The photographs and collages by Peter Beard: An adventurer in Africa and Studio 54


One day, Peter Beard decided to go to Africa and bought a ranch in Kenya near the plantation that had belonged to Karen Blixen, author and main character of Out of Africa (also known as Isak Dinesen). He produced one of the best series of photographs of the continent, to which he returned several times during his life. Beard marked a style with his camera and experimented with the technique of collage, decorating pictures with quotes from Karen Blixen, Joseph Conrad, with images of the Kikuyu, with drops of blood, ink, and leaves. The photographer lived in peace on his ranch, and when he returned to New York, he was a star at the Studio 54 parties. On his diaries there are portraits of leopards, giraffes and African lions, mixed with snapshots of Mick Jagger, model Iman and Jackie Kennedy. Friend of Andy Warhol and Dali acquaintance, the life of Peter Beard was the talk of the seventies for his playboy reputation. An adventurer in every way.

“The question is not how to get cured, but how to live.”
Joseph Conrad


Peter with his daughter Zara – Photography by Alexandre Bailhach


© Peter Beard

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National Geographic: Around the world in 125 years


National Geographic has edited a book with more than 1000 of their best photographs from their archives, filled with the material compiled after 125 years documenting the world. Some of the pictures had never previously been published. The collection is divided into three books, organized by continents. You can have a look inside the books at Taschen’s website. I did, and now I am feeling the urge to buy the first flight to Australia, South America or India, and take photographs until I ran out of film (more on that subject soon).

The photographs show the interaction between landscapes and the humans that inhabit them. You might be looking at the valley of Taipi on Nokuhiva, and you can even feel the life in it, captured in an instant and brought back to the present. “It is a testimony about human culture“, as National Geographic has been described. The images offer a subtle view on society’s evolution too, shown in the people’s attitude towards these adventurers that sneaked into their lives. At first they posed happily, but there came a moment in which the situations portrayed were close to unsettled.

Some of the photographers featured are Steve McCurry (who took the famous picture of the Afghan girl), Frans Lanting, George Rodger and James Nachtwey.

A market in India, a giant iceberg in Antarctica, the façades of Al Khazneh, the navy of Greenland, a couple of inuits in a canoe, the bears of Canada, a long view of Central Park, the streets of Paris…Every photo is fascinating. A world tour ticket.

PS: If you want to dive into National Geographic‘s archives, have a look at their great Tumblr featuring old photos from the magazine.

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national-geographic14national-geographic18national-geographic17national-geographic1national-geographic1940-national-geographicAll images © National Geographic

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