Journey into the world of Peter Beard
770 pages - hardcover
was the source of my photographic inspiration at university and the major reason I wanted to become a photojournalist. His artwork embodied the single most important rule of journalism (and our motto): always go. If you do not put yourself in uncomfortable and unpredictable situations, how can you ever expect to capture the elusive? You can not live a normal life and expect to experience the uncommon. To produce work that shows the pain, beauty, and tragedy of the human experience, you must first experience it yourself.
My favorite photographers are not those who are good at taking pictures, composing a shot, or live the high life in social media. My favorite photographers are those who have lived extraordinary lives and occasionally document their experiences on whatever camera they happen to have on them.
His work pushes the limits of photojournalism and blurs the lines between photography, collage, high fashion, and activism. His life and experiences' are equally as awe-inspiring as the scenes he captured behind a camera.
Beard's work can be found in multiple volumes produced in the past 10 years by Taschen Books. Titled for the man himself, this book is a condensed version of the two volume set my parents bought me the Christmas of my junior year of college. I would highly recommend buying the complete volume set, but it is a bit pricy now ($239.99). The new book is still a wonderful introduction to his work, with a solid collection of his daily collage diaries, photographs, collages, and scenes from his life. — Jesse Lenz