News Archive

Cartier-Bresson's Impact On Photojournalism

By Claude Cookman

Editor's note: Claude Cookman, an associate professor of Journalism at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN, is the author of one of the essays in Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Man, the Image and the World: A Retrospective (Thames & Hudson, 2003). The catalogue was published as part of the Cartier-Bresson retrospective at the opening of the photographer's Foundation in Paris last year. Cookman, an acclaimed photographic historian, was the winner of the NPPA's Robin F. Garland Educator Award in 1999.

The death of Henri Cartier-Bresson reminds us of the huge debt we photojournalists owe to this French giant who stopped actively photographing more than 30 years ago.

His phrase, "the decisive moment," is probably the first association for most. Capturing the climactic instant, whether peak sports action or subtle emotional interaction, has become the gold standard for photojournalists. But history and Cartier-Bresson's own words enrich our understanding of this packed term.

Capturing action was difficult and rare with old view cameras mounted on tripods and bulky hand-held press cameras such as the Graflex. That changed when the 35mm Leica appeared in Germany in the mid 1920s. Beginning in the early 1930s with a series of photographs remarkable for their revelatory content and pristine composition, Cartier-Bresson showed the world the Leica's potential to achieve spontaneity. That remains his greatest legacy to photography's trajectory.

The decisive moment is most closely associated with his signature photograph taken in 1932 behind a railroad terminal in Paris. It freezes a leaping man a millisecond before his foot splashes down in a huge puddle. For Cartier-Bresson, the decisive moment meant more that just stopping action. Trained as a painter in the classical French tradition and captivated by the recent revival of the theory of the golden proportion, he insisted that geometric composition was vital. Such composition can be seen in the 1932 photo, with its repetition of forms and placement of focal point. In the preface to his 1952 book The Decisive Moment -- which should be required reading for all photojournalists -- Cartier-Bresson defined his aesthetic is "the simultaneous recognition in a fraction of a second of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms."

What is likely to be forgotten is that Cartier-Bresson's use of the Leica showed modern photojournalism a new ethic. Because large-format cameras used holders with only two sheets of film, earlier photojournalists commonly staged their pictures. In contrast, Cartier-Bresson practiced unobtrusiveness as the route to capturing unposed photographs. This allowed him to respect his subjects while also obtaining natural, revealing images. His unobtrusive approach allowed him to take and keep photographs of the assassinated Mohandas Gandhi, lying in state in January 1948. (The Life photographer Margaret Bourke-White, who photographed Gandhi with a large camera and flash, had her film confiscated by the Mahatma's devotees who considered her actions disrespectful.) Cartier-Bresson articulated his ethic and the unobtrusive approach that now goes by the term "a fly on the wall" in The Decisive Moment preface: "We are bound to arrive as intruders," he wrote. "It is essential, therefore, to approach the subject on tiptoe.... It's no good jostling or elbowing." As part of his unobtrusiveness, he rejected artificial lighting. "And no photographs taken with the aid of flashlight either, if only out of respect for the actual light.... Unless a photographer observes such conditions as these, he may become an intolerably aggressive character."

Humanism, another element of his ethic, also infuses contemporary photojournalism. With few exceptions, Cartier-Bresson photographed people. They are seen with warmth, curiosity, empathy, and occasionally humor. It is no accident that of the 502 images that Edward Steichen chose for his Family of Man exhibition, 10 were by Cartier-Bresson. He spoke often of how photography required the alignment of not just the head and hand, but also the heart. His humanism extended beyond respecting his subjects, to serving an audience. Writing in 1952 at the height of anxiety about the nuclear arms race, he characterized his role as supplying photographs to "a world weighted down with preoccupations," one full of people "needing the companionship of images." A few years later, he told an interviewer: "The important thing about our relations with the press is that it provides us with the possibility of being in close contact with life's events. What is most satisfying for a photographer is not recognition, success, and so forth. It's communication: what you say can mean something to other people, can be of a certain importance."

