Pete Turner is one of the most influential photographers of the last decades. He defined new ways to use color in photography, he mixed color with art and photographic images like nobody else had done before.
“Color takes my work into another dimension. It’s the way I see. I’ve always been drawn to the colors of nature, and nature is a wonderful teacher. Look at the color coding of a bee — yellow and black stripes — or of a cardinal with its different shades of red. It is rare that nature is not in color harmony. Go out there and look. Although a lot of my pictures are not taken from nature, I use nature as a color source. Make color work for you, and keep it simple. I always look at my subject and work at incorporating mood”- Pete Turner
Photographers take pictures with cameras; Pete makes photographs with his imagination. Before Pete, there was nothing modern about photography. The first time I saw one of his photographs, it hit me as though I had been struck by lightning, and with almost as much voltage.- Eric Meola
A recent interview with the artist has been published at Range Finder Magazine. By the way, if you wonder about the place this image was taken, I have been there. It is one of the most beautiful hotels in Mexico, the Westin Los Cabos. Pete Turner has several images in his portfolio taken at this coloful hotel (see walls of light at his website).
He began his career during the early days of color photography when color was used primarily for commercial work. “At that time, photographers didn’t usually put color filters in front of their lenses just to alter the look of an image, so using color like that for fine art work was very rare,” said Turner, whose photographs have graced hundreds of ads, magazines and record album covers.
His atypical style even caught the eye of director Steven Spielberg, who hired him as a special effects still photographer for Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Turner’s work is part of the permanent collections of world-class museums, including George Eastman House, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the International Center of Photography in New York, Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. His latest book, The Color of Jazz: Album Cover Photographs by Pete Turner, is a comprehensive collection of memorable and provocative record jackets for legends like Quincy Jones, Count Basie and John Coltrane.
Unlike most photographers of his era, Turner began experimenting with color processes at an early age when color photography itself was still a novelty. After graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology, he received on-the-job training making color prints at the Army Pictorial Center in Long Island City, N.Y. “I was told that if I could get the new color printer to work, I could run the color lab,” he said. From then on, he was passionate about creating quality color prints. After an African odyssey commissioned by Airstream Trailers and National Geographic, his photography career took off, but he continued to focus creative energy into photographic printmaking.
He spent years of trial and error working with various color print processes and revered, obsolete technologies like dye transfer, which was discontinued more than 15 years ago. “No matter how print technology advanced at the time, there were many difficulties, challenges and compromises to making an exceptional color print,” said Turner. “Dye transfer was a complicated, expensive process that took a lot of my time. I had to ultimately outsource the work to a lab, which meant I had little control, and it could take weeks to get the color balance I wanted.”-from the epson webiste