Photographer Beard’s family announces death a month after he disappeared
New York, Apr 20 (efe-epa).- The family of well-known wildlife photographer Peter Beard, famous for having documented the beauty of Africa with his work, announced his death on Monday almost a month after he disappeared from his residence on Long Island. He was 82.
“We are all heartbroken by the confirmation of our beloved Peter’s death. We want to express our deep gratitude to the East Hampton police and all who aided them in their search, and also to thank the many friends of Peter and our family who have sent messages of love and support during these dark days,” the family said in a statement posted to the photographer’s Web page.
“He died where he lived: in nature,” the statement read.
The body of the photographer, who in recent years had suffered from dementia, was found Sunday in a wooded area near his home in the town of Montauk, in far eastern Long Island, and although his remains have not been examined the family confirmed that it was Beard.
East Hampton police chief Christopher Anderson confirmed to local media that no cause of death had yet been established, adding that authorities have not ruled out either suicide or a criminal act.
“He was an intrepid explorer, unfailingly generous, charismatic, and discerning. Peter defined what it means to be open: open to new ideas, new encounters, new people, new ways of living and being,” the family said in its statement.
“Always insatiably curious, he pursued his passions without restraints and perceived reality through a unique lens,” his loved ones recalled.
Beard was internationally recognized for his photos of African wildlife that he took during the decades he lived and worked in Kenya.
His best-known work was “The End of the Game,” published in 1965, which showed Africa’s beauty and the tragedy of its species in danger of extinction, especially elephants.
He also photographed women for fashion magazines and had much-talked-about romances with Lee Radziwill, the sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, according to The New York Times.
The photographer was married to model Cheryl Tiegs from 1981 to 1983 and was the friend of a number of important figures in the world of culture, including Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Salvador Dali and The Rollings Stones.
Beard was born into a well-off family in Manhattan in 1938 and graduated from Yale University in 1961, where he had studied with artist Josef Albers and art history expert Vincent Scully.
After finishing his university studies, he traveled to Denmark, where he met and photographed Karen Blixen, the author of the novel “Out of Africa,” and later he bought 18 hectares (about 45 acres) that bordered on the coffee plantation in Kenya where Blixen lived.