20 years ago, I had the chance to meet Peter Turnley, one of the most talented American photojournalists. Peter has photographed most of the world’s conflicts over the last decade including the Gulf War in 1991, the Balkans (Bosnia), Somalia, Rwanda, South Africa, Chechnya, Haiti, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Kosovo, the war in Iraq-2003, and also maintains an ongoing documentation of the major refugee populations of the world. He witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall and the revolutions in Eastern Europe in 1989, the liberation of Nelson Mandela and the end of apartheid in South Africa. He was in New York at “Ground Zero” on September 11, 2001, New Orleans during the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, Haiti after the tragic earthquake of 2011, and Egypt during the toppling of Hosni Mubarak in 2011. His photographs have been featured on the cover of Newsweek 43 times as well as Harper’s, Stern, Paris Match, Geo, LIFE, National Geographic, The London Sunday Times, VSD, Le Figaro, Le Monde and New Yorker.
At the time, we were both living in the same neighborhood in Paris “ Le Marais” and we use to cross path in the city of lights, him always with his Leica on his shoulder and me with my old Hasselblad CM 500 around my neck. We were both documenting the streets of Paris, both shooting black and white film.
A few weeks ago, we were reunited at the Leica Gallery in Los Angeles where Peter showcased a beautiful exhibition and signed his latest book French Kiss – A Love Letter to Paris.
We talked for a bit about our love for our own country (as well as each other’s country) — him for France where he had resided for decades and myself for America, my country for the last 20 years.
Thanks Peter for being such an inspiration. It was a great evening.Visit Peter Turnley’s Website