Peter J. Menzel (born February 7, 1948) is an American freelance photojournalist best known for his coverage of scientific and technological subjects. His work has appeared in many national and international publications including National Geographic, Forbes, Fortune, Wired, Geo, Stern, Paris Match, Life and Le Figaro. In conjunction with his wife, writer/producer Faith d'Aluisio, Menzel has also published five books including Material World: A Global Family Portrait (1994) and Hungry Planet: What The World Eats (2005). He is the founder of Peter Menzel Photography.
Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Menzel became a professional photographer in 1970 and soon began to focus on high-tech stories, including virtual reality, DNA fingerprinting, micromachines and solar cars. But he has also covered more traditional photojournalistic subjects. His work on the Kuwait oil well fires of 1991 ran as a 26-page cover story for German Geo and won a Communication Arts award.
His photographs have been exhibited at the United Nations, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the National Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Science in Boston, and Visa Pour L'Image, the annual international photojournalism congress in Perpignan, France.
Menzel and d'Aluisio live in Napa, California. They have four adult sons.
Women in the Material World
The 1996 companion volume to Material World, from Sierra Club Books, this book focuses on women from 20 different countries, along with short essays on subjects such as marriage, childcare, and work.
Hungry Planet: What the World Eats
Similar in style to Material World, Hungry Planet presents what thirty families eat in a week through a combination of photographs and essays. Each family’s profile includes descriptions about their food purchases in USD and a portrait of the family surrounded by a week’s worth of groceries. The book shows families from 24 countries, offers essays from Michael Pollan, Charles C. Mann, and Marion Nestle, among others.
- 2006 – Book of the Year, James Beard Foundation (Hungry Planet)
- 2006 – Best Writings on Food, James Beard Foundation (Hungry Planet)
- 2006 – Book of the Year, Harry Chapin World Hunger Media Foundation (Hungry Planet)
- 2005 – Award of Excellence, Picture of the Year Foundation (Hungry Planet)
- 2004 – Picture of the Year, National Press Photographers Association
- 2000 – First Place, Science Photography, World Press Photo Foundation (Robo Sapiens)
- 1999 – Best Writings on Food, James Beard Foundation (Man Eating Bugs)
- 1998 – Audie Award for Abridged Nonfiction, Audio Publishing Association (Women in the Material World)
- 1991 – Arts Magazine
- 1991 – World Press Photo Foundation
- 1985 – Picture of the Year, National Press Photographers Association
- Women in the Material World. Faith D'Aluisio and Peter Menzel. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books ISBN 0-87156-398-3