Peter Turnley is renowned for his photography of the realities of the human condition. His photographs have been featured on the cover of Newsweek forty-three times and are published frequently in many of the world’s most prestigious publications. He has worked in over ninety countries and has witnessed most major stories of international geopolitical and historic significance in the last forty years.
Turnley has photographed most of the world’s conflicts, including the Gulf War of 1991, the Balkans (Bosnia), Somalia, Rwanda, South Africa, Chechnya, Haiti, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Kosovo, the 2003 war in Iraq. He has produced portraits and covered many of the modern world’s most influential people: Obama, Castro, Gorbachev, Yeltsin, Putin, Mandela, Arafat, Schroeder, Ceausescu, Gaddafi, Chirac, Clinton, Reagan, Bush Sr., Lady Diana, and Pope Jean Paul II among others.
From 1986-2000, he worked on contract for Newsweek Magazine and was based in Paris and covered the world. Turnley also worked on contract for Harper’s Magazine, from 2003-2007, producing eleven, eight page photo-essays.
Since 1975 Turnley has also continually photographed the life of Paris, his adopted home. He was born in the U.S. but has lived more than half his life in Paris, where he worked as the assistant to the photographer Robert Doisneau in his early days in Paris in 1981. Mr. Turnley has produced two boos about Paris, “Parisians”, and “French Kiss-A Love Letter to Paris”. His photographs of Paris are also represented extensively in the famous book, “Paris Mon Amour”. Turnley now holds both American and French citizenship.
Turnley has photographed extensively the life of Cuba since 1989 and has published a book Cuba: A Grace of Spirit. In 2016, he was honored with a major retrospective of his life’s photographs at Cuba’s most important museum, “Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes”. The exhibition was entitled “Momentos de la Condicion Humana” (Moments of the Human Condition). Turnley was also the first North American photographer to be offered a major exhibit at Cuba’s most prestigious museum since the Cuban revolution. His photographs have been exhibited worldwide, and recently in October 2019 he had a major exhibit in Havana, Cuba at La Fototeca de Cuba, “Paris-Cuba”.
A graduate of the University of Michigan, the Sorbonne of Paris, and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques of Paris, Turnley has received honorary doctorate degrees from the New School of Social Research in New York, Ohio Wesleyan University and St. Francis College of Indiana. He received a Nieman Fellowship from Harvard for the academic year 2000–2001.
Among the many international awards Turnley has won are the Overseas Press Club Award for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad, numerous awards and citations from World Press Photo, and the University of Missouri’s Pictures of the Year competition.
Turnley lives in both New York and Paris, also leads renown photography workshops on street photography worldwide, in Paris, New York, Venice, and in Cuba. He has published seven books: Beijing Spring, Moments of Revolution, In Times of War and Peace, Parisians, McClellan Street, French Kiss: A Love Letter to Paris, and Cuba: A Grace of Spirit. His books can be purchased directly from his website: