Photo: Laura Cuch

Peter Coles is a freelance writer, translator (French to English), editor and photographer. He is Visiting Tutor at the Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths, University of London, where he contributes to the Photography and Urban Cultures MA programme.  Mulberry, Peter’s latest book, is published by Reaktion Books (November 2019).

In 2016 Peter collaborated with the Conservation Foundation to set up  Morus Londinium, a project to document, preserve and raise awareness of London’s mulberry tree heritage. Hosted by  the Conservation Foundation, the project has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Morus Londinium is winner of a European Heritage / Europa Nostra Heritage Award 2021. Visit the website to find Peter’s many blog articles revealing London’s heritage through its veteran mulberry trees. 

In 2018 Peter helped to set up the first Urban Tree Festival.  He is a member of the festival’s Steering Group and a regular contributor, giving talks and leading walks.

Peter originally studied psychology, with an MA from Manchester University and a D.Phil from Oxford University (Wolfson College). After a period carrying out research, he switched to science writing for Nature magazine, based in Paris and continued as a freelance, writing for New Scientist and Science, before taking an editorial position with UNESCO. After living in Paris for 20 years Peter returned to London, where he lives with his wife and three children. He is a long-standing translator for the English edition of the  UNESCO Courier, and an editorial consultant for Gopa.com which handles content for the European Commission. Peter’s photography has been exhibited in a number of cities and is in public and private collections.

  • Tree Register Vicky Schilling bursary 2021-22 to record veteran mulberry trees.
  • European Heritage / Europa Nostra Heritage Award 2021 for the Morus Londinium project (with the Conservation Foundation).
  • First prize, Scientists at Work category, Novartis/Daily Telegraph Visions of Science photography awards 2004
  • Artist in Residence, A Studio in the Woods, New Orleans, February, 2006

Selected photography exhibitions

Solo exhibitions:
  • Walking the Dog, Kaleidoscope, Dornfell St, London (April 2012)
  • Patricia Laligant, New York. 2001.
  • Watercolours, Poubelles, Shoes, Artazart, Paris, France 2000
  • Temps de Pause, Atelier Demi-Teinte, Paris, France 2000
  • L’objet abandonné, Sala Uno, Rome, Italy 1998
  • Objets abandonnés, Conquest Hospital, Bexhill, UK 1997
  • Earplugs, 5 Dryden Street Gallery, London, UK 1977
Group exhibitions:
  • Charting the Invisible APT Gallery, Creekside Deptford. 10-15 November 2017
  • Urban Memories, Lewisham Art House, London, 3-12 November 2016
  • Streetopolis, Urban Photographers Association, 71a Gallery, London, 2015
  • Streetopolis, Urban Photographers Association, The Folio Club, Barcelona, 2015
  • Streetopolis, Urban Photographers Association, W83 Gallery, New York, 2015
  • Eighth Greenwich Annuale, Greenwich Gallery, London, 2015
  • Movement, Urban Photographers Association, Silverprint Gallery, London, 2014
  • Seventh Greenwich Annuale, Greenwich Gallery, London, 2014
  • Sixth Greenwich Annuale, Greenwich Gallery, London, 2013
  • Paris Traces: Catford Blockbuster. Platform-7, Catford. June 20, 2012.
  • Six Photographes. Hélio Gallery. Rouen (France). February-May. 2012.
  • 10 Years, 47 Artists, A Retrospective Celebrating A Studio in the Woods’ 10th Anniversary, Carroll Gallery, Tulane University, New Orleans (USA), October 6 – 27, 2011.
  • Urban Trees: Paris and London. Crossing Lines, Goldsmiths, 2010.
  • The Urban Edge, Goldsmiths, 2010
  • Invited artist, Gallery 1839, London Photographic Association, 2008
  • Entrez en matiere L’Ecu de France, Viroflay, France 2002
  • ArtKanal 10, Paris, France 2001
  • Transparence, L’Ecu de France, Viroflay, France 2000
  • New York Photography Fair, 1999, represented by Patricia Laligant
  • Photobis, Espace Nesle, Paris, 1997
Selected Publications/conference papers:
  • Fountain Court: refuge from the ‘bain de multitude’, Literary London, Institute of English Studies, London, August 2015
  • John Evelyn’s Mulberry (and other stories). Literary London, Institute of English Studies, University of London, 20-22 July 2011.
  • The Urban Arboreal (with Susan Trangmar). Street Trees Conference. UCL. 12 May 2010.
  • -London-Luton: a commented photographic essay on the Lea Valley (with Gesche Wuerfel). Literary London, July 2009 (published in EnterText (8) Spring, 2010)
  • Paris Traces, StreetSigns, September, 2008
  • Urban Blitz, London Independent Photography, September 2008
  • Incognito by Susan Freddi (Paris, 2005) – photography
  • Monthly features for UNESCO Courier and Sources magazines 2001-2004 (e.g. urban nature in New York and Cape Town; culture and education in Vanuatu, etc);
  • Weekly column for Nature 1987- 1992 and special features on Antarctica, science in Finland, France and former Yugoslavia;
  • Commissioned features for New Scientist (on Mali and Rajasthan), Science magazine and others 1992-2001
  • Photography for Independent on Sunday;
  • Arts in Hospitals, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, London, 1980;
  • Commissioned chapters in Art for Architecture, ed. D Petherbridge. London, HMSO, 1987
  • Poetry collection, Paris-Atlantic, Paris, 1993 (12).

6 thoughts on “About”

  1. Are you the Peter Coles who took the picture of the North Korean generals covered in medals? I’d like to use it in my book on the transition to renewable energy if possible.

  2. Hi, There is a mulberry tree in the grounds of Beckenham Place Park, South London, at the edge of the formal gardens. I don’t know how old it is. Thought you might like to know.

    1. Thanks for your interest. Yes I know this tree – really nice black mulberry. It should be on our map with a photo as I visited a year or two ago. Good to know it’s still there!! Peter

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