Revisiting Peter Beard’s Africa

In the early 1960s, the dashing wildlife (and sometime fashion) photographer Peter Beard chucked his privileged upbringing for the plains, the mountains, the jungles, and the preservation of Africa. Although his obsession with the continent is perhaps most associated with his discovery of Iman in Nairobi, Beard’s photos of African animals — usually collaged together and superimposed with hand-written prose and other marginalia — have nonetheless captured the popular imagination.

In particular, his landmark book The End of the Game combines photos, words, and bits of actual animal to poignantly document the plight of elephants, rhinos, and hippos in Kenya and Uganda. “The deeper the white man went into Africa,” he wrote, “the faster the life flowed out of it, off the plains and out of the bush…vanishing in acres of trophies and hides and carcasses.”

A 50th-anniversary edition has now been released by Taschen. Limited to 5,000 numbered copies and featuring an updated foreword by travel and fiction writer Paul Theroux, the re-edition remains as relevant and urgent today as it was half a century ago.

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