The Scoop

Peter Beard Missing in Montauk: Major Search Underway

The 82-year-old photographer wandered away from his home on Tuesday.

Montauk has mobilized in a major search effort to find famed photographer Peter Beard, 82, who wandered away from his home off Old Montauk Highway, east of Deep Hollow Ranch, at around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31.

According to The East Hampton Star, the grid-area search for Beard—who has dementia and was last seen wearing “a blue pullover fleece, black jogging pants and blue sneakers”—began Tuesday and continued Wednesday with Montauk Fire Department volunteers, East Hampton Town Police, NY State Park Police, state police K9 units, a drone and even a Suffolk County Police helicopter joining the effort.

A missing persons flyer has also been released with Beard’s picture and description. The Star reports Beard’s description over police radios as “5 feet, 8 inches tall, about 176 pounds, with grey hair and blue eyes.” A police press release notes that he may need medical attention.

Artist Peter Beard with his daughter, Zara, a travel companion and subject of many of his works of art, at the opening of his current exhibition at Guild Hall.
Beard with his daughter, Zara, at a 2016 Guild Hall opening.

Beard’s home, which he shares with wife Nejma and daughter Zara, is set well into the woods south of Old Montauk Highway and the rustic property extends back to the bluffs overlooking the ocean and a rocky beach below. Searchers are looking in the surrounding area out into nearby Camp Hero State Park.

The artist is famous for his photographs of Africa, richly layered journals and mixed media collages, often painted with blood, and all with a palpable spirit of adventure and an eye toward wildlife conservation. Beard has collaborated with and photographed talents such as Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, Karen Blixen and Truman Capote, among others. His work is shown around the world.

If you’ve seen Beard or have any helpful information, call East Hampton Town Police at 631-537-7575.

Peter Beard in front of one of his over sized works,
Peter Beard in front of one of his over sized works, “Ode To Yves Klein”, part of the current Guild exhibition, “Last Word From Paradise”.
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