara

Exhibitions

2010
Elephant Parade, Somerset House, London, England
Life as a Legend: Marilyn Monroe, Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, USA
2009
The Fallern Angels, Watari-Um, Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan
2008
Las Implicaciones de la Imagen (The implications of image), Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte, Mexico City, Mexico
Afrika - Camera Work, Berlin, Germany
2006–2007
Time’s Up!, Michael Hoppen Gallery, London, England
2005
Living Sculpture, Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, USA; Michael Hoppen Gallery, London, England (solo)
2004
The Andy Warhol Show, La Triennale di Milano, Milan, Italy
Light Bound: Photographers Regard the Book, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, USA
2003
Living Sculpture, Galerie Kamel Mennour, Paris, France (solo)
2002
Francis Bacon in Arles, 1956-1985, the Van Gogh series by Francis Bacon, Vincent van Gogh Foundation, Arles, France
2001
Peter Beard: Wild Life, Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, USA (solo)
2000
Nomade, Galeries Lafayette, Paris, France
1999
Stress and Density, KunstHausWien, Vienna, Austria (solo)
28 Pieces, Galerie Kamel Mennour, Paris, France (solo)
1998
Pettiness and Futility, Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, USA (solo)
Peter Beard, FotoFestival Naarden, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (solo)
1997
Oltre la fine del Mondo (Beyond the End of the World), Palazzo Reale-Sala delle Cariatidi, Milan, Italy (solo)
Carnets Africains, Paris, France (solo)
1995
Fact and Fiction: Animal Visions for the 21st Century, Light Factory Photographic Arts Center, Charlotte, USA
1993
African Diary Wallpaper, Seibu Museum, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
1991–1992
Peter Beard, Espace des Arts, Chalon-sur Saone, France (solo)
1988
End of The Game, Greenberg Gallery, St. Louis, USA
1979
Whispers from Earth – NASA: Voyager Time Capsule, Photographers Gallery, London, England
Diary, Seibu Museum, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Burnt Diaries, Watari Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
1977
Peter Beard, International Center of Photography, New York, USA (solo)
1975
Blum-Helman, New York, USA

Literature

2008
Beard, Peter. "The End of the Game: The Last Word from Paradise," Taschen. Köln, Germany and London, United Kingdom
2008
Beard, Peter. "Peter Beard, Trade Edition," Taschen America
2007
Beard, Peter. "Peter Beard, Collector's Edition," Taschen America,
2006
Beard, Peter. "Peter Beard, Art Edition," Taschen America
2004
Beard, Peter. "Zara's Tales: Perilous Escapades in Equatorial Africa," Alfred A. Knopf. New York, New York, USA
2001
Siemens, Jochen, and Peter Beard and Jochen. Peter Beard (Spezial Fotografie #26). Translated by Andrew Craston. Stern Portfolio Library of Photography. Beltz Publishing, Germany
2000
Beard, Peter. "28 Pieces," Galerie Kamel Mennour, Paris, France.
1999
Beard, Peter. "Stress & Density," Vienna, Austria
1999
Beard, Peter. "Fifty Year of Portraits," Arena Editions. Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
1998
Beyond the End of the World. Universe Publishing, (A Division of Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.). Milan, Italy
1997
Beard, Peter. "Oltre La Fine del Mondo," Milan, Italy
1996
"Peter Beard - Photo Poche #70", Paris, France
1993
Beard, Peter. "Diary From A Dead Mans Wallet: Confessions of a Bookmaker," Tokyo, Japan
1993
Bowermaster, Jon. "The Adventures and Misadventures of Peter Beard in Africa," Bulfinch Press, (Little, Brown, and Company), Boston, Massachusetts
1992
Wilson, R. L. The Peacemakers: Arms and Adventure in the American West. Random House Publishing Group. New York, New York, USA
1978
The Last Word from Paradise - Photographs by Peter Beard. Tokyo: Seibu Museum of Art. Tokyo, Japan
1975
Beard, Peter. "Longing for Darkness, Kamante's Tales from Out of Africa," Harcourt Brace and Jovanovich. New York, USA & London, UK
1975
Geldzahler, Henry. Francis Bacon: Recent Paintings. Interview with Francis Bacon by Peter Beard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, New York, USA
1973
Beard, Peter and Graham, Alistair. "Eyelids of Morning, The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men," New York Graphic Society. Greenwich, Connecticut, USA
1965
Beard, Peter. "The End of the Game," Paul Hamlyn. London, United Kingdom