BIPP Blog

Aug 22

Written by: host
Wednesday, August 22, 2018 

Peter Dyer of Blessed Memory

By Charles Green

It’s unbelievable.  Peter is no longer with us. He was the most incredible human being that ever walked on the face of the earth. He was kind. He was gentle. He was strong. He was generous. He was knowledgeable. He was witty. He was talented. He was enthusiastic. He loved life. He was an amazing photographer who could create Loan Collection images while rushing around at a wedding. He was the most thoughtful person I have ever met. He was my best friend. Together we pushed the boundaries and became pioneers in photography.

It was at the London Portrait Group at Paul Kaye’s studio in Baker Street in 1978 that we first met and decided to travel together to the Professional Photographers of America State convention in Dallas Texas, to further our photographic education.

Peter always had time for everyone.  At the convention Peter noticed a lady with 3 teenage daughters who was trying to decide which seminars to go to, from the hundreds on offer in the brochure. He went over to her and spent the next two hours finding out what her interests were in photography and then went through the brochure with her, advising her who she should see. Her name was Mary. Every morning Peter would look out for Mary and give her advice for that day. Mary loved him for it and on the final day gave him a present. 

Peter was so honest and could never tell a lie. While we were lecturing in Israel a Russian immigrant asked Peter for a critique on some images in his portfolio. Peter spent the next few hours critiquing every single image and advising him how to improve them. The man was so thankful he gave Peter a miniature spy camera as a token of his appreciation.

When leaving Israel the customs officer asked Peter if he had been given anything. Peter told him he received a Russian spy camera. He and Pam were immediately taken away and interrogated for hours. They nearly missed their flight. I tried showing the officials the brochure which had his photo and an article stating that the best wedding photographer in the world had come the Israel to give a seminar, but to no avail. 

Our second trip was to the Professional Photographers of New York State Convention. We each brought with us our BIPP Fellowship panel of 20 prints for the photographic competition. We arrived full of enthusiasm, but were told that the prints could not be entered into the competition as they needed to be sent weeks in advance.
An elderly gentleman, who stood nearby, saw our disappointment.  He came over to us and invited us to come to his hotel room at 6.00pm.

We knocked on the door and entered the room. There were six people sitting at the table waiting for us. He introduced them as some of the most eminent print judges of the PPofA They had been summoned to the room by the elderly gentleman.  We found out that he was Harold Bovee, chairman of the National Print Judging Committee. For the next two hours we were given the best critique of our 40 images that money could not buy.

We promised Harold that we will try to get our Masters degree of the PPof A, which no one outside the USA had ever achieved. We kept our promise. We kept pushing each other further and higher.   We travelled to the USA photographic conventions every year, first as delegates, than as lecturers. The Americans loved Peter, especially his singing and dancing. Whenever he entered a room it became alive. We were known as Charles & Dy.

Peter became the first European photographer ever to receive a Master’s degree and then went on to be the first to be awarded Fellowship of the American Society of Photographers, which at that time had only 50 photographers worldwide who had achieved this honour. He pushed me to follow. He was always a few years ahead of me on achieving degrees. I would never have done it without him.

We travelled all over the world lecturing and advancing the art of photography. In China we were speaking to 1000 delegates, some whom had travelled a week by train from the Russian border, when a squadron of soldiers with rifles entered the room. For a moment we were scared. Then we found out that all they wanted was to be photographed with us.

We organised the first American style photographic convention in the UK at the 5 star Imperial Hotel in Torquay. We brought over three of the most sought- after speakers from the US and gave British photographers a taste of what we had witnessed in America. At the awards dinner in the evening we engaged Jenette Charles, the Queen impersonator, to ceremoniously award knighthoods to the Americans.

We also introduced to the UK the American print judging electronic system, which became the standard to which all print judging in the UK is done to this day. We organised judging training days for the BIPP on how to use the system so that qualifications in the UK would be recognised in the USA.  We than arranged for the BIPP awards ceremony to be held at the House Of Commons.

We had great fun producing three instructional videos, Shooting For Gold, which were shot in one whole day, by John Henshall. The star of the film was Peter and Pam’s ferocious looking Alsatian, who at the start of the video is seen chewing up a video cassette with John’s voice over: “...this is what was left of the last person who tried to copy this tape”.

In 1998 we were overwhelmed to be chosen as the joint recipients of the Ross Sanddal Award for the Advancement of Professional Photography, the highest accolade awarded by the PPof A.

Peter’s love of soul music once saved our life. We were judging the PPof A print competition in Atlanta and were finished late at night. We went downtown to get some food and walking back to our hotel a hooded man came out of the shadows and said to us “give me your money!”  One hand was in his pocket and we didn’t know if he was holding a knife or a gun. I was about to give him my wallet when Peter said: “we’ll give you our money but we want something from you in return.”  The robber was amazed.  “What do you mean?” Peter replied “I want to know where we can go in this city to listen to Blind Willy music.”  “How do you know Blind Willy?” he retorted. Peter replied “I grew up with his music and I love it”. It was as if Peter had flicked a switch. The robber suddenly became Peter’s best friend. He gave us directions to a club that plays that music and wished us a pleasant evening. We thanked him, paid for the information and he thanked us before disappearing back into the night.

He loved going to the kosher Chinese restaurant, Keifang, where the four of us would plan our seminars and our many holidays together. Amy, the waitress, loved Peter. After paying the bill, including the service charge, Peter would secretly place another £10 note into the palm of her hand. He told us that when he was first employed he had been given a big tip, which made not just his day, but his year. He vowed that if he ever could afford to – he would also make someone as happy.

Peter cared about everybody he met. Walking in the street, anywhere in the world, took forever because Peter would constantly stop and talk to people. He would stroke every dog.

Peter and Pam were a wonderful loving couple, proud of their family, who always walked in the street holding hands.  
Peter loved our Friday night traditional Jewish meal. He would take a ‘kuple’ out of his pocket, put it on his head and stand in respectful attention while I made the blessing over the wine. He passed away on a Friday night.

Pam, we are so sorry that you have lost your dear Peter. The life you had together was amazing and inspirational. You both had a great influence on our life, for which we will be eternally grateful. We wish you much strength to continue with your wonderful family around you.

Everyone who knew Peter loved him, will miss him and will never forget him.


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