Tributes have been paid online by New Zealand's art galleries, museums, artists and fans of eminent photographer Peter Peryer who died on Sunday.

Peryer received several awards for his work and also became a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1997 for his contribution to photography.

One of his more famous works, a picture of a petrified dead cow, made international news and had the German government attempt to remove it from an exhibition.

Te Papa recognised the 77-year-old as an iconic New Zealand artist with a "remarkable eye" and someone who changed the way we see the world.


Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki said he was an "esteemed New Zealand artist of international renown".

Meanwhile, The Arts Foundation said he was cheeky, had an "enormous laugh that filled the room" and would be greatly missed.

Dead Steer by Photographer, Peter Peryer. Photo / Supplied
Dead Steer by Photographer, Peter Peryer. Photo / Supplied

"Our heartfelt condolences to his family and all who loved him," The Foundation said.

"We loved him too. A great friend and supporter of the Arts Foundation, we will really miss Peter.

"He was a brilliant photographer, clever, constructive and with a depth of purpose."

Born in 1941, Peryer had a degree in English and a Masters in Education, not taking up photography until his 30s.

In 1998 his major exhibition and publication called Second Nature touring in Germany in Australia.

His works are widely collected and are held in all of New Zealand's major institutions, as well as overseas including the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris and the Australian National Gallery in Canberra.


Peryer kept a journal online, showing an insight into his work and his practice. His last blog entry was filed on July 6 and is titled, Underwater.

It begins:

"Tomorrow I go to Fiji. It's not really a holiday,

I'm not sure if I take holidays. It's primarily

a trip to see what new photos I can find,

I would be happy with just one, it's always like

that for me."