Wildlife photographer Pete Carmichael, Augusta native, dies

James Hammond “Pete” Carmichael III, a wildlife photographer and Augusta native, died of complications from a heart condition Saturday at his home in Florida. He was 80.


Carmichael was born in 1930 to Anne Moran and J. Hammond Carmichael. He graduated from The Citadel and received a master’s degree in anthropology from Mexico City College in Mexico City.

After graduating and returning to the United States, Carmichael taught geography and anthropology in the University System of North Carolina.

Over time, he became interested in wildlife photography and eventually retired from teaching and moved to Sarasota, Fla., to pursue the interest full time.

“It was bound to happen sooner or later, because he loved wildlife so much,” said Carmichael’s sister, Anne Carmichael Sherman.

Sherman said her brother was a wonder with animals and had
loved the outdoors since he was a child.

“He was as kind a person as you could imagine with wildlife,” she said. “He all but talked to animals.”

Carmichael was successful through his photography, publishing books such as The Audubon Field Guide to North American Shells, with Dr. Harold A. Rehder. His book with Leonard Hill, The World’s Most Beautiful Seashells, was awarded “best coffee table book” from the National Association of Independent Publishers.

The seashells work was not what Carmichael was most proud of, Sherman said. He was working on a project about spiders that really had him excited.

“He was very modest about the acclaim he gathered through his photography,” she said. Carmichael was a “Renaissance man,” Sherman said, and was an athlete, musician and artist and spoke several languages.

“He was a very bright, studious person,” she said.

Before his death, Sherman said he requested that his body be donated to science and studied.

“He left his heart to science,” she said. “That was his love.”

Carmichael is survived by Sherman; his daughters, Lisa Carmichael Dupar and Donna Lynn Carmichael Clifford; four grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded by his son, David Peter Carmichael, and brother Charles Moran Carmichael.

A memorial service will be held later at Cottage Cemetery in Augusta.