Cuba February 2017 Workshop
I went to Cuba for Peter Turnley's workshop, which was in and around Havana. I'm afraid I haven't heard about Santa Fe workshops until just now.
I'll try to answer your questions, considering my experience, as best I can.
"Were your housing accommodations decent ?"
We stayed at the Hotel Sevilla in central Havana and it was pretty wonderful. It's not even remotely new, nor remodeled, but I loved it. It literally stepped straight out of the pages of Graham Green's "Our Man In Havana," where parts of the book are set. Just fantastic.
"Could you easily find healthy food ?"
Define "healthy food." I ate a lot of very delicious food and drank a lot of great cocktails, beer and coffee. As for healthy? Ehhhh, like I said, depends on your definition. No one got sick from it.
"Did you have cell phone service ?"
I didn't bother with it, but it can be had, albeit for a price.
"Were the day trips paced so that at day's end you were not totally exhausted ?"
Our outings were all planned with plenty of time to work and to enjoy ourselves. I was delightfully tired at the end of each day, a tiredness that came from doing rewarding work and enjoying the company of my new-made friends.
FWIW, I was nursing a broken rib the entire time and I never felt overwhelmed. Also, I'm a fat, middle-aged, out-of-shape Nebraskan. Unless you're dealing with a more serious medical condition, you would be fine.
"What would you have changed about the trip in retrospect ?"
I wish the rest of my life was like the week I spent in Cuba. Days filled with purposeful, rewarding work, immersed among some of the most open and generous people I've yet to meet and nights filled with good food, good drinks and good company.
Peter Turnley is not only a masterful teacher and mentor, he's also just a great guy. They say to never meet your heroes, but Peter is an exception to that rule. He and this trip have changed the way I look at my work, the world and my life.
I hope that your trip is equally as rich and rewarding. If you open yourself to the Cuban people, you'll be rewarded not just in kind, but by a hundred-fold more.
—Maggie Osterberg, Havana, 2017
New York 2016 Workshop
I joined Peter’s New York workshop hoping to broaden my photographic capabilities in street photography, a new area of focus for me. I can say with confidence that I achieved that goal, but also that the week I spent with Peter and a wonderful group of colleagues taught me much more than improving my photographic skills. After this week, I no longer consider that making a beautiful photograph or portfolio should be my main goal when I am out with a camera. Rather, I am conscious that photographs should always be the result of much more rewarding activities like looking differently at the world, and, most importantly, establishing deeper connections with people.
Peter’s insights and stories, the daily review of everyone’s pictures, the session with a visiting photographer, everything in the workshop led me to look at a city I thought I knew well in a new light. I developed a renewed appreciation for the vitality of New York and the dignity and joy of its people. After the week was over, I was physically exhausted but emotionally fulfilled.
I am sure I will carry this way of looking at the world into familiar surroundings and new places. I am also sure that I will be joining
—Jose Antonio Rosas, New York 2016
Cuba March 2016 Workshop
To get to the bottom line first: the Cuba workshop was EXCELLENT in every respect: Peter’s teaching, his assistants, the location and the learning experience. For more than forty years, I have been primarily an amateur nature and travel photographer, so I was interested in seeing what I could do with street photography. I came away from the workshop confident that I can do it well. In fact, I captured some of my best images ever during the week.
Peter’s approach is philosophical rather than technical. There is minimal discussion of shutter speeds, f-stops, composition, light, etc. He stresses connecting with the subject and capturing a moment in their lives in order to better understand them as people. We spent the better part of each day walking selected locations throughout Havana with Peter and his assistants encountering Cubans and photographing them in the streets, markets and even in their homes. We also had ample free time to wander about on our own. I feel that I have seen more of Havana and have a better understand of its people than I ever could have achieved as a regular tourist.
The three critique sessions were invaluable, in not only getting Peter’s constructive comment of my own images, but also seeing and learning from his comments on the work of the other participants. Our group included near-novices to experienced amateur photographers. Yet we blended well thanks to the laid back atmosphere that Peter created for the workshop. At the end as we waited out a four-hour delay at the Havana airport, we all agreed that we had had a great time, had learned a lot and had enhanced our photographic skills.
