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In this conversation episode of Hit The Streets, I invited Peter Turnley to talk about his early years as a photographer. We learn about his move to Paris, the people who changed his life and his early assignments.
Peter Turnley is renowned for his photography of the realities of the human condition. His photographs have been featured on the cover of Newsweek forty-three times and are published frequently in many of the world’s most prestigious publications. He has worked in over ninety countries and has witnessed most major stories of international geopolitical and historic significance in the last forty years.
Turnley has photographed most of the world’s conflicts, including the Gulf War of 1991, the Balkans (Bosnia), Somalia, Rwanda, South Africa, Chechnya, Haiti, the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Kosovo, the 2003 war in Iraq. He has produced portraits and covered many of the modern world’s most influential people: Obama, Castro, Gorbachev, Yeltsin, Putin, Mandela, Arafat, Schroeder, Ceausescu, Gaddafi, Chirac, Clinton, Reagan, Bush Sr., Lady Diana, and Pope Jean Paul II among others.
Since 1975 Turnley has also continually photographed the life of Paris, his adopted home. He was born in the U.S. but has lived more than half his life in Paris, where he worked as the assistant to the photographer Robert Doisneau in his early days in Paris in 1981.
Turnley has photographed extensively the life of Cuba since 1989 and has a new book out this fall, Cuba: A Grace of Spirit.
A graduate of the University of Michigan, the Sorbonne of Paris, and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques of Paris, Turnley has received honorary doctorate degrees from the New School of Social Research in New York, Ohio Wesleyan University and St. Francis College of Indiana. He received a Nieman Fellowship from Harvard for the academic year 2000–2001.
Among the many international awards Turnley has won are the Overseas Press Club Award for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad, numerous awards and citations from World Press Photo, and the University of Missouri’s Pictures of the Year competition.
Turnley lives in both New York and Paris and has published seven books: Beijing Spring, Moments of Revolution, In Times of War and Peace, Parisians, McClellan Street, French Kiss: A Love Letter to Paris, and Cuba: A Grace of Spirit. His books can be purchased directly from his website:
Peter’s website: www.peterturnley.com