His humanism aligned with a social conscience. During his formative years in the 1920s and 1930s, he saw the effects of the worldwide depression and the rise of Hitler's Nazism. As a young journalist, he felt compelled to witness these problems with his camera. Explaining his change from painting to photography, he told an interviewer: "The adventurer in me felt obliged to testify with a quicker instrument than a brush to the scars of the world." He was engaged in leftist politics during the 1930s and active in the Green Party in his later years. Running throughout his work are numerous images that expose the contradictions of capitalism, such as a homeless couple bedding down for the night in front of a store window with a large IBM logo.

As with many great figures, Cartier-Bresson's life and work are enveloped in myth. For the record, on occasion he did use flash, he did crop his pictures, and he did allow himself to be photographed -- although only by his wife, the photographer Martine Franck, and his colleagues at Magnum Photos, the agency which he cofounded with Robert Capa and others in 1947.

The most important misconception about his work, however, is that he is a single-image photographer. In numerous books and exhibitions, his work is shown as an aggregation of discrete photographs, seemingly unrelated to each other. In contrast, his contact sheets at Magnum's Paris Bureau demonstrate that most of the great images resulted from extended picture stories that he shot for magazines such as Harper's BazaarLifeLookHolidayParis MatchDu, and Epoca.

These reportages fall into three major categories. He photographed news events such as the liberation of Paris, the funeral of Gandhi, the fall of Beijing, and the 1968 student rebellion in Paris. In the early 1960s he photographed and wrote texts for a series of 16 portraiture stories for a London magazine, The Queen. Published under the running title "A Touch of Greatness," the stories profiled such notables as Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Miller, Robert Kennedy, and Julie Harris. His largest body of work might be characterized as ethnography. From country to country, he systematically sought out and photographed the same human activities and institutions: the marketplace; the church, synagogue or mosque; the parks where children played and adults relaxed; kindergartens and universities; concerts, plays, weddings, funerals, and people at work, from peasant farmers to computer engineers. His 1954 report on the people of Russia is arguably his greatest essay in this genre, but he also worked the streets of China, Cuba, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Turkey, most European countries, and the United States.

As the art world has claimed Cartier-Bresson, exhibiting his work in the world's most prestigious museums and publishing it in art-book formats, it is important to remember that Cartier-Bresson was a magazine photojournalist. Most of his great images would never have been taken without assignments from the picture magazines.

In the mid 1970s, for a variety of complex reasons he disavowed photojournalism and photography, returning to his first love of drawing. But his contact sheets, captions, story manuscripts, published writings, and interviews all demonstrate that during his active career from the 1930s through the 1960s, he thought and worked in the European tradition of magazine photojournalism.

He said it best in an interview: "People often say that I have been in the right place at the right time. What they really mean is that I follow the newspapers, in order to get a sense of what is happening in the world." In his 1955 book The Europeans, Cartier-Bresson characterized the role of the photographic reporter by saying, "I was there and this is how life appeared to me at that moment." Taken together, these two statements plus his archives at Magnum encompass the essence of photojournalism: Anticipating a significant event, he got himself into position, photographed with thoroughness, edited his film, added text and captions, and then, through the picture magazines, communicated what he witnessed to a mass audience.

Claude Cookman can be reached at [email protected].


Maysville, KY, Chief Photographer Seriously Injured In Wisconsin Crash

EAU CLAIRE, WI.—Ledger Independent Chief Photographer Bob Warner was seriously injured in a single vehicle accident early Saturday morning in central Wisconsin. Warner and his wife Julia and son Jim were driving to Seattle to spend time with son Michael Smith who is in the Navy.

The accident happened at about 6:50 a.m. on I-94 in Eau Claire, WI, after Julia, who was driving, apparently fell asleep at the wheel. She said she doesn't remember what happened, but surmises she nodded off.

Bob Warner was thrown from the front passenger seat to the back seat and sustained a fracture to his spine.

Julia said she does not remember taking off her seat belt, but thought she must have because her face received lacerations from the windshield. She was taken to Marshfield Hospital where she was treated and released.

Their son, Jim Warner, who is confined to a wheelchair, received a hairline fracture to his knee and several bruises and cuts to his face, his mother said. Jim's wheelchair is normally locked into its spot in the handicap friendly van, but he was asleep in the third row of seats when the accident occurred.