Overall this workshop was a tremendously rewarding experience. Highly recommended.
—Richard Nugent, Havana 2016
New York June 2016 Workshop
I, also, have been meaning to send you a note to express my gratitude, but I am not sure I can convey how impactful the 8 days in NYC were for me (but I will try!)
Other than wanting to learn how to become comfortable photographing strangers, I had no other expectations going into the workshop. In fact, this trip was more about recharging from a few intense and draining years with my job, giving myself permission to disconnect completely and simply enjoy being in the moment. I had no idea, and admit to being caught off guard by, how much each days' conversations with the group would contribute to my finding a balance again. Connecting with you, the other participants in the group, and perhaps most importantly with those individuals who opened themselves up to being photographed by me was transformational. There is a new found peace in my being that I never knew I had, and I fully attribute it to your encouraging us to see with our hearts.
I am quite proud of the photographs I ended up making, they all have meaning to me and stories that will stay with me for years to come.
Thank you for sharing so much of yourself, you most definitely made a difference in my life.
Until our paths cross again.
Annette Zita Huetter, New York 2016
New York June 2016 Workshop
I received an unexpected gift from you at the workshop last week. I did expect to improve my photography making skills but never expected to have my heart touched and expanded.
You revealed yourself, pure and raw through the joy of dancing and the real life story telling. We felt your deep compassion, love, emotions and generosity towards many kinds of human conditions. You made me want to be a better person and I think that's the ultimate gift one can give to another. Thank you.
—Hai-ping, New York 2016
Paris Fall 2015 Workshop
What you have to understand is that this week with Peter is not just a workshop but an holistic experience. Peter's sharing and discussion of his work, emotions and philosophy is incredibly powerful and influential. His humanistic approach is both deeply touching and wonderfully enlightening. Add to this Peter's unique "light touch" but very directed coaching, coupled with an array of guest speakers arranged throughout the week, and 2+2 certainly does make more than 4 and probably pushes well beyond 5!
Of course, the time with Peter is invaluable and the group dinners are hugely entertaining so it is not easy to point to a single event or "turning point" during the week. The process is cumulative and layers of information build, almost invisibly, upon one another. The effect can be profound and it certainly has impacted upon my approach to photography to a degree that I had not anticipated. It's a "game changer." Peter taught me to see Paris with my heart .... not simply with my eyes. And that is a very rare gift indeed.”
—David MacKay, Paris 2015
New York June 2016 Workshop
Peter’s workshop was a life changing experience for me and I do not say this lightly. He was able to convey how to go about making connections with our fellow human beings without just “taking” their photograph. I had so many profound experiences during the workshop that I am still processing everything many days after my return home. I found this workshop not one to focus on the technical side of photography, rather it teaches you about capturing the MAGICAL moments of photography, which is so much more difficult to understand and execute. Peter is a very knowledgeable, understanding and compassionate teacher who will take you to the next level! THANK YOU so very much.
—Sandra Seagroves, New York June 2016
Cuba April 2013 Workshop
My wife and I have just returned from a Peter Turnley workshop in Havana. Beyond doubt, this was the most visually exciting week I have ever experienced across four decades as a passionate amateur photographer. More than that, though, it was a joy to encounter the people, culture, colors, music and warmth of Cuba directly for the first time.
Aside from his most impressive accomplishments as an artist/photojournalist, Turnley is a master of constructive advice-giving and a true global citizen. His life in photography is not just a means of deeply personal self-expression. It is a powerful vehicle for social connection; a pathway along which he closely examines and poignantly depicts the broad range and common threads of the human condition. We had a fabulous time, learned a lot, and are already planning on returning to Cuba with Turnley next year.
—David & Susie Bush, Cuba April 2013
Paris Fall 2015 Workshop
Peter's keen acumen, skill and humanity while clear in the visual unfolding of his accomplishments is even more genuinely evident in his personal approach with students. The pearls of insight given, portals of photographic history opened, techniques of "Game Time" shared are all so very appreciated. For me, though, it was as if Peter bestowed a bit of his huge heart and fire in the belly to each of us.
