Olaf Petersen was born in 1915 and lived all his life in Swanson. He was always very modest about his achievements, which included the Maadi Cup, awarded by the Photographic Society for the best photo of the year.
Entitled “So Lonely” it was a haunting picture of a pied oystercatcher on sand dunes. Most of his successful shots have been taken on West Coast beaches. The effect of light on sand dunes fascinated Mr Petersen.
Olaf Petersen was a freelance photographer from the time he first picked up a camera in 1933. He became patron of the Auckland Photographic Society, an official photographer for the Ornithological Society and was well known for his nature work published in the New Zealand Herald and the Weekly News. He was described as “unequivocally outstanding in his field”. He died in 1994 and left a huge legacy for Swanson, covering all district events from school galas to 21st birthdays and weddings. He helped the local school by reproducing many photos for the school centenary in 1988. Many in the district feel a sense of pride that Olaf recorded so much of the district’s history through his excellent photographs.
Rugged Determination, p124
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