Iconic photographer Peter Peryer has passed away — 19.11.18

We say goodbye to the exceptional photographer and inaugural Laureate Peter Peryer who died yesterday, aged 77.

Farewell Peter. You’ve left our homes filled with the familiar we didn’t recognise; the enigmatic we continue to query and the endurable everyday reality to be seen with fresh eyes. Your eye was the best. 

- Luit Bieringa, Former NAG Director, Photography Collector, Documentary Filmmaker 

Exceptional photographer and inaugural Laureate Peter Peryer died yesterday. Our heartfelt condolences to his family and all who loved him. We loved him too. A great friend and supporter of the Arts Foundation, we will really miss Peter. Many of us remember wonderful long chats with him on the phone about little and big things.  

In 2006, Peter took part in one of our events for high school students. During the presentation of a slide depicting a wooden shoe with a piece of fruit and a noticeable shadow, which Peter described as a work in progress called Dali Meets Bali, a cheeky student at the back of the room asked this question: “But is it art?”, without hesitation Peter said, “What do you think?” There was a resulting collective realisation in the room. The art was in the question, all the students, even the cheeky one, knew it. 

Peter was cheeky; he had an enormous laugh that filled the room. He was a brilliant photographer, clever, constructive and with a depth of purpose. 

Some of Peter’s shots would take up to a year of planning. Careful development, then refinement of the idea. Many were personal, including self-portraits and of people he was close to.  Some made world news, like the petrified dead cow that the government tried to have removed from an exhibition in Germany. We loved hearing Peter tell that story. He was a great storyteller.  

Shirley Horrocks is making a documentary about him. We interviewed her as she prepared to run a Boosted campaign to help with the cost of the filming, here is what she said about him: 

"Peter Peryer has such a unique eye, his photos offer a distinctive perspective on the world. His pictures have a strange fascination, they’re intriguing and mysterious, with a whimsical sense of humour. He is one of the most thoughtful and painstaking of photographers, and in a world that is now absolutely flooded with casual i-phone shots and selfies, we urgently need Peter’s example to remind us that photography can be something special, a true form of art."

You can learn more about Peter here. A rich and deep history of achievement and expression that we will all have forever.