—Susan Backes, Paris Fall 2015
Paris Fall 2015 Workshop
Peter Turnley’s Paris workshop is not to be missed. Home base is Peter’s apartment, overlooking the rooftops of Le Marias, only blocks from Notre Dame. He begins with introductions all around, and a nuts and bolts discussion of suggested camera settings and technique. That is as you might expect. However, you quickly pick up on the enthusiasm—the love, actually— that Peter brings to his work. His true love is for people and for telling and preserving their stories through his photography.
Two of the main lessons one learns during the week long workshop are, first, to always have your head up, looking around at what life is offering you, and, second, to feel and project the joy of capturing something of the character of the people you photograph. It is not a matter of taking snap shots of people you encounter. Rather, it is the process of learning to anticipate, observe, and record moments and events in peoples’ lives.
One of the great pleasures, I found, was in watching Peter interact with people. He puts them at ease, and they sense his honest joy in meeting them and in creating and sharing his images with them. The student, I think, moves from early frustration in looking for photographs (as though you were on a scavenger hunt), to learning to let the photographs come to you, through observation and openness.
It’s a great experience, made even better by guest presentations as well as group dinners. It is not an overstatement to say that, for some—serious amateurs and pros alike—this can be a career changing event.
—Ben Smukler-Paris, Paris 2015
Paris Spring 2015 Workshop
I loved every single minute of the Spring workshop in Paris. Spending seven days (and many nights) with Peter and the group was extraordinary on many levels. We spoke about photography, about connecting with people on the street, and many other subjects. Each day began at Peter’s apartment where we would spend several hours talking about photography and reviewing everyone’s photos. Both aspects were educational and a total pleasure. The critiques were honest and helpful and I learned as much from the critiquing of others’ photos as my own. Over the course of the week, we got to know each other well. We often went for dinner and drinks. There were guest lectures too which, on their own, were fascinating. As Peter said on day one, the week would be a real gift we were each giving to ourselves and that is exactly what it was. I would recommend the workshop very highly to anyone interested in learning about photography and about street photography in particular.
—Howard Bernstein, Paris 2015
Paris Spring 2015 Workshop
As a wedding photographer, I wanted to improve my journalistic skills in framing people and their emotions. I never made street photography before nor did I make pictures from strangers without asking permission. This week with Peter was a thrill and the outcome exceeded my expectations in every way! Not only is Peter warm hearted, very sensitive and caring, which can be felt during the constructive critique sessions, he is also shares his profound experience and his view on life and photography in general. This gave me a new view on my photography. To know, as a photographer, that your confidence is the key and that your heart matters, was and still is simply life changing for me.
I met a lot of people in the streets of Paris through my photography, had a lot of interesting talks and interactions and spent a very relaxing yet challenging, but not competitive, time with the other students from around the world. Peter states, that photography is all about sharing. If you are fond of people, are open minded and willing to approach strangers with an open heart and share your feelings, then this workshop will change the way you make photographs and even more. This workshop was by far the best I have attended. Thank you Peter!
—Daniel Daeppen, Paris 2015
Paris Spring 2015 Workshop
I have always been drawn to street photography and the works of artists such as Cartier-Bresson and Doisneau. But where to begin? As a writer and newly minted food photographer, I had no experience in the genre, and only a few years behind the lens of a camera. What makes a good visual story? How do you approach (or not approach) people? How do you make photos with heart, which will elicit emotion from the viewer?
In my week in Paris I was able to forge the beginnings of a new direction. It is unusual to find a skilled and gifted teacher whose teaching abilities match the skill and artistry of their work, and Peter is one of those people. Daily critiques of student work were invaluable, along with lectures and practical guidance. Of course, the company of a great group of students, the food and vibrant life of Paris, and the bonus of meeting John Morris and Voya Mitrovic were all once-in-a-lifetime experiences. But maybe not just once in a lifetime! I hope to repeat studying with Peter as I work to practice what I learned in one short week
—Sally Pasley Vargas, Paris 2015
Paris Spring 2015 Workshop
If you want a workshop to discuss and explore technical issues and camera equipment then this workshop isn’t for you. But if you want the opportunity to discuss and extend your leaning about technique, composition, the importance of passion in photography and the creation of memorable images with a superlative photographer then this is definitely for you.
