Last Wednesday morning brought with it news of the death of Pete Turner.
Don’t feel bad if you’re not familiar with his work – if I hadn’t been looking at his photographs since the mid-60s, I might not have known of him either.
Here’s a clue:
This is the original image. The first copy of Wave I bought in El Corte Dix in Bilbao in (I think) 1967, was this one. Many years later, I bought a second LP to replace the the original which was so badly worn as to be unplayable. The image has subsequently been changed to green – see below. I’ve no idea why.
In addition to Jobim, through the late ‘60s and early ‘70s CTI records rostered Wes Montgomery, Milton Nasciemento, Quincy Jones, Bob James, George Benson, Deodato, Hubert Laws and many more. Almost every LP these jazz giants produced was graced with a Pete Turner image on its (usually gatefold/double) sleeve.
Looking at these photographs today, it’s easy to imagine how Photoshop might deliver similar effects. But PS didn’t exist in those days, nor did PCs, Macintoshes, or pretty much any electronic assistance for this kind of photo manipulation.
There weren’t many people who saw like Turner either. There’s hardly an image he has on his Web site, or which has been used elsewhere that any one of us couldn’t have taken.
Except that we haven’t, because we didn’t see with Turner’s eye.
I’ve taken tens of thousands of photographs, been on many photographic workshops, even led a few and despite my creative motivation, have yet to shoot anything, or see anyone else produce images remotely like these.
As with so many luminaries, we are all the poorer for his passing.
You can find his work here: Pete Turner Photography
My apologies for the iffy quality of the images shown here. Most are Web finds, or from PetaPixel who also reported Turner’s death.
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Thank you for making me aware of him.
You may want to listen to Wave. It’s still available on the iTunes Store and packed with gentle, subtle and sunny young lady-entrancing Bossa Nova. You can guess how I wore out my first copy of the LP…
As my tastes matured, I never left Wave (and Jobim’s many other LPs) behind, but also moved further into jazz, regularly stopping at Stanley Turrentine’s 1970 “Sugar” – also a CTI release.
Thankfully, I’m unlikely to ever put in an appearance on the BBCs Desert Island Discs, as aside from a complete lack (thankfully) of any celebrity, I could never select just ten tracks to accompany me. For the hell of it, I did try once and stopped at 100. Jobim’s Wave and track 3 on Sugar; “Impressions”, were right there.
Damn you, I’ve not listened to that for a while and after a brief pause from replying, now have Turrentine’s tenor and several of the jazz world’s greats making magic all over again.
Go listen. Turner’s photographs fit right in.
Thanks Paul for your suggestion!
I don’t have access to iTunes, but I found a couple of live Jobim videos on YouTube including one piece from Wave.
( Tracks from “Wave” seem to be all blocked.)
Certainly a musician!
And one of that rare kind who have a delicate sense of rythm!
( I can well understand that you wore that record out.)
I can certainly enjoy that kind of music when it’s played so well, although it isn’t really my kind…
( I grew up on “classical” music – anything from Bach to Bartók – but have later learned to enjoy also jazz and other music.)
You suggest that Turner’s photos and the music on Wave harmonize.
Personally I prefer to enjoy music and art/photos separately – together I find they disturb each other and send my feelings and thoughts in different directions.
( It’s a bit like hearing a song made of a poem, a strong poem requires simple music but a more easily understood text can live also with more complex music.)
A small tip in return:
I heard today on the radio a track from the album Yakumbé, Afrocumbia.
Fantastic drum music!
I remembered his blue images on NY City. A stunningly beautiful sense of design.
I didn’t know him as a photographer although I was familiar with a good many of the album covers, including one of Steely Dan’s. On his website there are many images that I can look at and think, “I know how to do that.” With digital technology! I have absolutely no idea how he did it with the alchemy of chemicals, emulsions and paper. You know what? I love that I don’t know. It allows for a more direct experience of the magical, emotional impact of the content. It seems, as with rock stars, so too photographers, “you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone”.
sorry to hear this… i had many, many of these records with his images…that was part of the reason i got them….tim
Paul, I feel your sadness. When I discovered, thanks to you, Turner’s pictures, I realised that he is an influence on your own photography. That is no small compliment!
I love this site.
Sorry to hear of his passing but I did not know of him until now.
Because of you, in now lives in on, not only in his images, which I’m actively seeking, but also a little in me as well.
Its great to leave such an artistic creative mark on this world.
Thanks for introducing us to his work. Really remarkable.