DPP Home Profiles Pete Turner - The Dr. No Of Photography

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Pete Turner - The Dr. No Of Photography

Pete Turner remains at the forefront of experimentation with new technology to create his most striking color images yet.

Turner made all the prints currently on display at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, N.Y. The exhibit, “Pete Turner: Empowered by Color,” opened on August 12, 2006, and will run through February 4, 2007. Turner reprinted some of his old photos for the show, such as his 1963 “Doorway to Nowhere,” and is delighted at the quality of the prints. He says they're the best prints he has ever seen. Turner is so thrilled at how much better his photos look printed with the newest technology, that he's constantly reprinting photos that are already hanging on the walls of his home.

“Reine, my wife, says to me, ‘You have to stop!'” shares Turner, otherwise he'd continue to tweak and fiddle and reprint.

Turner is proud of the exhibit at the George Eastman House, curated by Sean Corcoran. The installation was done by Rick Hock. Turner is pleased with the quality of the prints and the way they're lit by 50-watt spotlights, which set them apart from the dark walls around them.

“The photos look like gems on the wall,” Turner says, pointing to a picture of the installation. The combination of brilliant colors in his photographs and the intense lighting really do make the prints pop. Turner remarks that you couldn't light 100-year-old photos the way his prints were lit, which makes this exhibit unique in comparison to the rest of the museum.

Considering Turner began his career by printing his own photos in the military, he has now come full circle. In 1957, he was experimenting with the then-new Type-C color materials. Now, in 2006, he's test-driving Epson's wide-format printers and pigment inks. Turner's tools may have changed over the years, but his appeal has not. And what makes his work so alluring is that it's always fresh and innovative.

When I visited Turner in his home, he was busy preparing for a small local exhibit of his work. Naturally, he was making his own prints for the show. His wife had suggested that he create some sort of collage of his work to make the exhibit more interesting. He decided to take several of his favorite photographs and surround them with thumbnails of other photographs, creating a colorful border of his own work around each print. Turner had collected stamps as a child, and the little squares always fascinated him. The thumbnails of his photos reminded him of his love for stamps, and he seemed pleased with how this exhibit was going to turn out.

“I've never done collages before,” says Turner. “But I wanted to try it out. I think you should try something different all the time.”

To see more of Pete Turner's photography, visit www.peteturner.com. For details on Turner's exhibit at the George Eastman House, visit www.eastmanhouse.org.



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