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In 1970, Bryan was doing pen and ink drawings of natural landscapes and selling them at local art fairs. Because he was often frustrated by the time involved in making these sketches, his brother Bill, who was a serious amateur photographer, suggested that he borrow his camera and shoot pictures of the landscapes that he wanted to sketch. Bill advised Bryan to develop the pictures in his home darkroom and then sketch from the black and white 8 x 10 prints.
Bryan took his brother’s advice and after developing the very first roll, he was completely won over by photography and the immediacy of the image.
He hasn’t sketched a day since.
Following an opportunity in 1977 to teach evening photo classes in the local community college's Community Education Program, Bryan found himself creating numerous pairs of images; images that were used in his weekly presentations to show "before and after examples" of a photographic point such as: the right aperture versus wrong aperture, the right shutter speed versus wrong shutter speed, eye-level point of view versus low point of view,
wide angle lens versus telephoto lens etc.
In 1979 he left the Community Education program and teamed up with another photographer, Gary Braasch, and they began offering workshops
throughout the greater Pacific Northwest.
In 1983, Bryan made a trip to New York City as he was convinced that his literally hundreds of pairs of images, the before and afters, could create some valuable "how to" stories for either Popular Photography Magazine or
Modern Photography Magazine.
Arriving at the offices of Popular Photography Magazine without an appointment, Bryan asked to meet with the features editor. He was quickly informed that without an appointment, he would be seeing no one. But he was quick to explain that he just arrived from Portland, Oregon and he had some very exciting ideas and images for their magazine which he felt could increase their subscriber base.
One of their editors met with Bryan for five minutes and he walked out the door with a contract to provide the magazine with 6 four-page "how-to" stories and 4 two-page "how-to" stories. And lasting through 1987, he wrote often
for Popular Photography magazine.
In 1987 Bryan asked Steve Pollack, Popular Photography’s Feature’s Editor at the time, if he knew anyone who he could take these past stories to and attempt to get them published in a book. He suggested Bryan call on a friend of his, Marisa Bulzone, who was an editor at Amphoto books. So Bryan picked up the phone, called her, and she suggested he drop by that afternoon. Bryan met with her at 4pm and left an hour later with a book contract. And thus was born the first edition of Learning to See Creatively. And as the saying goes, the “rest is history” as this book was soon followed with Understanding Exposure.
In 2001 Bryan and his publisher put together a plan to revise these two book titles for the digital age as well as introduce several new titles: Understanding Digital, Understanding Shutter Speed, Understanding Close-up Photography, Understanding Exposure, Learning to See Creatively, Beyond Portraiture and Bryan F Peterson’s Understanding Photography Field Guide.
In addition to selling stock and teaching workshops in the early 80’s Bryan had been doing some assignment work for several magazines in the Pacific Northwest. In 1983 he made a trip to Seattle and shared his portfolio with several graphic design firms and by the end of that week, he had picked up three corporate annual report jobs. He spent the next ten years shooting for the corporate market, and in 1993, he started shooting advertising campaigns, securing these jobs through ad agencies in New York, Atlanta and Chicago. These clients included
American Express, Kodak and UPS.
Today, Bryan’s time is divided between assignment work, shooting stock and running of his on-line photography school, PPSOP.com.