Peter Lik (born 1959) is a photographer from Australia, best known for his nature and panoramic landscape images. He hosted From the Edge with Peter Lik, which aired for one season on The Weather Channel.
Lik was born in Melbourne to Czech parents who emigrated to Australia after World War II. He took his first photo at the age of 8, after his parents gave him a Kodak Brownie box camera for his birthday. The shot was of a spider web in the garden of the family home. In his youth, Lik would bring his camera on family vacations and take photos of country scenes and the ocean. This practice continued when he took road trips out of the city and into the wilds of Australia, often accompanied by his friend and fellow photographer Michael Plumridge. As a photographer, Lik is self-taught, learning mostly by trial and error.
In 1984, Lik made his first trip to the United States, traveling around the country for a year in an old van. While in Alaska, he was introduced to panoramic cameras and learned about large format photography. Upon his return to Australia, he continued to experiment with the panoramic format. In 1989, Lik returned to the United States, undertaking a project to photograph landscapes in all 50 states. He sold some of the photos for use in calendars and as postcards. Photos from the project were later collected in his 2003 coffee table book, Spirit of America.
Lik spent the early 1990s working for the tourism department of Queensland, Australia, traveling through the Outback and photographing little-seen areas. In 1994, he moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he opened Lik USA, which includes a facility for printing and framing his photos. He started his own publishing company, Lik Publishing, in the mid-1990s. The company has produced coffee table books, postcards and calendars of his work. In 1997, he published his first book, Australia: Images of a Timeless Land. In 2010, he published a 25-year retrospective coffee table book, 25th Anniversary Big Book, a 580-page leather-bound book weighing 40 pounds and containing over 500 images.
In December 2010, Lik sold a photograph for US$1 million to an anonymous collector, his highest-priced sale at that time. The photograph, titled "One", was shot on the banks of the Androscoggin River in New Hampshire. Lik has stated that only one print of the photo will ever be printed. According to BuzzFeed, as of 2011, the amount paid for "One" is the eleventh-highest price ever paid for a photo.
After winning the Art in Nature category of the 2010 Windland Smith Rice International Awards from Nature's Best Photography, "Ghost" (taken in Antelope Canyon, Arizona) was selected as part of a May 2011 exhibition of nature photography at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The photo was shot in a slot canyon with the sunlight coming in through a hole above, creating a ghostly aura. His "Inner Peace" won a 2011 Windland Smith Rice International Award, and was on display at the Smithsonian from April through September 2012.
In December 2014, Lik claimed to have sold a photograph titled "Phantom" to an anonymous bidder for $6.5 million, making it potentially the highest price paid for a photograph. Lik's claim has been greeted with much scepticism. No details of the sale have been verified though a lawyer confirmed that the mysterious buyer does exist.
In 1997, Lik opened his first gallery, in Cairns, Australia. He opened his first US gallery in Lahaina, Hawaii, in 2003, and his first in Las Vegas in Caesars Palace in 2005. Peter Lik Fine Art Photography opened in the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan in November 2008, as part of the hotel's new high-end retail concourse. He went on to open another Manhattan gallery, in the SoHo neighborhood. Overall, he has four galleries in Las Vegas and nine others across the US.
From the Edge with Peter Lik debuted on The Weather Channel on 31 March 2011, running for one season, with Lik as the host. The documentary series followed Lik on his journeys across the United States searching for and photographing attractive landscapes, such as the volcanoes of Hawaii, mountains of Montana, Arizona's Grand Canyon, and Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. The show was The Weather Channel's first original programme.
Lik is best known for his panoramic photos, and the large size and overall quality of his prints. He typically shoots panoramas with a Linhof 617 Technorama camera, using Fuji film. He also shoots digital, primarily using Phase One and Nikon cameras. He prints most of his photos on FujiFlex silver-halide paper, which increases the light sensitivity and glow, and helps accentuate the vibrant colors in the print.
- Australia: Images of a Timeless Land. Cairns, Australia: self-published, 1997. ISBN 978-1876585037.
- Spirit of America. Cairns, Australia: self-published, 2003. ISBN 978-1876585150.
- San Francisco. Cairns, Australia: self-published, 2003. ISBN 978-1876585075.
- Hawaii: The Aloha Spirit. Self-published, 2003). ISBN 978-0979792700.
- Las Vegas and Beyond. Las Vegas: self-published, 2006. ISBN 978-1876585280.
- Maui: Hawaiian Paradise (2006). ISBN 978-1876585266.
- Las Vegas: Beyond the Neon (2009)
- Equation of Time (2015)
- America (2015)
- New York (2015)
- Hawaii (2015)
- Las Vegas (2016)
Honors and awards
- Master of Photography, Australian Institute of Professional Photography, 2002
- Master of Photography, Professional Photographers of America, 2010
- British Institute of Professional Photography Fellow, 2010
- Royal Photographic Society Fellow, 2010
- Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Award – Art in Nature Winner, "Ghost at Antelope Canyon", 2010
- Silver Medals, Epson International Pano Awards, for "Ancient Spirit", "Angel's Heart" and "Sacred Sunrise", 2011
- Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Award – Plant Life Winner, "Japanese Maple", 2011
- American Aperture Awards, Best Landscape/Seascape/Nature, 2013
- “Peter Lik Bio,” Weather.com, 20 January 2011.
- Lorna Gentry, “Peter Lik: An ordinary bloke with a big camera”, Professional Photographer, June 2011, pp. 104-111.
- Dave Stopera, “The 15 Most Expensive Pictures Ever Taken”, Business Insider, 21 May 2011.
- “2010 Winners Windland Smith Rice International Awards”, Nature's Best Photography, 2010.
- “2011 Winners Windland Smith Rice International Awards”, Nature's Best Photography, 2011.
- "Peter Lik: Who is the record-breaking photographer behind the $7.8m Phantom?". ABC News. 11 December 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- "This is Officially the Most Expensive Photo Ever". Time Magazine. 10 December 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
- Sender, Hanna (10 December 2014). "Peter Lik Sells Most Expensive Photo of All Time; Similar Images Available Online for Free". International Business Times. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Taylor, Andrew (12 December 2014), "Buyer beware: Treat Peter Lik photo sale with scepticism", Canberra Times
- "Peter Lik's Recipe for Success: Sell Prints. Print Money". The New York Times. 21 February 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
- “About the Show: From the Edge with Peter Lik,” Weather.com, 18 January 2011.
- "Mr Peter Lik". Royal Photographic Society. Accessed 23 March 2018.
- 2013 American Aperture Awards Archived 25 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine, ax3.cc. Retrieved 19 August 2014.