Headwaters inspired profile: Peter Dušek

Headwaters inspired profile: Peter Dušek

by Headwaters Tourism Association

My photograph hanging next to an Ansel Adams. What an honour.

When you are first confronted by the stillness in Peter Dušek’s intimate, almost abstract landscapes, you feel that you are seeing the work of a master, a photographer who has perfected his artistic vision over decades.

And yet, Dušek has only been pursuing photography seriously since 2014. In this short timespan his career has taken off with dozens of shows across Canada and the United States and purchases by numerous high-profile clients.

Saks Fifth Avenue says yes, twice

“At my first solo Toronto show, Saks Fifth Avenue bought two copies of the entire show to hang in their Toronto stores,” said Dušek. “For me, that was really incredible. It was such a boost.”

Another surprise came when he walked into a gallery where one of his photographs was hung next to an iconic Ansel Adams photo.

“I had to step back and think about that. My photo three inches from Ansel Adams. It was a great honour to me,” said Dušek.

Inspired by the philosophies of Japanese Zen and Chinese Tao

Before becoming a photographer, Dušek spent many years as a computer programmer. But even then, he was a student of oriental philosophy.

“I wanted to get away from sitting behind a desk. For years I’ve studied Japanese and Chinese philosophy and that helped crystallize my vision for what I wanted to do,” said Dušek. “I love the Japanese design aesthetic shibumi, which means ‘a quiet elegance’. That’s true to my nature. With my work I’m trying to tell people not to take on too many things, not to fill their lives up with so much that they have no room.”

A lifetime of photo inspiration

Dušek started shooting in the Headwaters region and has expanded his photography to up around Georgian Bay and Muskoka. “At some point, I would like to go north of Lake Superior where the Group of Seven painted. Really, you could spend a lifetime here, it is so rich for photography.”

Followed his motorcycle to the Headwaters

Dušek is originally from Slovakia, grew up in Sarnia, and for years lived in Toronto. He would ride his motorcycle up around Hockley Road on weekends.

“Then I thought, wait a minute, I could live in the country where I like to ride and go to the city when I need to. Hockley Road has always been popular for motorcyclists and now I live here. It’s been 20 years and it’s perfect for me.”