Charging into electrical storms, dangling over thundering waterfalls, crawling around crocodile infested swamps, wading into flooded streams, clambering up rocky escarpments. It was all in a day’s work for photographer Peter Jarver. So was the art of waiting. Hours. Days. Months. Sometimes years.
The Adelaide-born son of Estonian parents, Peter turned his fascination with stormy weather into a career when he swapped an electrical engineering degree for a camera and moved to Darwin – home of some of the world’s biggest electrical storms.
In the dead of night and in torrential downpours, he would be out chasing some of the 40,000 lightning flashes that split Darwin’s brooding wet season skies each year. Those giant tentacles of electricity and the menacing skyscapes they illuminated became his hallmark. It was during this period he developed an intense interest in the beautiful and unique thunderstorm activity for which this area is renowned worldwide. Not many photographers begin their careers with sky-scapes, but after years of passionate photography, he decided to expand these talents into landscape photography.
Once “nibbled” by the lightning he was trying to photograph, Peter said he had taken so many lightning shots, he could almost feel when a bolt was about to strike.
A fervent conservationist his crystal sharp images – mostly shot in large format with a view camera and tripod – added a new and personal perspective to an old landscape format. His indulgence of ripe and fruity colours, combined with simple but dramatic composition, invoked an emotional response few could resist.
A completely self-taught photographer, Peter Jarver’s natural talent is complimented by his enthusiasm for the great Australian landscape. Long an advocate for the preservation of our natural heritage and his spiritual love of the land, his images are captured in a way few photographers can.
The measure of a great artist is not just the impact of a few images but the perception generated by a body of work.
Peter traveled Australia for more than 20 years documenting this continent. He was passionate about this land and its fragile environment. He was acutely aware of the importance of the flora and fauna to the Australian experience and the interaction of man and the environment.
It is true to say that Peter Jarver’s body of work is a valuable archive of this country, one that can now be shared by every Australian.
Peter Jarver passed away on 24th April 2003 aged 49 years.
“Photography gives me a reason to immerse myself in a natural environment. To observe, to listen and to feel the spirit of nature is relaxing and fulfilling in itself, but to bring some images which capture the very essence of a place or a moment is truly satisfying. Time and time again I am able to transport myself to a particular place, or remember a magical moment of time when the quality of light transformed the ordinary into the extraordinary.”
“Through the images in my gallery, I hope you can also transport yourself to a time and a place where your physical being is not, but where your spirit longs to be.”
“A true photographic artist should be able to produce images which are not just technically perfect or aesthetically pleasing, but capture the emotion or drama of the place. Water should be heard to burble, leaves to rustle. The image should be swelling with emotion, the viewer drawn by the heart into the very essence of place.”
“I believe I have achieved this and through my images I hope you can accompany me on a journey through the great Australian landscape.”
You can find out more about Peter Jarver's Awards, Exhibitions and Commissions.