A Wisconsin State Police District 6 spokeswoman said the vehicle crossed the median then began to roll. Bob Warner's injuries required he be transferred to Hennepen County Hospital in Minneapolis, MN, where he underwent surgery for possible injuries to his pancreas.

His abdomen is okay, doctors said, but the more serious injury to his back will likely leave him paralyzed.

"That's their gut instinct," Julia said Sunday. "The CT scan was inconclusive." Julia said she and Bob had stopped and taken a walk to revive themselves only 20 minutes prior to the accident.

By Sunday afternoon the couple's other son, Ryan Smith, and his wife Regina, had made it to Wisconsin to St. Joseph Hospital where Jim Warner was a patient. He has been released and the trio were on the way to Minneapolis when we spoke to Julia at about 4 p.m. Sunday.

Bob Warner has no feeling in his lower extremities and will be fitted with a metal halo to keep his spine stable, his wife said. He may soon be transferred to University of Cincinnati Medical Center where there is a specialized spinal injury clinic, Julia said. The van they were driving was totaled, but an emergency room nurse took her private vehicle to the impound lot and got the family's belongings, Julia said.

Jim's aid dog, Jasper, was found walking the highway about three hours after the accident with a cut on his head. He is currently kenneled at a veterinarian's office.

"The family is all right for now, but may need financial help in the near future," Betty Coutant reports. " Julia said the family will take it one day at a time for now. 'We've got a long way to go.'"

Anyone wishing to help the Warner family may contact the newsroom at +1.606.564.9091, oremail Betty Coutant [email protected]


San Francisco Bay Area Media, EMS, Police, Fire Workers To Meet

Journalists and San Francisco Bay Area police, fire, and medical first-responders will meet Thursday, August 19, in an unprecedented community event designed to bring members of the media and EMS professional together to discuss their job responsibilities and goals, and what they have in common and where they might clash in the course of doing their jobs.

The event is sponsored by The National Press Photographers Association, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. The session is open to all working journalists, police, fire and paramedic/EMT professionals in the Bay Area.

"They are the 'first-responders,' the photographers, reporters, editors, police, firefighters, and EMTs who are first on the scene of tragedy and disaster," NPPA past president David Handschuh says. "Each has a job to do amid the chaos and trauma: secure the area, help the victims, write the story, capture the images. Many times these jobs and priorities conflict, creating more stress in a stressful situation. And hidden behind the headlines and photographs are the affects on the first-responders, who are forced to face horrific situations as part of their job. How can we leverage this common experience to overcome the inevitable clash of professionals with different goals and responsibilities?"

The event is this Thursday, August 19, at 6:45 p.m. at the Radisson Miyako Hotel, 1625 Post Street, San Francisco CA, 94115, in the Sakura meeting room. Parking is available at the Japan Center Garage, 1600 Geary Street (entrances on both Geary and Post).


UNITY Conference & CNJO meet in DC

"UNITY is really about collaboration," said UNITY President Ernest Sotomayor as he addressed those gathered at the Council of National Journalism Organizations. Over 40 people, the biggest attendance ever for a CNJO meeting, gathered at the Washington Convention Center for their annual summer meeting, coinciding with the UNITY conference (

[Unity: Peter Weitzel, of the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government, speaks to CNJO at UNITY at the Washington Convention Center in Washington. At left is Ted Gest of the Criminal Justice Journalists, and at right is Eric Hegedus of the National Lesbian and Gay Hournalists Association. Photograph by Linda D. Epstein/KRT]

More than 7,000 people had registered for UNITY by Monday night. UNITY is an alliance of AAJA, the Asian American Journalists Association; NABJ, the National Association of Black Journalists; NAHJ, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists; and NAJA, the Native American Journalists Association. While each group meets individually each year, the four groups hold a joint conference every five years to bring minority journalism organizations together in one event.

Representatives of various journalism organizations such as the Society of News Design, Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, American Copy Editors Society, Associated Press Photo Managers, and the Society of Professional Journalists attended CNJO.

[Unity: Hai Do (right), AME/Photo at The Journal News in White Plains, NY, and representing the Associated Press Photo Managers, speaks with Mark Mittelstadt of the Associated Press Managing Editors, at CNJO and UNITY at the Washington Convention Center. Photograph by Linda D. Epstein/KRT.]

