portrait of Peter Barss

In 1972, Peter Barss, a high school English teacher from Massachusetts moved to West Dublin, Nova Scotia with his wife and their two young sons and began his career as a professional photographer.

"We wanted our boys to grow up here. Canadian culture is saner than the States'," says Barss, who, in a sense was returning to his roots. His grandfather grew up a stone's throw away in Rose Bay and his great-great grandfather Captain Joseph Barss, was the infamous privateer who sailed the Liverpool Packet out of Liverpool in the War of 1812.

In addition to studio photography, Barss wrote and photographed for many newspapers and magazines including Maclean's, Atlantic Insight, Yankee Magazine, Saturday Night, Visual Art News, Pottersfield Portfolio, Red Book, and Reader's Digest. Peter is the author of two major books: Images of Lunenburg County (McClelland & Stewart) and Older Ways: Traditional Nova Scotian Craftsmen (Van Nostrand Reinhold). Both books document traditional Nova Scotian culture, combining his photographs with interviews he conducted.

Barss' photographs have been purchased by the Nova Scotia Museum, The Nova Scotia Art Gallery, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The Royal Ontario Museum, and the National Film Board, and his prints can be found in many private collections. Among his many awards Barss was elected by his peers to The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.

Until recently, Barss and his wife Myra owned and operated one of the largest photography studios in Nova Scotia. They recently sold the studio and Peter returned to freelance photography, writing, and design.