Peter Beard Found Dead

Long Island Body Identified As Renown Photographer Peter Beard
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Long Island News Post Published on April, 21st 2020

Long Island Body Identified As Renown Photographer Peter Beard

Police have identified a missing body as world-famous photographer Peter Beard after a 19-day search for the man. He went missing from his Montauk Point home as of Tuesday, March 31st which led to a search involving multiple helicopters, drones, and more than 75 police offers.

Christopher Anderson, East Hampton Police Captain, believes the body was Peter Beard although the positive identification had not been formally made. A press release from the police department state they had found “the remains of an elderly male consistent with the physical and clothing description of Beard was located in a densely wooded area.”

The cause of Beard’s death has not been specified, but it is known he was suffering from dementia for quite some time before his body was found in Montauk. Our thoughts are with his family in this difficult time.

Who Was Peter Beard?

Peter Beard was a world-renown photographer known for his love for the outdoors and to wander away for an “outing” on a regular basis. He was friends with world-renown art icons such as Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, and Salvador Dali. In addition to being friends, Beard would sometimes collaborate with several of these other artists.

Peter Beard grew up in New York City and Alabama before moving to Islip, Long Island. He was a graduate of Pomfret school and entered Yale University in 1957. He first attended Yale as a pre-med major, before changing to art history.

During his time at Yale he was mentored by Joseph Albers, Richard Lindner, and Vinent Scully and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1961. Upon graduating, Peter Beard worked for an advertising agency for a brief period of time before returning to Kenya after being inspired by earlier trips to Africa and developing a love for the area.

Peter Beard’s Time in Africa

Beard first traveled to Africa when he was only 17.

Beard bought a Hog Ranch Property that was a 45-acre piece of property near the Ngong Hills which would later become his permanent residence in East Africa. He resided in Africa for many years and split his time between there and his Long Island home.

Peter Beard Describes his experience in Kenya below:

“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. Everyone agreed it was too big to be destroyed. Now Kenya’s population of over 30 million drains the country’s limited and diminishing resources at an amazing rate: surrounding, isolating, and relentlessly pressuring the last pockets of wildlife in denatured Africa.”

Peter Beard’s Art

Peter Beard’s most well-known work is of African nature and African animals. His photos that accompany his journal have been published since the 1970s. His journal was a focal point of his life that combined his love for keeping a diary and photography in one place.

Beard's diary was anything but ordinary. It consists of newspaper clippings, dried leaves, insects, animal blood and even his own blood! Using blood as a medium was one of the many things that separated some of Beard’s work.

The artwork and notes found throughout his diary showcase Beards ability to make any simple thing into a piece of art. Each page looks as if it was a separate collage acting to form a mural of Beard’s experiences.

Because he was in 2 very different settings, Peter Beard's art was able to be as diverse as his surroundings. His photography portfolio ranges from the Jones Beach Boardwalk to elephants roaming around Africa, something not many photographers can say they have in their portfolio.

Peter Beard Film Discography

Peter Beard has appeared, directed, and produced many films throughout the years.

  • That Summer

  • The Making of the 2009 Pirelli Calendar

  • Montauk Diaries

  • Last Word from Paradise: With Peter Beard in Africa

  • Japanese Long Line Tuna Fishing

  • Africa: The End of the Game

  • The Bicentennial Big Foot Blues

  • Longing for Darkness

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Long Island News Post Updated April 21st, 2020

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