Pete Weitzel, of the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government addressed the organization and asked that all the organizations coordinate their efforts to be more effective in getting information from the government. "We need to fight restrictions on information," Weitzel said.

Several training issues were brought to the attention of the organization including Poynter's training survey and

-- Linda Epstein, NPPA Region 3 director


Legendary Photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson, 95, Dies in France

PARIS, France - Henri Cartier-Bresson, 95, the legendary pillar of modern photojournalism who documented half a century of history by capturing it in iconic images that he called "decisive moments," one of the founding members of Magnum Photos who eventually put his camera down to return to his first love of drawing and painting, has died at his home in southern France.

[Henri Cartier-Bresson: The 'father of photojournalism,' Henri Cartier-Bresson, seen in 1972 in Forcalquier, the Alpes de Haute-Provence, France, has died in his home at the age of 95. Photograph © by Martine Franck/Magnum Photos.]

His family released a brief statement from Paris tonight: "The family of Henri Cartier-Bresson, the Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson, and the photographers and staff of Magnum Photos are sad to announce the death of Henri Cartier-Bresson on the 3rd of August at 9:30 a.m., in his house in the county of Luberon (France). His funeral was held in the strictest of privacy. A commemoration will be held in honor of his memory at the beginning of September." No other details were available.

"He was perhaps the greatest photographer of the 20th century. There will never be another Henri Cartier-Bresson," said photography editor John G. Morris, a lifelong personal friend of Cartier-Bresson and the author of Get The Picture: A Personal History of Photojournalism. Cartier-Bresson inspired countless generations of photographers. His images in Life,VogueHarper's Bazaar, and hundreds of magazines and books are as much art as they are photographs. His images have been shown in the leading museums of the world and constituted the first-ever photographic exhibit at the Louvre.

Cartier-Bresson was born August 22, 1908, outside Paris to a wealthy family with a thriving textile business. The International Herald Tribune reports that in the early 1900s, "almost every French sewing kit was stocked with Cartier-Bresson thread." At 20, as the oldest child who was expected to carry on the family business, Cartier-Bresson abandoned the textiles to study art and painting. His interest in photography didn't blossom until 1930 when he traveled around central Europe taking pictures. His travel photographs appeared in several magazines and were followed by his first show in 1933 in Spain, after which his career as a photojournalist of significance took flight.

Using small Leica rangefinders, and usually 50mm lenses and black and white film and relying only on existing light, he captured scenes of simple daily street life and devastating global war, the faces of both the famous and the unknown. Working on big stories as well as showing life's smallest, nearly invisible details, he made pictures at the exact moment when all the elements of a scene or its peak action came into place, when an image had its greatest "significance" or, as he termed it, was at its most "decisive" moment.

In 2003 as Cartier-Bresson's 95th birthday approached, Morris wrote a tribute to him in "A Letter From Paris" forNews Photographer magazine. The two became friends in August 1944, just days after Paris was liberated from German occupation, and they remained friends for life, later working together at Magnum Photos where Morris was executive director and Cartier-Bresson one of the agency's founding photographers. Morris almost always fondly referred to his friend Cartier-Bresson as "HCB."

"I arrived in Paris from London, a stranger, to take charge of Life's Paris bureau," Morris remembered. "It was temporarily in a room in the Hotel Scribe. Robert Capa says: 'I have a friend who can help you. He speaks English and knows his way around. His name is Henri Cartier-Bresson.' I had never heard of him, but the next morning a slight, blue-eyed young man shows up at the door of the Scribe. We go off on foot, making the rounds of photographers and picture agencies, including Wide World, in the deserted New York Times office. Henri takes me home for a simple lunch, apologizing, 'We don't buy on the black market.' I learn that he had been living and photographing underground, after escaping from a German prison camp.'"

Serving in the French Army, Cartier-Bresson had been captured in 1940 during the Battle of France and was a German prisoner of war for three years, twice attempting escape before success on his third attempt. He returned to Paris and after the war resumed photography. In 1937 he married Ratna Mohini, a dancer. In 1947, along with Robert Capa and David Seymour, he cofounded Magnum Photos. And in 1970 he married Martine Franck. Together they had a daughter, Melanie.

