Peter Keen was born in West Drayton, Middlesex, in 1928. After school, where sport took precedence over academic studies, he joined the war effort, spending the years 1944-48 in aviation. In 1951 after study photography at college, he began his career as a professional freelance photo-journalist, accepting assignments that took him all around the world.  In the USSR he was arrested three times by the KGB for alleged spying! In 1960 he won the prestigious British Photographer of the Year Award.

In  1983 he co-authored  the book River with Ted Hughes, the then Poet Laureate. He retired in 1992 and moved to Devon to concentrate on writing and photography for field sports publications with particular emphasis on fly fishing. He has had articles published in Trout and Salmon magazine, Salmon, Trout and Sea Trout magazine, The Field, Country Life, Shooting Times, Country Magazine and Waterlog. In 1994 he turned professional as a ghillie and as a fly fishing coach.

Peter died in April 2009 after a lengthy period of illness, just after the publication of his book Fly Fishers of Fame.