Peter Ralston grew up in Chadd’s Ford, Pennsylvania, worked for a decade as a freelance photojournalist, and then began photographing the coast of Maine in 1978, drawn especially to the working communities that define the coast’s enduring character.
Instrumental in forming the Island Institute in 1983, Peter Ralston served as its executive vice-president until 2010. Until then he contributed most of the photography and served as art director for the Institute's Island Journal since its inception. He continues to spend as much time as he possibly can on and around islands.
His work has been reproduced in many books and magazines, featured repeatedly on network television and has been exhibited in galleries, collections and museums throughout the United States and abroad.
In 2003, Peter was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree at Colby College for his photography as well as his role as co-founder of the Island Institute.
Peter and his wife, Terri, opened Ralston Gallery in Rockport, Maine, in 2011, selling his photographs as well as the work of his lifelong friends, Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. He is currently working on a major book about the Maine coast.
Although, as a young man, Ralston studied very briefly under Ansel Adams, he acknowledges the greater artistic influence of a lifetime of association with the Wyeths – close friends and incisive mentors.