Cartier-Bresson's landmark book was The Decisive Moment, published in 1952. In 1960 a 400-print exhibit toured the United States, and on April 28, 2003, the Bibliotheque Nationale's Grand Galerie opened the largest one-man show in its history, called "Henri Cartier-Bresson: De qui s'agit-il?" (Who is he?). Morris said, "Its five-pound 'catalogue,' published in French by Gallimard and in English by Thames and Hudson, reproduced the show's 602 items, not to mention listing his 109 books and catalogues, 800 picture stories in magazines and newspapers, 270 photo exhibitions, 38 exhibitions of his drawings, his 14 films, and the 11 films and 320 articles about him."

The next day, April 29, the Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson opened with champagne at its newly refurbished five-story landmark building near the Gare Montparnasse. "Henri, as usual, tried to hide," Morris wrote afterwards. Cartier-Bresson strongly disliked being photographed and rarely granted interviews. Morris said, "The Foundation was the housekeeping solution of Henri's wife, Magnum photographer Martine Franck, for disposing of Henri's treasures of a lifetime -- 'He never throws anything away.'" Morris said, "HCB agreed to the Foundation on condition that the building be 'neither a museum nor a mausoleum.'"

Then, when Cartier-Bresson's expertise and fame were near its peak, he put down his camera. After photographing French President General Charles de Gaulle's funeral in 1970, Cartier-Bresson visited Morris in New York City. Morris was the photography editor of The New York Times in those days, and he arranged a dinner with newspaper's photography staff. "I did not realize it at the time, but just about then two things occurred that would change Henri's future," Morris wrote. "He had fallen in love with Martine Franck, then a photographer with Visa. And he had experienced a rebirth of his previous passion, to be an 'artist.' To him this meant sketching and painting. The two occurrences were not unrelated; one photographer in a family is normally enough, and Martine is very talented."

"Henri found a further excuse to quit photography in the advice of his longtime friend Teriade, publisher of The Decisive Moment, who told him that he had done everything that could be done in photography," Morris recalled. "Teriade was partly right. From the standpoint of style, Henri had scarcely deviated from his earliest work. But from the point of view of content, Teriade unfortunately proposed that Henri turn his back on the balance of the 20th century. History was the loser. However, thanks to Robert Delpire, who became Henri's editor, his pre-1970 work took the form of an unparalleled photographic commentary on our times."

Morris remembers warning Cartier-Bresson once, after critics reviewed his artwork without mentioning his earlier photographs, "If you're not careful, you're going to go down in history as a painter, not as a photographer." Morris said Cartier-Bresson replied, "I'm just a jack of all trades."

It was well known that Cartier-Bresson did not want his photographs to be cropped by picture editors. John Morris remembers, "At Magnum there were two rubber stamps used on Henri's press prints. One said that the photo should not be altered by cropping; the other said that the photograph should not be used in a way that violates the context in which it is taken. One stamp for BEAUTY, of form; one stamp for TRUTH."

Michael Evans was a staff photographer at The New York Times when Morris was the picture editor and was working there when Morris once convinced Cartier-Bresson to take a Times photography assignment for a "second front" feature -- a story that leads the second section's front page. "Morris worked with Cartier-Bresson on the final image, and the page was all laid out and there were strict orders left with the desk not to crop the image under any circumstances," Evans remembers. "Well, of course something happened, and the page got changed, and the image got cropped. And Henri went ballistic."

Trying to deal with the incident, Evans remembers, Morris went in and met with the newspaper's executive editor, Abe Rosenthal. "John said something to the effect of, 'We've got a problem, Henri's picture was cropped,'" Evans said, "and Rosenthal said, 'Well who the (expletive) is Henri Cartier-Bresson?' Then later Henri, in his exceptional French/English, responded in a similar fashion, 'Who the (expletive) is Abe Rosenthal?' I think it was the last assignment Cartier-Bresson shot for the Times," Evans said with a laugh.

Cartier-Bresson is survived by his wife, Martine Franck, and their daughter, Melanie.


