Graham Boynton's Wild is the definitive biography of photographer Peter Beard, a larger-than-life icon who pushed the boundaries of art and scandalized international high society with his high-profile affairs.
He was the original 20th century “enfant terrible” with the looks of a Greek god who blazed like a comet across the worlds of art, photography, and fame. The scion of several old WASP fortunes, he was by instinct an adventurer, and the more dangerous the escapade, the better: whether he was hunting big game in Africa, ingesting epic quantities of drugs, or pursuing the most beautiful women in the world. Among his friends were Jackie Onassis, Andy Warhol, and Francis Bacon. When Peter Beard died in 2020 after mysteriously disappearing from his Montauk home, he remained an enigma to even his closest friends.
Journalist and author Graham Boynton was a friend for more than 30 years, spending time with Beard at his bush camp in Africa, in London, and at his Long Island home. From hundreds of Boynton’s interviews with Beard’s closest friends, former lovers, and fellow artists comes this intimate portrait of a man Sir Mick Jagger called “a visionary.”
Travel editor Boynton (Last Days in Cloud Cuckooland) recounts the life of his close friend Peter Beard (1938–2020), a "brave and completely crazy" adventurer and African wildlife photographer. Beard, born into old money, was described by his own mother as the "most uncooperative boy she had ever met." At 17, he traveled to Kenya with Quentin Keynes, Charles Darwin's great-grandson, where he spent months with colonial African conservationists and emerged with "a burning passion for Africa." Boynton recounts Beard's years of bohemian adventures while he lived on a 40-acre plot of land in Kenya named Hog Ranch (such as the time he was nearly crushed to death by an elephant), fighting for animal preservation and taking photographs of African wildlife. As well, Boynton touches on Beard's lavish fashion shoots for publications like Vogue, where he worked with supermodels such as Veruschka and Iman. Beard emerges as a man of contradictions, and a "much-loved character who was apparently capable of heartlessly abandoning old friends and colleagues without a second thought." Boynton captures Africa's spirit along with an expert character sketch, making this as inspiring as it is provocative. Readers will relish this account of a one-of-a-kind life.