Peter Turnley’s extensive and insightful experience is brought to bear in a challenging and exciting week of group learning, story telling, guest lectures and perhaps most importantly, participants making their own unique photographs with the cooperation and participation of the people of Paris. Most participants will operate beyond their comfort zone, which initially can be a daunting experience but by the end of the week becomes second nature.
Peter's passion and zeal is transmitted through stories of his own photojournalistic assignments and experiences. His feedback to participants throughout the week is straightforward, insightful and supportive. You may not believe at the beginning of the week that you can improve but believe me you can and do. The week is also augmented by guest lectures, the quality of which reflect Peter's own standards for the workshop as a whole. For example, being shown round Jean-Pierre Laffont's current exhibition at the European House of Photography by the man himself was both instructive and inspirational; as was the lecture from the famous picture editor John G Morris, who at 98 years of age has been close to most of the major news events of the last century.
I have been on a number of workshops but this one is different because it's not just about the process of 'taking' images', it's about the passion of 'making photographs'. And it's Peter's experience, passion and communication skills that make this happen and draws you in to what for some can be can be a life changing workshop! But what I can guarantee is that you will not think about photography - and being a photographer - in the same way again
—Neil Goodwin, Paris 2015
Paris New Year's 2014 Workshop
Paris at New Year’s—what could be better than that? The answer is: Peter Turnley’s workshop in Paris at New Year's. It was a fabulous week, with good colleagues, excellent instruction, delicious food and plenty of wine. We were warned in advance that we would be doing street photography every day, acknowledging the fact that taking pictures of people up close is often uncomfortable for students. Since I had not done much street photography before, I definitely fit into the "uncomfortable" category. Peter was both supportive and insistent that we move in close…then closer…so that we could see the eyes of our subjects. It was hard for me, but I feel that I had a real breakthrough in my work. Thanks to Peter, I'll never approach street photography (or photography in general) the same way again!
—Kathryn Mohrman, Paris New Year's 2014
Cuba February 2013 Workshop and New York Spring 2012 Workshop
The one-week workshops in New York (Spring 2012) and Cuba (February 2013) proved a superb education. We learned not just to take pictures with our eyes and cameras, but to become mindful and compassionate photographers. These workshops were all I needed to launch myself into more intimate photographic situations, which when approached with Peter's advice in mind, reveal a plethora of visual messages that speak to the heart.
What I learned the most about is the 'humane element' of photography: how to approach people, a situation, and stay with it until it develops naturally under your eyes and offers you emotionally rich moments; how to interact with your chosen subjects in the most effective and respectful way, by looking people in the eyes, approaching everyone with honest warmth and modesty, capturing princes and paupers with equal respect and openness – qualities that make the professional photojournalist that I strive to be. This goes beyond a photography class, it is a lesson for life.
—Florence Gallez, Cuba 2013, and New York 2012
New York Summer 2013 Workshop
Being a landscape photographer, prior to doing the New York City workshop with Peter Turnley, I had never tried street photography. During our fist session, Peter shared how he became a photographer and began making photographs with his brother of the people in Fort Wayne, Indiana. During that first session, he taught me a lesson that has stuck with me since: in order to photograph people successfully you have to approach them with respect, with love, with the desire to listen and learn, and with the confidence that you are a photographer. With the combination of practical knowledge (for example, learning how to frame your subject successfully, paying attention to changing light levels, etc.) and the philosophical aspects of being a successful photographer (for example, actively looking for stories) he imparted on me during the workshop, as well as a greater understanding of the importance of photography in my life, my photography improved tremendously during the week. Although undoubtedly some of the improvement during the week was due to hard work, I credit Peter for having a huge influence on my work during the week and beyond. If you're wondering whether you should do a workshop with Peter or not, the answer is a simple and resounding "Yes!"
