Growing up in the Sutherland Shire, Peter Izzard understood only too well the simple pleasures that come with a beachside existence.
So when he started a family, he knew he wanted the same lifestyle for his own children.
“I was born in Auburn hospital, we soon moved to Bundeena, near Cronulla and that’s where I spent my formative years in the bush and in the water – it was a blessed place to grow up,” he said.
Peter has lived on the South Coast for about 20 years, eight of those have been spent in Kiama.
He now lives near Kendalls Beach with his son Seb and two cats – Astro and Asha.
“The good things are the similarities, Kiama has a very relaxed laid back lifestyle, like I had when I was growing up, and which most of the South Coast has also,” Peter said.
“That's why I moved my family down here when I did, to give them a similar lifestyle to what I had – very free, natural and easy going.”
When I can, I love getting out there into natural landscapes and away from built environments. Capturing the beauty I see through my lens is a really great challenge. It inspires me.Peter Izzard
Peter’s passion for Kiama and the surrounding districts are discernible. As a professional photographer, he regularly takes in some of the best sights the region has to offer.
“I love the topography, the landscape, that volcanic coastline mixed in with the farms and forests that run almost down to the edge of it, and the fact you can get out of Kiama and in a minute or two and you’re in a whole different landscape,” he said.
“Kiama is a whole different scene. I like the fact it is pretty much the doorway to the whole of the South Coast.
“I also love being a part of, and working with the community – it's packed with interesting and creative people. I feel a part of it, and that's important to me.”
Peter has been telling people’s stories with photographs professionally for 15 years, and loves that his camera takes him into places and situations he’d otherwise never get to experience.
“I’ve been a keen photographer since I was about 18, when I went travelling overseas for a couple of years,” he said.
“I ended up buying my girlfriend’s SLR camera, which was the catalyst for my passion for photography.”
That trip overseas with a camera in hand, led Peter on some memorable and at times confronting experiences. One he still remembers vividly.
“I was hitch-hiking out in western China in 1989, when I heard rumours there were some peaceful student protests in Beijing,” he said.
“Unbeknown to me it was to get a lot worse than that, and as it turned out I arrived in Beijing the night before the historic and infamous Tiananmen Square massacre.
“I was witness to some pretty graphic events, which affected me. I didn’t feel like I was in danger, but among others, there were shots fired over my head and I saw dead bodies hanging from bridges.
“There were some terrible, terrible things that happened, and hidden from the public by the government who denied it.”
Peter was eventually evacuated on a volunteer Qantas flight out of Beijing to Hong Kong.
The 29th anniversary of the protests recently passed on June 4.
“Every year around this time, I recall that I was witness to a rather tumultuous world event,” he said.
“I was also in Germany at the time the Berlin Wall came down in the same year – I’ve even got a piece of wall.”
Fun facts about Peter:
- He loves his tennis and most footy codes.
- He was also the fastest sprinter in high school over 100 metres, with a PB of 11 seconds flat.
As is the case with many people, work, parenting and life took over and Peter didn’t travel for many years.
However, his passion for capturing beautiful moments and his skill with the camera, was again to take him to a whole different world.
“I seem to be drawn, lately anyway, to cold climate places. I really love being in a part of the world that is totally different to where I usually am,” he said.
“When I can, I love getting out there into natural landscapes and away from built environments. Capturing the beauty I see through my lens is a really great challenge. It inspires me.”
Peter counts the Canadian Rockies, the south island of NZ, and the Highlands of Scotland among the best places he’s experienced.
“They're all incredible – I also visited Iceland a few years ago, which was epic too, and life changing,” he said.
“They're generally quite quick trips I zip out and do. Spontaneous in a way, but I like doing things like that. It’s nice to have plans months in advance, but there's something exhilarating about those spur of the moment adventures.”