Pete Turner: 1934-2017


My Mentor Series

There have only been a few photographers that have had a profound influence on my own vision and work.

Pete Turner is one such photographer. He passed away about a year ago at the age of 83, and I’ve been meaning to start this series off with a tribute and information about him.

He was a master of color photography, and his ability to utilize the pure essence of various hues and saturation levels was astounding. Many of his works involved composite images created without the aid of modern digital technologies. If memory serves me right Pete shot exclusively with Nikon 35mm equipment and his film of choice was always the venerable Kodachrome (which embellished the incredible contrast witnessed with his creations). He also was a master of duplicating slide film and making composite double or more exposures in a final image that comprised many of his well-known pieces. His prints were meticulously produced using the Cibachrome process.

I do know he started his career in the 1950s as a military photographer with the Army. Later he became a much sought after commercial pro, whose assignments took him all over the world and created opportunities for many of his iconic photographs.

I have a pretty extensive vinyl jazz record collection, and most of the CTI label record covers (produced by Creed Taylor) were shot by Pete. Looking at one the other day I noticed that you could order 11 x 14 inch prints for only $25! I was also lucky to find his 1986 monograph book in a second-hand bookstore in Kona a few years back.

He was a really cool person, who was a super craftsman. The graphic power of his work will always spark my imagination.

For more information his family still maintains a website for his work at

The New York Times published a great obituary as well.