Born in 1950, Peter Bacon Hales, like many of the contributors to the Austin Sun, was in his early twenties when he made his first contribution to the Austin Sun.
Peter began his education at The Hopkins Grammar School, which is a co-educational, private day school, located in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1660, Hopkins School is the seventh-oldest educational institution in the United States and the second-oldest secondary school in continuous operation in North America. From there, Peter went on to earn his BA at Haverford College, before moving to Austin to attended the University of Texas where he pursued his M.A. in Photography and American Studies and his Ph.D. American Civilization.
Picking up the guitar at the age of 12, Peter has played in a variety of bands, including Jealous Mourning Singers, Bim Easton Band, John Kromer Blues Band, Tammany, Bite Me the Band, Ancient Mojo Peoples.
His interested in photography in his early twenties led to a work at the UPI New York Wire Desk, and an Individual Artist’s Fellowship at the Illinois Arts Council. He contributed his photography skills to the Austin Sun as well. He continues to show his photos in various art and historical museums in the U.S. and abroad as well as in various books, magazines, newspapers, academic journals, both as “art” and as documentation.
From his early days, as the music and architectural critic for the Austin Sun, Peter has enjoyed writing for many newspapers, magazines and journals. He was an editor and principal contributor to Darkroom Photography Magazine and other academic journals, including Artjournal, The Art Bulletin, Reviews in American History, The Journal of Urban History, American Studies, and the Bulletin of the Allen Art Museum among others.
Peter is the author of several books including Atomic Spaces: Living on the Manhattan Project, The Perfect City, A Certain Slant of Light: The Contemporary American Landscape, William Henry Jackson and the Transformation of the American Landscape, and Silver Cities: Photographing American Urbanization.
In 1980, Peter became the Assistant Professor in the Department of American Studies at California State University Fullerton. Later that year, he moved to Chicago where he took a position as the Associate Professor in the History of Architecture and Art Department at the University of Illinois, Chicago. In 1988, he began his current position as Professor of the Art History Department at The University of Illinois, Chicago. He has also been a Visiting Professor at Northwestern University, and is currently a Visiting Artist at Columbia College, Chicago.