About Brian Peterson – Photographer

“Peterson’s photographs transcend the realm of objects to speak about matters of the soul.”
—Ellen Rosenholtz, former director, Lancaster Museum of Art

For 50 years, Brian H. Peterson has been a passionate explorer of the creative life, as a musician, visual artist, museum curator, critic, scholar, and critically acclaimed author. Peterson’s photographs are in the collections of more than a dozen major museums including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Amon Carter Museum, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Denver Art Museum, The Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Library of Congress.

As the Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest Chief Curator at the Michener Art Museum (1990–2013), he managed the exhibition program, curated historic and contemporary exhibitions, and was the editor and principal author of the landmark publication Pennsylvania Impressionism (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002). Also the author of three collections of essays—The Smile at the Heart of Things (2009), The Blossoming of the World (2011), and I Give My Eyes… (2018)—Peterson has contributed critical writing to the Los Angeles Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, American Arts Quarterly, and The Photo Review.

In retirement he has taken up videography while continuing his work as a writer and photographer. His 1981 song cycle “Moon Songs,” based on the poetry of E. E. Cummings, was featured on the CD Modern American Art Song (Albany Records, 2015) with mezzo-soprano Sharon Mabry.

Office Window 2019

“I grew up in Western Montana, then moved to Philadelphia in 1974 to study music (University of Pennsylvania) and photography (University of Delaware).  Every summer I traveled back to Montana and spent most of my annual vacations backpacking in the bitterroot Mountains with my father.  He was a geologist, and taught me much about the unimaginable vastness and impossible beauty of creation.   The wilderness was, and remains, my true home.  These pictures were made in memory of my father, at sunrise, from my office window in Wilmington, where my wife and I moved in April 2019.”