Peter Beard is a photographer sometimes described as “half Tarzan, half Byron”, collector, diarist, who lived a life in Africa through the 60’s and 70’s. He wrote diaries, created collages and took photographs of what moved him. They are not for the faint hearted, his drawings and photography are as moving as they are shocking.

When he was 17, Beard went on what turned out to be a life-changing summer trip to Africa with Charles Darwin’s grandson, and explorer, Quentin George Keynes. They ventured to a place that Beard still takes much enjoyment in trying to pronounce – Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, (pron. shushlooeey-umfalowzee), Zululand – where they worked on a film about the now almost-gone white and black rhinos.

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Peter Beard collage huge alligator

The illustrated diaries he kept from a young age evolved into a serious career as an artist and earned him a position in the international art world.

Peter Beard drawing on the floor

Peter Beard lays down next to aligators


rhino collage by Peter Beard is a photographer

zebra skins by Peter Beard photographer

topless tribe woman by Peter Beard

trophy fish peter beard

For twenty years, from the mid-60s to the mid-80s, Peter Beard was the Golden Child of New York. Peter knew everyone who mattered, e.g. Jackie Kennedy, Francis Bacon, Mick Jagger, Truman Capote and Andy Warhol, and was liked and respected by all. He was painted by Francis Bacon, painted on by Salvador Dali, books with Jacqueline Onassis and Mick Jagger – all of whom are brought to life, literally and figuratively, in his work.


Here with artist Salvador Dalí.

peter_beard_mick jagger photographing bianca

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.

veruschka body painting shot by peter beard

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Veruschka by Peter Beard for Play Boy magazine.


Peter Beard veruschka posing next to a hunted rhino Tsavo Park, Kenya. 1964.

Tsavo Park, Kenya. 1964.

Peter Beard top model iman profile portrait

In 1975, Peter Beard was in Nairobi when he was blown away by the sight of Iman, who was a university student. Peter brought her to New York, where they created what she later called the “Iman mythology.” At a press conference, the photographer claimed he had “discovered” her in the African jungle and they pretended she did not speak English…

Peter Beard top model iman in topless

Peter Beard fashion shooting topless woman on a pool

Peter Beard fashion shooting model floating on a pool

Peter Beard fashion shooting on the jungle

topless woman on top of antique books Peter Beard

Peter Beard woman in bikini riding an aligatorNaomi Simms, 1972

Peter Beard collage mokey and topless woman

Peter Beard at his kennia ranch jiraff eating grass

Peter Beard has been obsessed with images of death and loss since he made his reputation in 1965 with The End of the Game, a chilling photographic chronicle of natural disaster in Africa by an encroaching civilization

Peter Beard plane shadow over death elephant carcass

Peter Beard death zebra carcass

Peter Beard cocodrile death bodies lined up next to an airplane

Peter Beard 2 tribe men show off hunted cocodrle

Peter Beard rhino huntting

Peter Beard rhino hunting secuence

“When I first went to Kenya in August 1955, I could never have guessed what was going to happen. Kenya’s population was roughly five million, with about 100 tribes scattered throughout the endless “wild—deer—ness” – it was authentic, unspoiled, teeming with big game — so enormous it appeared inexhaustible.” -Peter Beard.

Peter Beard