NYC Police To Meet NYPPA, NPPA Members To Discuss Republican Convention Plans, Access

Members of the New York City Police Department will meet August 12 with representatives and members of the New York Press Photographers Association and the National Press Photographers Association to discussion preparations and policies for the upcoming Republican National Convention in New York City. The convention in Madison Square Garden begins August 30 and runs through September 2.

Todd Maisel, of the New York Daily News, who is secretary of the NYPPA, announced the Thursday, August 12, meeting with police. It will be held at 1 Police Plaza, New York, at 6:30 p.m. in the Pressroom Auditorium. An RSVP is required for admission to the meeting due to security concerns. There will be no exceptions.

The meeting will address what's been done to make convention areas secure, what access media will have at specific sites, and what will be done to insure media access to related events (including protests, rallies, and related disturbances). If you're covering the Republican convention, "You can't afford to miss this meeting," Maisel said.

Maisel said that police believe there have been past attempts to infiltrate the media in order to gain close access to political leaders and sensitive locations, so security measures to access this policy meeting will be in enforced. Maisel also extends the meeting invitation to representatives of NYPPA and NPPA publications, wire services, photography agencies, and magazines. Food and refreshments will be served.

To RSVP call +1.212.889.6633 or eMail [email protected] well before the meeting date. Absolutely no one will be admitted to the meeting who is not on the cleared guest list. Contact Todd Maisel for more information.


Reporters Committee Launches Arrest Hotline for Journalists at Democratic Convention

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has established a 24-hour free Media Hotline for credentialed journalists who run into legal trouble while covering the Democratic National Convention in Boston next week.

In cooperation with the law firm of Prince, Lobel, Glovsky & Tye LLP, the hotline is for journalists who are interfered with or assaulted covering the news, or who are arrested or detained during demonstrations or other disturbances, for the duration of the convention.

The Hotline telephone number is +1.888.428.7490 and will be available to all journalists who have been issued DNC credentials. Lawyers staffing the hotline include Joe Steinfield, Rob Bertsche, David Plotkin, and Jeffrey Pyle. The backup telephone number is the Reporters Committee's hotline, which is +1.800.336.4243.

A flyer outlining procedures for resolving problems arising from detention or arrest is online at

The Washington-based Reporters Committee, a nonprofit association of reporters and editors established in 1970, provides cost-free legal advice and research assistance to journalists and their lawyers. The Reporters Committee has established such hotlines at national conventions since 1972.

For further information, contact executive director Lucy Dalglish at the Reporters Committee, +1.703.807.2100, or Joe Steinfield or Rob Bertsche at Prince, Lobel, Glovsky & Tye LLP, +1.617.456.8018.


Texas Reporter who Survived Live Truck Accident Shares Story for the First Time (Video)

On June 8th, 2004 KBTX reporter Jennifer Cavazos, photojournalist Matt Moore, and two interns were assigned to cover a gas well accident in rural Robertson County Texas. After gathering video, they drove to a known live location in nearby Hearne. They were setting up for a tape feed for KBTX's 6PM newscast. Moore raised the mast to tune in, while standing outside the truck. While raising the mast, the truck came into contact with overhead power lines. Moore was electrocuted and critically injured. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Cavazos and the two interns escaped the vehicle alive. Cavazos and the interns hopped away from the truck and ran to safety to call 911. On August 23rd, with Moore's parents in attendance, Cavazos spoke at a live truck safety seminar put on by Austin Energy in Austin, TX. Her emotional and compelling description of the incident can be viewed here. She wants her story to be told. She hopes that those involved in electronic news gathering will hear her words and look up and live.


Party Before The GOP Convention

The New York Press Photographers Association invites all NYPPA and NPPA members to a kick-off party before the Republican presidential convention starts. Todd Maisel, of the New York Daily News, secretary of the NYPPA, announced that the party will be Sunday, August 29, at 7 p.m. at B&H Photo, 9th Ave. and 33rd Street, in New York City. There will be a complementary bar and food, and manufacturing representatives will be demonstrating new equipment.

For security reasons an RSVP is required. No one will be admitted otherwise. You can email [email protected] or call +1.212.889.6633 to get on the party guest list.


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

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,, 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.