0511-017 006-D0511-017 060-D2-Decade-1960-Kenyatta-5093
Graduated from Yale in 1961.
The summer after his junior year, Beard returned to Africa on the Queen Mary with Willie du Pont and read Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) on the boat trip over; he was captivated by the book.

While in Africa, he met Bill Woodley, who later became the Warden at Tsavo East National Park; Douglas Tatham Collins (known as Ponsumby) who showed Beard the Shag and Greater Shag during the Congo Revolution; Mbuno, who would eventually become the mainstay at Hog Ranch, Kenya, from 1966 to 1992; professional hunters Bryan Coleman and Bryan Hurt who were practicing game control; and others – Ewart S. Grogan, Philip Percival, Ian Parker, Alistair Graham, Robin Hurt, Gordon Plant, Archibald Roosevelt, General Chui (an ex-Mau Mau) and other Tsavo Park wardens – who all added to Beard’s unique African experience and lead to his book, The End of the Game: The Last Word from Paradise.

In December 1961, through his cousin Jerome Hill, Beard went to Copenhagen to meet Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen, author of Out of Africa, Shadows in the Grass, and Gothic Tales). From there he traveled to Africa, and later returned to Copenhagen in June 1962 for a second visit with Blixen. Beard made photographic portraits of Blixen during both visits.

During the second visit, Blixen gave Beard a letter of introduction to her former majordomo, Kamante Gatura, whom he found in Renguti Village, Kenya.   After Blixen’s death in September 1962, Beard invited Kamante to live with him at Hog Ranch, which led to the creation of the Hog Ranch Art Department, beginning with work by Kamante, General Chui, and others.

In December of 1967, The Rungstedlund Foundation and the literary executors of Blixen’s estate granted Beard the film rights to Out of Africa, stating, “After having acquainted ourselves with the plans outlined by Peter Beard, author of The End of the Game, who was a personal acquaintance of the late Baroness Blixen, we have become convinced of the fact that if it be at all possible to carry the artistic values and the message of Out of Africa over into cinematographic form, he is the artist to do so.”

Beard starred as “Jack” in the 1963 Jonas and Adolfas Mekas film, Hallelujah the Hills, which won a Silver Sail at the Locarno International Film Festival and screened at Cannes and at the first New York Film Festival.

After an introduction by Jerome Hill, Beard met Salvador Dalí through Mary Hemingway. The antics and collaborations continued between the artists through the years, including a 1963 happening outside the Met. Beard recalls, “Because Dalí really wanted us to do it, we got up at 4:00 in the morning and picketed the Mona Lisa which had been brought to the Metropolitan. We had these Mona Lisas with the heads cut out and stuck our heads in.”

At a movie screening with Dalí, Beard meets Paul Morrissey and Andy Warhol.

Shot for Vogue under Diana Vreeland, resulting in a 14-page magazine spread of model Veruschka.
From 1964-1965 Beard worked in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya, and began documenting the destruction of the 8,300 square-mile habitat and subsequent death of over 35,000 elephants.

Acquired Hog Ranch, 45 acres of wilderness near the Ngong Hills and adjacent to Karen Blixen’s former coffee plantation, from Mervyn Cowie. Beard was granted a special dispensation to own land by President Jomo Kenyatta to promote the peoples, flora and fauna of Kenya in his books, movies, documentaries, etc.

The first printing of The End of the Game—Last Word from Paradise published in 1965 by Viking Press, New York. Beard’s landmark book chronicles Africa’s wildlife crisis and implicates a global paradise ever more over-populated, marching in force downhill toward irreversible problems of density and stress, war and disease (AIDS, Ebola), etc.

Participated in roping rhinos with Ken Randall as part of the Kenya Game Department Relocation Programme. Rhinos were taken from Hunting Block 28 & 29 to a rest area where they were cured of diseases and released into the wasteland of Tsavo (from which they turned and ran back). This was the background for the famous photo of Veruschka and a roped rhino.

Worked with Dick Laws and Ian Parker at the Nuffield Unit of Tropical Ecology on a population dynamics study of elephants and hippopotamuses in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda in 1966.

Met Elui Ngenga, a classic hunter, whose photo appeared on the first edition cover of The End of the Game.   Ngenga was jailed for poaching and then went to live at Hog Ranch as Beard’s tracker.

In the mid-60s Beard filmed with Salvador Dali, “Living Sculpture” — accidents and disasters for release after his death.

In 1967 two works by Beard were included in the last installment of a special exhibit series at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: “Photography in the Fine Arts Exhibition V.” A panel of eleven museum directors, administrators, and curators selected the photographs included in the show which later traveled around the country. In 1988, the International Center of Photography launches an exhibit honoring the Photography in the Fine Arts series and its efforts to secure a wider audience for photography as a fine art.

Photographed Life magazine’s 1967 year-end cover story on the elephant problem in Africa with Romain Gary, who contributed his “Letter to an Elephant.”

While en route to Kenya, Beard met Francis Bacon at Bacon’s opening at the Marlborough Gallery, London. They lunched at New Oats. Bacon later began painting portraits of Beard over several years.

In later reflections on Beard’s work, Bacon said, “Over the years, Peter Beard has given me many of his beautiful photographs, for me the most poignant are the ones of decomposing elephants where, over time, as they disintegrate, the bones form magnificent sculpture, sculpture which is not just abstract form but has all the memory traces of life’s futility and despair.”

Based in Turkana, Beard collaborated with Alistair Graham on a crocodile study from 1966-1968 at Lake Rudolph for the Kenya Game Department. The study became the basis of Eyelids of Morning: The Mingled Destines of Crocodiles and Men, written by Alistair Graham with photos by Peter Beard, published in 1973.
Arrested in 1969 by newly independent Karen police in Kenya for “assault and wrongful confinement” of a suni antelope poacher at Hog Ranch, Beard was sentenced to 18 months in the Kamiti Prison. The sentence was commuted early…and without the scheduled lashing.