Peter Lavery · photographer


This morning looking into the portfolio of Lavery’s work I see a photographer who has covered a lot of ground during his career as a photographer. And I wonder, will we see this kind of broad spectrum portfolio on photographer’s websites in years to come, or is this an end of era? I don’t know. I only hope to be able to produce at least half the work and projects that he has achieved in his life.

The ‘fetish’ nature of some photographer’s work can be seen sometimes more evidently that others. With Lavery I see a certain tendency towards the Fetish; especially in his work of the circus and the native indigenous peoples. In some ways, however, I wonder if this is not what is needs to make good projects? Or is it too subjective?

 Peter Lavery · Biography outline

‘I was born on February 23rd 1948. We were one of the first occupants of an estate of houses being built on Park Hill farm at East Moor on the edge of Wakefield. I was just a toddler and yet can remember a huge dusty barn where my father kept his car, there were hens running around everywhere in and out of shafts of light projected through holes in the roof.’ (Lavery, no date) [1]

Lavery studied the arts, in particular, ceramics and design. After discovering his penchant for photography he enrolled on a degree course in design and pursued his photography training within that. Later he would continue his studies at M.A level in creative photography under the auspices of the Royal college London.Work of Lavery

Lavery’s work covered many major genres including fashion and photos essay journalism. Like many photographers of that time, it would seem that there was still the possibility to be commissioned on assignments.The work of the indigenous proves to be highly oriented towards the romantic, as already pointed out and I feel that the romanticising tendency leads to an unbalanced portrayal of the group or individual shown in the project. It would seem that there is a general tendency to do this with indigenous groups.In his series ‘My tribe my people’ there is an interview a woman of an indigenous tribe of Indians:

 ‘It is our custom for youngsters to enter a period of seclusion before becoming adults, and I myself  spent five years in seclusion which is an important period of learning for us, rather like going to school. My father and uncle taught me tribal myths and legends and also how to make things, like arrows and bows, necklaces. Above all they taught me how to behave and how to treat others and especially how to converse.’ (Lavery, no date) [2].

This suggests that there is maturity in the outlook of these tribal people, far from being ‘savages’ and wildly uncivilised which itself can be an aspect of romanticising the protagonist, so in a senes it gives a different view. The image and the reality, do they meet up? I would say not. The images seem to display a set of assumptions about these people. That somehow, unclothed and looking primitive equals being primitive on a mental and emotional level. However, I feel that this dialogue reveals another side to the equation.


  1. Lavery, P. My tribe my people [online] [accessed, May 2020]
  2. Lavery, P. My tribe my people [online] [accessed, May 2020]



Published by Truevisionphotography

I'm a student photographer studying through the OCA a UK based arts university. I'm in the foundation year of my studies and enjoying it immensely. I'm also a yoga teacher and co-founder of Bodhiyoga a buddhism based yoga teacher training program that runs in the UK and Spain each year. As a photographer I'm interested in all forms of fine art. I find the arts really important in my life. I love nature and aim to be in the outdoors as much as I can. Generally I think that all the different strands of my life are flowing to towards self development in the greatest sense of the term. The arts, buddhist practice yoga and meditation are all tools to that end. I feel committed to communication the these values in the world both through the visual arts as well as teaching.

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