Pete Turner: Empowered by Color

Pete Turner: Empowered by Color

Pete Turner: Empowered by Color

August 12, 2006–February 4, 2007

DescriptionPete Turner: Empowered by Color, on view through February 4, 2007, is a retrospective exhibition featuring more than 50 prints. Spanning Turner’s career, the work displayed will range from early images taken during his first African expedition to his latest work with architectural spaces in Mexico.

For more than 40 years, Pete Turner's striking photographic compositions have employed bold color to realize an extraordinary personal vision. Unafraid to take chances and embrace new technology, the artist has challenged—and continues to challenge—the possibilities of color photography.

A native of Rochester, New York, Pete Turner attended the Rochester Institute of Technology, studying with some of the most important photographic educators, critics, and practicing photographers of the day, including Ralph Hattersley and Minor White. Turner’s classmates comprise a who’s who of important photographers from his generation, including Bruce Davidson, Carl Chiarenza, Jerry Uelsmann, and Kenneth Josephson.

Upon graduation from RIT in 1956, Turner was drafted by the military. He ran a color lab for the Army Pictorial Unit, giving him on-the-job training and an opportunity to expand his portfolio. After his discharge, he received his first major commission from Airstream Trailers and National Geographic magazine in 1959. His 7-month journey from Capetown, South Africa, to Cairo, Egypt, produced several images that are still among Turner’s most famous. George Eastman House purchased its first Turner image, Rolling Ball, in 1960.

In 1967, Turner’s image The Giraffe appeared in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition Photography in the Fine Arts. In the decades since, hundreds of Turner’s images have complemented magazines, record jackets, and billboards. Turner has also published two monographs with a third, The Color of Jazz, scheduled for release this fall.

Color photographs for fine art, advertising, and photojournalism are regularly seen in glossy magazines and on museum walls. But while commercial advertising quickly embraced color photography in the early 20th century, it took decades for fine art photographers to welcome color. The acceptance of color photography in the fine arts in the late 20th century can be credited to a handful of photographers who championed the medium’s possibilities. Among them is Pete Turner.

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