PETER BEARD (b. 1938)
In 1955, Peter Beard took his first trip to Kenya, and it changed the course of his life. His focus of study at Yale switched from Pre-Med to Art History as he came to the conclusion that he needed to help all of humanity, rather than specific individuals, through his life’s work. He spent his last year of school in Kenya, and instead of completing a final thesis, he mailed in his diaries. In the years since, he has traveled back and forth from Nairobi, where he owns a home called Hog Ranch, and New York, photographing either wildlife or fashion depending on his location.
Through his art, Beard expresses his distress at the dwindling population of elephants and black rhinos, documenting their demise in his book The End of the Game. He often accompanies his stunning photographs with mixed media collage, using colorful ink, hand-written text, and even sometimes his own blood to convey his message. His dedication to the preservation of these endangered animals and to his art is such that he puts himself at great risk for these photographs, once even suffering a serious wound from an elephant’s tusk.
Beard has said that human beings—being the dominant species—are the only beings capable of truly appreciating the beauty in this world, but, by the same token, are also the most likely to accidentally destroy it. His mission is to bring awareness and inspire the appreciation, while mitigating the destruction.