Photographer Peter Beard became famous for his images of wildlife in Africa . However, he never considered himself an environmentalist. Or, at least, he didn’t like the label. “Conservationism is for people on Park Avenue who have Poodles and Pekingese and feel guilty,” he used to comment.
He never liked the topics although, at first glance, he embodied a few. A regular at Studio 54 in New York in the 1970s, he was a boyfriend of Lee Radzwill, the little sister of Jackie Onnasis, and a friend of Truman Capote , Andy Warhol or Mick Jagger . Of his friends, he revered Warhol. “Everything I did was fine, it was a work of art in itself. His center of gravity was money. “
Heir to a wealthy New York family, he attended the best schools and traveled to Africa at age 17. It didn’t take long to buy a ranch in Kenya. “In Africa I built a life as far away from the Yale art school as possible,” he confessed to ‘New York Magazine’ in 2013.
For Beard, money never came first. Or it was, but in the animistic and unconscious way that those who have always been used to it perceive it. “It is incredible that it did not end in bankruptcy,” he once said. Heir to a wealthy New York family with businesses in the rail and tobacco industries, he attended the best schools and traveled to Africa at age 17.
It didn’t take long to buy a ranch in Kenya. “In Africa, I built a life as far away from the Yale Art School as possible,” he confessed to New York Magazine in 2013. His home in Nairobi forged his legend as a documentary photographer, but he cultivated his social life in Montauk, on a ranch he bought in the vicinity of Warhol’s.
At the time, he was dating Lee Radziwill, Jackie Onassis’ little sister and quintessential socialite idle, who remembered summers spent with him on the Greek island of Onassis, Skorpios, and on the Montauk ranch. “There’s no one like Peter,” Radziwill told Town and Country in 2016. “It’s all enthusiasm, laughter, soul, and good manners. I think he has a double personality. You can cross Lake Rudolf in Africa and then plant yourself at one of my best-looking parties of anybody. ”