(10 May 1895 – 3 October 1977) was a German press
photographer and photojournalist. He is best known for his photographs of
Dresden just after the end of World War II.
Richard Peter was born
and raised in Silesia, working as a smith and a miner while dabbling in
photography. He was drafted into the German army in 1914 to serve in World
War I. After the war he settled in Halle and later in Dresden. He joined
the labor movement and the Communist Party of Germany. During the 1920s
and early 1930s he published his photographs in various left-wing
publications. Because of this he was promptly barred from working as a
press photographer when the Nazi Party rose to power in 1933. During the
Third Reich he worked in advertising, before being drafted again to serve
in World War II.
Peter returned to Dresden in September 1945 to find the city destroyed
after the bombing of Dresden in February 1945. His personal archive and
equipment had been completely destroyed in the raids. Starting over with
borrowed equipment, he began to document the damage to the city and the
beginnings of its reconstruction. His photographs were published in 1949
in a volume called Dresden, eine Kamera klagt an ("Dresden, a photographic
accusation", ISBN 3-930195-03-8).
In 1949 Peter was
expelled from the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, the successor of the
Communist Party, when he investigated corrupt party officials. He
continued to work as a freelance art photographer in Dresden until his
death in 1977, and eventually won some international recognition for his
work. Peter's more than 5,000 negatives and prints were acquired by the
State Library of Saxony in 1983.