Peter Turnley's Photo-Essays To Debut In Harper's Magazine

Jul 1, 2004

Photojournalist Peter Turnley and Harper's Magazine will debut in the August issue the first of four major eight-page photo essays by the New York and Paris-based journalist, stories that Harper's Magazine will showcase over the next year. Turnley, who will be added to Harper's masthead as a contributing editor, will work directly with the editor in chief, Lewis H. Lapham, and the magazine's art director, Stacey Clarkson, on the creation and presentation of his visual stories. Turnley was just recently offered this one-year renewable agreement with Harper's.

[Essays in Harper's: Peter Turnley will have four eight-page essays in Harper's Magazine over the next year as a contributing editor.]

"This opportunity with Harper's to author my own photographic stories is exactly where I would like to be at this point in my life and career," Turnley told News Photographer. "I'm very excited to have my work published in a magazine that has always had such a tradition of great journalism and storytelling." Harper's Magazineis an American journal of literature, politics, culture, and the arts and has published continuously since 1850.

"This is a great opportunity, and the relationship with Harper'sis certainly very exciting for me," Turnley said, "but it also represents a terrific evolution in magazine journalism." The magazine's dedication to eight pages of photojournalism for each of the four essays is a significant commitment to visual storytelling. I have always been inspired and committed to the notion that visual storytelling through photography can be its own fully embodied form of powerful communication in its own right, and it is very exciting to have a publication support this belief. Maybe too often today in the field of journalism, photography is used to illustrate text and be at the service of prose, and it's wonderful to find the support of the philosophy that a photographer can be the author of his or her own stories using visual language."

"The fundamental philosophy of what we're going to do in these essays is that my work will be that of a visual author in the pure tradition of the photographic story. It's quite positive, in a time when we often hear about the 'death of photojournalism,' that a magazine with such a strong tradition of publishing great prose has decided to partner with a photojournalist to publish long-form pieces of visual storytelling."

"This first essay speaks in images about a very important theme touching our world today in a way that I don't think has been seen much before elsewhere," Turnley said from New York before returning to Paris. "The first story has been laid out for the August issue, which will go to subscribers in the middle of July and will be on newsstands at the beginning of August."

A graduate of the University of Michigan in 1977, the Sorbonne, and then the Institut d'Etudes Politiques of Paris in 1981, Turnley was a contract photographer for Newsweek Magazine from 1984 to 2001. He was a Neiman fellow at Harvard University in 2000-2001. A native of Ft. Wayne, IN, he now spends his time living in Paris and New York City. He's recently launched a new personal Web site that includes several different portfolios of his documentary work, along with personal photographs from his journeys around the world. The new site, www.peterturnley.com, also has information about his books (including ParisiansIn Times of War and PeaceBeijing Spring, and Moments of Revolution). Turnley's editorial and commercial work is represented by Corbis.