Living the American Dream
By Adrian Zupp
It’s ironic. You couldn’t meet a bloke more Aussie than Peter Lik. The way he talks (obviously!), the way he thinks, the way he dresses, and his points of reference from growing up in the Great South Land reflect his cultural background as well.
All his sensibilities are very Australian: roll with the punches, enjoy the odd risk to life and limb, turn adversity into a witty one-liner.
But here’s the ironic part: He’s living the American Dream.
“Yeah, that’s true. I never really thought about it quite like that, but it’s true,” said Peter. “I’m an Aussie, but America always called me. I’ve said it before: The landscapes here are roaring. After a few trips here in the early days, I made up my mind I just had to live here and shoot the place constantly. And it’s worked out bloody awesome!”
Awesome indeed. America has been good to Peter Lik; and Peter Lik has been good for American landscape photography. No living photographer has captured the spirit of America – which, incidentally, is the title of one of Pete’s books – the way that this wild and woolly son of Down Under has.
“It became a dream to shoot the canyons and mountains and glaciers of America,” continued Peter. “An obsession. I mean, glaciers! You can’t find those in Australia – or a lot of the other stuff that you find here. There’s much more variety of scenery.” He added: “People are always asking me: Why are you living in Las Vegas? And I tell them it’s the perfect location for me. I love the Southwest. And look at what you have here in striking distance of Vegas: Red Rock, the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite, the bloody magnificent landscapes of Utah – how could you go wrong?”
And from all of this has come great recognition and success. A huge following of collectors, countless prominent awards, praise from peers, and his own thriving business – LIK USA™. All from super-hard work. The American Dream.
“I’m a lucky man, doing what I love,” Peter concluded. “But it hasn’t been a cakewalk. I’ve come a long way from shooting post cards in Australia. But if you have a talent and really knuckle down, you sure can live the American Dream, whether you were born here or not. I’m living proof of that.”