Q&A with Travel Photographer Peter Frank Edwards

James Beard Award-winning Oyster story by Peter Frank Edwards
James Beard Award-winning Oyster story by Peter Frank Edwards

Tell us about how your relationship began with Garden & Gun. Did they contact you?

Garden & Gun contacted me when they were in the planning stages for the launch of the magazine -- well before the first issue came out.   As I recall, at that time there was no real photo or art department.  They sort of "reorganized" after a couple of issues, made some staff changes. I've enjoyed a great relationship with them.

Can you describe your work process with Director of Photography Maggie Brett Kennedy? Do you collaborate on ideas? is the editing process collaborative?

Yes -- we do collaborate on ideas -- which can be anything from a quick phone call to bouncing sketches back and forth.  We talk less about composition and set-ups and more about texture, color, mood, etc.  She is interested in and respects photographers' points of view and is genuinely interested in the creative processes of each photographer she works with.  I always feel like they are hiring me (or other photographers) to "do what we do"  -- there's a lot of trust in that.  The edit is also collaborative, and she's always interested in what I think tells the story or what I'd like to see published.

What's the most challenging shoot you've done for them and why?

One of the most technically challenging shoots was an assignment covering the oil spill.  They sent me to Louisiana right as the oil was just starting to show up in the marshes.  I had a lot of ground to cover in a very short period of time, and because of the time frame there was no opportunity to get official press credentials.  I'd show up places, and even though we had called ahead and had a contact at an area or location, the National Guard or local police would not let me in.  In addition, it was about 100 degrees and 100 percent humidity, and all the camera gear was fogged up and would literally drip with condensation.  I had one little camera that seemed immune to this problem, probably because it's more plastic and less metal and glass.

What's your all time favorite story?

I worked on a piece about a North Carolina BBQ road trip with writer Sandy Lang -- we got the call on a Tuesday and we were on the road Friday.

BBQ Road Trip by Peter Frank Edwards
BBQ Road Trip by Peter Frank Edwards

It was a very stream of consciousness couple of days -- we met some characters, ate tons of great food -- and it was one of those assignments where you feel like you're getting gold at every click of the shutter.

Why do you think G&G is on everyone's dream client list right now?

Both Maggie and Marshall McKinney (art director) give photographers a lot of creative freedom, and you can see that come through in the stories and the single images. They treat the work well and with respect -- they are champions of great imagery.


A former fish monger and sous chef with a degree in anthropology, Frank was born and raised in coastal South Carolina. During college, he practiced photography at a camera shop and was soon off to Europe – and ultimately to Berlin – where he shot artist portraits and projects before returning to the American South, to live again by the ocean. In his photography, Frank mixes his passions for travel, people and food. When not on location, he splits time between his Charleston home and a cottage in Maine.