Bookpleasures.com is honored to welcome as our guest Peter Guttman. Peter is a photographer, writer, author, television personality, lecturer, and adventurer who has traveled on assignment to seven continents and more than 220 countries. He has twice won Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year, been awarded a 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award by the New York Travel Writers Society, and was named finalist in the international Travel Photographer of the Year competition.
Peter has created the number one best-selling app for the iPad, Beautiful Planet HD. In addition to his many magazine assignments and books, he has been honored with solo shows at Sotheby's and the United Nations and has illustrated calendars for clients as diverse as Calvin Klein and American Express.
In 2000 Peter was named a finalist for the prestigious Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photographer, and in 2014 he received the Power of the Image Award in Beijing, China, where he was cited as one of “twenty of the world's most influential photographers.”
As a writer, he has contributed to Honeymoon Magazine and The Rosengarten Report. He has authored articles as a frequent Special Contributor for the Dallas Morning News and for the Los Angeles Times, National Geographic Traveler, New York Magazine, Outside, US Airways Attache, and travel trade publications such as Jax Fax and Travel Agent. Additionally, his travel advice has appeared in Bottom Line Publications and The Old Farmer's Almanac.
Peter has appeared in over 80 television shows including NBC's Today, CBS' This Morning, and CNN. He has exhibited internationally in acclaimed solo shows at Soho and Gramercy Park galleries in New York City as well as the International Center of Deauville as part of the 2005 American Film Festival of Deauville in France, one of Europe's largest film festivals. An artistic collaboration incorporating a Lincoln Center sextet performance to accompany "The Romantic Worlds of Peter Guttman" was presented in a 2006 extravaganza at Sotheby's in New York City. As far as can be determined, Guttman is the first living artist to be honored with a solo show on an entire floor at Sotheby's. In 2008, his photography from the Amazon comprised a solo show in the lobby of the United Nations and additional images were shown there in conjunction with The Reel Brazilian Film Festival. His fine art photography is represented internationally on an exclusive basis by Gramercy 32 Fine Arts.
He has been chosen by
Kodak as a national spokesperson for all media and to test new film
products during travel assignments
His recent book BY THE SEA: A Photographic Voyage Around The Blue Planet has just been published.
Good day Peter and thanks for participating in our interview
When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer and how did your photography career start? As a follow up, did you go to school to become a photographer and what was the first photograph you sold?
Peter: My photography became an extension of my art career during my college years when I was consumed in painstaking renderings of magic realism. I began to see I could never part with these creations and saw photography as a means of selling my artistic vision without losing possession of my work. The only photography classes I ever participated in were the travel photography courses I taught at the International Center of Photography. I'm completely self-taught. My first sales of a photographic image were to an art director at Institutional Investor magazine and depicted luggage arrival at an airport, an omen of my future endeavors.
Norm: When did you know that you finally made it as a professional photographer?
Peter: When my work began appearing on the covers of Fodors Travel publications and airline magazines in the 1980s, I knew I'd be able to support myself through photography.
Norm: What do you like most about being a photographer?
Peter: I found my camera to be a means of exploration and discovery, heightening my visual senses and sharpening my appetite for experiences.
Norm: How would you describe your style and how does your personality affect your photographs? What do you want your work to do?
Peter: My artistic impulses were funneled into explorations of the kaleidoscopic cultural diversity peppering the world's remote and hidden corners. Shooting on all seven continents and in over 210 countries, I've sought out carefully selected anthropological backdrops to provide a cinematic stage set for my subjects.
I've attempted to seek out timeless tableaux that graphically depict the pre-digital world of isolated indigenous people, devoted religious pilgrims, uncelebrated workers and solitary figures seemingly engulfed by surreal landscapes or primal environments. Utilizing the cultural iconography of exotic locales, I've looked to distill the timeless mystique of faraway places.
three decades, I've assembled a substantial collection of images
that endeavors to create a compelling narrative of the
universality threading human existence even when viewed through a
lens celebrating cultural diversity.
