Author(s): Steven M.L. Aronson
Finally available in the trade edition: TASCHEN's massive, two-volume collection of Peter Beard's photos, diaries, and collages.Photographer, collector, diarist, and writer of books Peter Beard has fashioned his life into a work of art; the illustrated diaries he kept from a young age evolved into a serious career as an artist and earned him a central position in the international art world. He was painted by Francis Bacon, painted on by Salvador Dali, and made diaries with Andy Warhol; he toured with Truman Capote and the Rolling Stones, created books with Jacqueline Onassis and Mick Jagger - all of whom are brought to life, literally and figuratively, in his work. As a fashion photographer, he took "Vogue" stars like Veruschka to Africa and brought new ones - most notably Iman - back to the U.S. with him.His love affair with natural history and wildlife, which informs most of his work, began when he was a teenager. He had read the books of Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) and after spending time in Kenya and befriending the author, bought a piece of land near hers.
Born in New York City in 1938, Peter Beard began taking photographs and keeping diaries from early childhood. By the time he graduated from Yale University, he had developed a keen interest in Africa. Throughout the 1960s and '70s he worked in Tsavo Park, the Aberdares, and Lake Rudolf in Kenya's northern frontier. His first show came in 1975 at the Blum Helman Gallery, and was followed in 1977 by the landmark installation of elephant carcasses, burned diaries, taxidermy, African artifacts, books and personal memorabilia at New York's International Center for Photography. In addition to creating original artwork, Beard has also worked as a Vogue photographer and collaborated on projects with Andy Warhol, Andrew Wyeth, Richard Linder, Terry Southern, Truman Capote, and Francis Bacon. In 1996, shortly after Beard was trampled by an elephant, his first major retrospective took place at the Centre National de la Photographie in Paris, France, followed by shows in Berlin, London, Milan, Stockholm, Tokyo, and Vienna, among others. He lives in New York City, Long Island, and Kenya with his wife, Nejma, and daughter, Zara. Ruth Ansel is an award-winning art director known for her innovative design at many of America's top fashion and cultural magazines since the 1960s. Ansel Design Studio (est. 1992) has produced international fashion campaigns and books with photographers including Peter Beard, Richard Avedon, and Annie Leibovitz. Nejma Beard has been Peter Beard's agent and the director of the Peter Beard Studio since 2001. Since then she has curated and co-curated shows in Paris, London, Milan, and Los Angeles, and assisted on the publication of Zara's Tales. David Fahey is co-owner of the Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles. During his 31-year career in the field, he has collaborated on over 45 fine art photography books. He is the co-vice president of the Herb Ritts Foundation and serves on the Photography Advisory Council for the J. Paul Getty Museum. Steven M. L. Aronson, a former book publisher, is a writer and editor. He edited and published Peter Beard's book Longing for Darkness and wrote the T.V. special The End of the Game. He is the author of HYPE and the co-author of Savage Grace. Owen Edwards has written about photography for 30 years, for the American Photographer, New York Times Magazine, New York magazine, The Village Voice, Saturday Review, Vogue, Smithsonian magazine, and many other publications.