Peter Bregg - Inspiring a Generation of Canadian Photographers


I'm a photographer just like many of you. If anyone was to let you in on what I love the most, it's photography and Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Now growing up, learning Canadian history I became enamored with the Trudeau years, partly for who he was but also because of the passion Canadians had for Politics- it was youthful and thriving. Being only two when Trudeau was PM I obviously missed the boat on being a groupie in the Trudeau years. However, there are images of Trudeau and Canada that are engrained in my mind that I've seen over the years- they captured a period that captivated the nation. I may have not been able to take part in the Trudeau years as a groupie but we have photos taken by a renown Canadian photojournalist Peter Bregg who seems to make us feel what it would have been like to be there.

Peter Bregg was there during those years, documenting it. His work is captivating, natural, and honest. For me growing up and going to school for photography, Bregg was a mentor and having since graduated and working, when on freelance assignments, I think of him often. Just recently I was lucky to have been given an assignment for a Canadian Magazine, I was nervous and excited and I thought about how he too probably felt that, so I decided to embrace that and dive into my subject - I could only imagined that, that's what he would do? My best bet was to be natural, open to my surroundings and be ready for that honest moment. You see for me his work takes you into that moment that lets you in on a secret, an emotion and period of history that he's sharing with us so that we too can be in on the secret. It's a honest moment where his subject(s) guard is down, where you can feel the excitement or giggle at what he caught - it has character.

Around 10 years ago when at a dinner party I was introduced to Peter Bregg while over hearing him and a gentleman speaking about Trudeau and photography. Peter told me that he was a photographer during the Trudeau years, after much of a conversation on photography and Trudeau (I took note of much of the conversation) over Chinese food at the party, Peter Bregg told me a story about how Trudeau showed him how to use chopsticks and that night he showed me how he was shown I was pretty excited. When I went home that night I looked in my special issue of Macleans on Trudeau and realized that Peter Bregg was the photographer who's photos I loved all those years. I got to live vicariously through each of his images, learn about Canadian history, and see a politically passionate Canada.

Aside from the Trudeau years Peter Bregg has also covered eight Olympic Games, the 1979-1980 Iran Hostage Crisis, and the 9/11 attacks, just to name a few. Peter held the position of chief photographer at Macleans for 17 years and is now acting photo editor for Hello magazine. He's won numerous awards and is an active member of photo sensitive.

His photos have allowed me the privilege of being there right with him no matter when it was shot or where. Peter if you're reading this, thank you for inspiring a young photographer. For everyone else, check out his work.