Norm: What would be your biggest piece of advice for getting work to a young photographer in the field?
Peter: Be fierce in your pursuit of passion. Follow your curiosities, shoot constantly and refine a portfolio that exhibits a unique perspective of visual ideas. Then strive for greatest exposure through social media, outreach to editors and photography competitions. Prepare for an uphill trajectory and don't succumb to any defeatist instincts. With talent and determination, success will follow.
Norm: What's the biggest mistake you've made as a photographer and/or writer?
Peter: The biggest mistake anybody striving for success can make is not recognizing the blessing that a window of opportunity provides.
Norm: What's your average working day like? Do you have any unusual habits/rituals?
Peter: What I love most about my career is that there is no average working day. I try to cram as many experiences as is humanly possible into my one and only mortality span.
Norm: Do you have an ongoing web-presence and do you attend conferences? As a follow up, how much depends on these traditionalapproaches and how much is purely from reputation? i.e. do you find
yourself doing a lot of self-promotion even after so many years and scores under your belt?
Peter: My work may be seen on a variety of web platforms as well as on numerous apps I've created including the iPad's number one best selling travel app, Beautiful Planet HD. I occasionally attend conferences as
a panelist and enjoy the lecture circuit, speaking at colleges, museums, cruise ships, even private jet trips around the world. I don't get too wrapped up in self-promotion and prefer to spend that time arranging travel experiences and gathering compelling content.
Norm: I noticed that you are also a writer and have contributed articles to various publications. What topics do you write about and where do you get your ideas for these topics?
Peter: I'm the author of eight books about magical travel experiences and adventures that are inspired by a ceaseless curiosity about the world and the kaleidoscopic collage of intriguing landscapes, cultures and people inhabiting our planet.
Norm: What inspired you to publish your most recent work, By The Sea and good you briefly tell us about the coffee table book with its exquisite photos?
Peter: By the Sea casts anchor and embarks on a rollicking journey across the oceans aboard a colorful variety of craft, while exploring dramatic coastal landscapes, exotic maritime cultures, spectacular marine wildlife, mouthwatering seafood treasures and joyous nautical pastimes.
Sailing past the
shores of all seven continents, the romantic imagination of every
beach lover, sailor, surfer, lighthouse enthusiast and traveler
is captured during a thrilling circumnavigation that covers the
maritime world from rugged, rainbow-splashed outports of
Newfoundland and canoe flotillas of chanting, grass-skirted warriors
in remote Iryan Jaya to sunbathing at an elegant Indian Ocean
resort and dancing through every time zone at the North Pole.
By the Sea is a dazzling survey of the magical aquatic wonders our planet offers. A definitive testament to the majestic drama and beauty of a diverse maritime world, this visual treasury is perfect for anyone with a love of salt air.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your work?
Peter: My WEBSITE is a good place to explore the wide variety of my work and travel experiences. Its links also showcase my numerous television appearances, articles and books as well
as Wikipedia's profile on my career and life.
Norm: After your phenomenal success as a photographer and writer, what, if anything, remains "undone" for you? What is the one thing you haven't done, that you are still "itching" to accomplish?"
Peter: I'd love to travel in outer space and here, closer to home, visit a perhaps an even more dangerous environment amongst the Arabian nights fantasy at Yemen's mud baked desert skyscrapers. I'll need to
await a distant political resolution for that earthbound destination.
Norm: As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.
Peter: Is it true that you still primarily shoot with film?
Peter: Privileged to view a constellation of exciting scenes through my viewfinder, I have stubbornly insisted on rendering my visions on film. Perhaps as a result of my time painting and drawing, I'm particularly sensitive about the concept of a canvas.
the infinite advances in the technology and resolution of digital
cameras, I'm absolutely convinced that as I paint with light onto
a canvas of film, there is an ineffable quality of atmosphere,
saturated richness and sculptural depth captured on the grains of
film that can never quite be captured in mathematically discreet
pixels or the cold light of a computer screen.
Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.