Happy Birthday to Me

So many happy birthdays. Yes, today, at 1.45 AM, 1934 I took my first breath. Oh yes, I am a flatlander who came to this state in 1947 with my mother, brother and sister. I knew the first day I was here that I had found my home. I felt it in my soul, I saw it in the sky and in the farmers who were my neighbors and I learned to love watching the clouds, snow drift down, skiing, hunting, fishing. Heaven! But deep within I had this feeling of Vermont, a sense of expanding freedom, of woods and streams and community. What a wonderful beginning.

This past year was a tough one. I saw, over the past 10 years, the collapse of the professional photograpy business, particularly for the international licensing of photographs through agencies. They changed the business model to the point we lost our income. Getty, who now has 17 million images in their library, bought up some of my back up agencies and began the royalty free business. This knockout punch was followed by the digital revolution and the smart phone and soon everyone was a photographer.

Many of those affected turned to another business or started seminars for serious amateurs and set up photo tours to distant destinations. I myself closed my website selling stock and set up, with the help of neighbor John Hadden, a new site directed to selling my best and iconic images, and mostly black and white, to collectors and people interested in my style of shooting. It is working, slowly, and is evolving. In the meantime, THANK YOU SO MUCH ALL YOU AT THE LOCAL FOOD SHELF. YOU ARE GRACIOUS AND SEEM TO REALIZE IT IS TOUGH TIMES FOR VERMONTERS AND US CREATIVE TYPE.

Yes, it is time to move ahead and because of the many Vermonters who wrote me, visited and called because of what I said in A Lifetime of Vermont People it finally zinged in my soul and I realized I had to do a book about this, which will be out by June and I call VANISHING VERMONTERS…LOSS OF A RURAL CULTURE. I have photographed and interviewed 20 people and have a few more to go. So this year I juggled doing the book and trying to survive in this expensive state. Very rough for most of us creatives.

Things came to a head this December; probably I pushed myself too hard so I ended up in the hospital with a nasty pneumonia virus. I am out now, on the mend, but it will take a while. My daughters, God Bless Them, have rented me a small apartment in Vero Beach, Florida, where I will exercise, get lots of sun, and important to me,  write my book. So, with much help I have a plan, and I think this will be an important book. You will be reading about it on my blog. The Vermont books I have written are what I am supposed to do in this life time. My calling, that’s what it is.
Take care, all of you and thank you for remembering me. Peter

10 Comments

  1. Susanne on January 6, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Happy Birthday Peter! You are a true Vermont Treasure and I so look forward to your new book(s). I wish you a very speedy recovery and a warm and refreshing time in Florida. I continue to love your photographic work (which I enjoy looking at every day) and cherish your writing. Thank you for everything you do, and Happy New Year to you!

  2. John Hadden on January 6, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Happy birthday Peter! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the warmth and sunshine!
    Cheers, John

  3. Wendy Klix on January 6, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    Happy birthday Mr. Miller! The world is lucky to have the “creative” that is you. Yes, I do agree that you were meant to write the Vermont books. It is because of your words and your images that I can begin to know and embrace the rural life that is the foundation of who we all are and that which we should embrace and respect. Vermont is a very special place indeed and I thank you for sharing the stories that remain deeply in my heart. I hope the warmth and sunshine helps you mend and that you have many more stories to share with us! Take care, Wendy

  4. george abetti on January 6, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    We love and appreciate you Peter–and enjoy the large photographs we bought from you every day. We gave the many books we purchased from you to our dearest loved ones for Christmas and they were deeply appreciated–so you are having an impact even while you may feel the opposite.

    Thank you–

    george abetti

  5. Michael O Donnell on January 25, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Hi Peter,
    Hope life is good with you now. I am from a village called Glenties, in Co. Donegal, in Ireland, and worked in Stamford, CT, for a few years. During this time, I made trips to the most beautiful state on earth, Vermont. In the fall, I have never seen beauty like it, amazing scenary, and colour. I am 64 now, and have recovered from a serious brain tumour. I always appreciated life, and nature, but more so now. Like yourself, I am an old B/W man, having worked for newspapers for 30 years. I packed up my De Vere enarger about 5 years ago, and still miss it, as I haven’t studied the digital way yet.
    I came on your site last night, and was blown away, that a man documenting your history, cannot get some help with publishing etc. Typical of the modern world, forget the old ways, and build more shopping malls.
    Keep up your great work, Peter, and hope you have many more great years ahead of you. People like you are a National treasure.
    Good health,
    Michael, in Glenties.

    • george e. abettri on January 25, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      I am weeping reading this–God bless you Michael–first for thinking as you do, and second for saying so.
      We love Peter–and all that he represents.

  6. Michael on January 25, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    Hi George,
    Thanks for your lovely words. I spent about 3 more hours on Peter’s site today, what a character. I had an old friend in Glenties just like him called Denis, who was a Rollei man most of his life. He left a massive library of negs, all history of our area, but was not really appreciated until he passed. He said to me one day “Find a job you like, and you will never have to work a day in your life” It’s so true, as I enjoyed my life at photography so far. Men like Peter should be looked after, and honoured while on this earth, not when they are gone. What a great record of your area Peter has recorded, fair play to him. I was at Tom and Gerrys factory on one of my trips to Vermont, but didn’the know about Peter. Great to hear from you George, and I must buy a book from him.
    Talk again,
    All the best,
    Michael.

    • george e. abetti on January 25, 2018 at 10:22 pm

      Thank you Michael…I am one of those men a well….although just a tad younger, but with six grown married children and 16 grandchildren (thus far). Please take a look at my website below so you can know the passion in my heart for my work http://www.geobarns.com…..started this company 26 years ago and never plan to retire. Right now we are embarking on getting Geobarns into Italy…where my father was born before coming to thew US on a boat in 1946…would love to have your email if you are willing to send it…

      Thank you again for blessing me with this reply…we have bought a lot of Peter’s book and give them to our extended families for Christmas.

      george

  7. george e. abetti on January 25, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    hope you write me back….

    • Michael O Donnell on January 25, 2018 at 10:44 pm

      Hi George,
      My e mail is as follows,
      michaeljack69@gmail.com

      PS I will have a look at your website now.
      Michael.

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