Photographer’s Q&A – Peter Bregg

This week’s Q&A is with Peter Bregg, former photo editor of Hello! Canada magazine, and former photo editor and chief photographer at Maclean’s magazine. His web site is


AIDS in MOZAMBIQUE 2005 – Nurse Paulo Chaugue checks aids patient Luis Cermento under a mosquito net at Vilankoulos Hospital AIDS, TB and Leper ward. Photo by Peter Bregg/Maclean’s


What were your first steps in the industry?

First steps was in 1966 when I walked into unemployment office in Ottawa and was sent to The Canadian Press office to apply for a job as copy boy. I thought The Canadian Press was a printing shop due to the name “Press”. Within a few days, I learned what CP was and what the agency did. I was 17-years old and lied by telling them I was 19. The record was corrected when I won a National Newspaper Award in 1969.


When you were a student, what did you want to do after graduation, and  are you where you thought you would be now

It has been an interesting ride, and I never thought this far ahead to be where I might have wanted to be.


What or who are your biggest inspirations?

I have crossed from one genre of photography to another in my 43 years of photography, so I think I was inspired by various people throughout my career. I spent the first 22 years with the wire services The Canadian Press and Associated Press in Ottawa, Boston, Washington, New York and London, UK. The last 20 with magazines in Toronto. Along the way several people have been  inspirational for me.


Terry Mosher, known as Aislin the cartoonist, has his medal arranged by his wife shortly after receiving the Order of Canada from Gov.-Gen. Adriene Clarkson. Photo by Peter Bregg.


Do you have a mentor?

At age 61, I find myself mentoring others. But in my first days in 1966, I bought a camera from CP Photographer Lynn Ball who was my first teacher.


What was a pivotal point in your career?

As a copy boy, after getting a photo on front pages of several papers in March 1967 and a bylined photo in Time magazine, I decided I wanted to be photojournalist. The photo showed Canadian army military police jumping in front of my camera on Parliament Hill so I would not get shots of the new uniforms that had not been unveiled yet. It was a Keystone cops kind of event.


What are you working on now?

I left Rogers Publishing last June where I spent 17 years with Maclean’s Magazine and the last three with HELLO!. I now do commercial freelance and teach at Ryerson’s School of Journalism. I also get out with NGOs for photo assignments. I was in east Africa for two weeks in October to shoot for a photo exhibit to launch in March.


Sydney, Australia. September 23 2000 – Marion Jones is ecstatic as she crosses the finish line Saturday Sept. 23, 2000 at the Sydney Olympics. Photo by Peter Bregg.


How important to you is multimedia?

I have embraced multimedia since I bought my Canon 5D MKII. I have been able to use video as a selling point with clients.


What are some of the must-see websites you visit? Please include why you visit these sites (e.g. Inspiration, guidance, information, education).

I don’t surf the Internet except when I need to research facts about historical events or technology. I use google to find what I need so  don’t have any favourite spots.


Pierre Trudeau carries son Justin under his arm in 1973. Rod MacIvor of UPI won a National Newspaper Award with the identical shot. We were standing next to each other. Photo by Peter Bregg.


What is your favorite way to unwind?

I am a fairly calm person so I don’t look for opportunities to unwind.


What’s the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you about being a photographer?

Dick Loek (of the Toronto Star), when he was with the Toronto Telegram, once said to me to keep your mouth shut and let your pictures do the talking.


U.S. President Gerald Ford falls to the ground while coming down steps of Air Force One in Salzburg Austria during his 1975 state visit. Photo by Peter Bregg.



Category: Photographer's Q&A

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