Peter Peryer


‘Possession is a good word. It is a bit like being possessed… it’s not a rational decision, it’s just something I have to do.

Peter Peryer began photographing in 1973 at the age of thirty-two after initially pursuing a teaching career (Peter graduated with a degree in English and a Masters in Education). His career which spanned over forty years was rich and varied, his photography practice taking him around New Zealand, Europe, USA and the sub Antarctic.

Sometimes described as 'Peryer' world or 'Peryerland', his images self-consciously visualise and portray a world of his own creation, beyond the conventions of contemporary photography. In his hands, what seem like ordinary subjects take on a quality of unease and ambiguity. However, though not overly specific to New Zealand, his images also capture a quality unique to the experience of living here - even when this is expressed in terms of New Zealand remoteness or isolation.

In the 1997 Queen's Birthday Honours, Peryer was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for service to photography; and in 2000, he became one of five inaugural laureates of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand. Peter passed away on 18 November 2018, at the age of 77.


Quotation from the Depot Artspace’s Cultural Icons project 


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