—Jacob Buchowski, New York 2013
Paris Fall 2012 Workshop
My wife, Sally, and I recently attended our second workshop with Peter. We had previously travelled to Buenos Aires which was a wonderful photographic experience. We felt that spending a week in Paris with Peter would be extra special, and we were not disappointed. Peter's knowledge of the city was key. We rented an apartment in his Marais District, which was the perfect place. The mornings were structured with meetings in Peter's apartment, and each of us was able to picture exactly what we wanted to accomplish during the remainder of the day. While we would do lots of things as a group, I felt totally at ease exploring Paris on my own. I knew I wanted to make black and white images, and Peter strongly encouraged me to use a constant focal length for the entire week. The result was that my work product improved dramatically, and I am thrilled with what I accomplished. Great photography. New friends. A new appreciation for one of the great cities of the world.
—Mike Harris, Paris 2012
New York Summer 2014 Workshop
Do not take Peter Turnley's New York Workshop unless you want to capture unique moments up close, on the fly, that fill the frame with energy, emotion and light. Learn to overcome your fear of making portraits of strangers that transcend snapshots and zoom lens grabs. Leave New York a better photographer with images and stories that cannot be matched anywhere else and have fun the whole time. All of this happened to me and it can to you if you give yourself this gift. I loved the whole experience.
—Wayne Thornbrough, New York 2014
The Decisive Moment Workshop, Maine 2013
First of all, thanks for a great week. If I'd been alert enough at the time, I would have said that what I wanted most from the workshop was to open me up to my most recently adopted city…rather than vice versa, which is what I probably said. You should probably subtitle the workshop, "the world is your oyster," because that's what it really feels like four days later. Opening the oyster is another matter, but you have given me so many tools for doing so…or more, accurately, reminded me that the tools are simply living with an open, undefensive, undefended heart, and an equally open, untheoretical eye that can see the "untyped graces" (DH Lawrence's phrase) before us…all those good things that the French tried to teach me years ago. You reminded me, too, that this is not a matter of taking photographs but giving photographs, not a matter of furtive glances but a matter of persuasion, in all of its nuances. I grew up hunting and fishing, and photography sometimes felt like trophy hunting. So it feels very good to take the scope off and think of photography as giving life to my subjects, rather than taking or stealing it. Thank you.
— William Bullard, Maine 2013
The Decisive Moment Workshop, Maine 2013
Yesterday was such a great day of shooting, and I have that sort of morning-after glow one gets from such a day, I wanted to thank you, first of all. I also wanted say an additional thank you (additional to the photographic one, that is) for introducing me to those wonderful people. Meeting Joe, the kids from the Congo, the women involving themselves with those great kids, the dancer....all those people have enriched my life beyond any photographic measure. Without yesterday I'd never have met them and I'd have known nothing about that community. These will be treasured memories for me, beyond the one of watching the best of the best at work.
I am loving the class and am fascinated by how Peter works. I was in his morning group – there are 6 in the class and we split between the wonderful TA and Peter, then alternated. I had a wonderful and exciting morning. In the afternoon I was with the TA and it was around the streets of the old part of Portland. The other group had a farmer's market in the morning with her, but it was over in the afternoon. It was a different sort of experience, but a good one.
Even though I could never adopt Peter's style, I can cull a huge amount from how he works. And it is surely an experience to watch the best in the world work. What's not to learn from that?! As one guy said: He is the tip of the spear, and it's a very fine spear.
Peter speaks French, Spanish, a little Italian, Arabic and has been everyplace in the world. He can talk to anyone and find a common point of reference. And does.
So here's how he works. Just one example. We're driving along slowly, scouting in the immigrant section. AHA! He spots two women with a stroller walking along. Stops the car – more or less in the middle of the street – jumps out, walks up to them and starts chatting. Introduces himself. Asks where they are from. Turns out they were from Angola. He asks the woman not with the stroller if she knows how to dance the something-something-zumba and they start dancing all over the sidewalk while he's humming the rhythm and they are laughing their heads off and we're taking pictures (mine nowhere near as good as they should have been.) So then they are chatting like old home week, and in this relaxed kind of situation he is shooting, too. Off we go, he tells us about the differences in the people from different African countries/cultures; and we find two kids playing basketball. He asks where they are from. The Congo. Peter starts to speak with them in French, asking what part of the Congo they are from and how long have they been here, and shooting a few baskets with them. Then we shoot pictures. He is not necessarily after candids. He is totally after an emotional connection. Pictures have to be sharp, have to connect emotionally, and show the 'where' context. He always gets email addresses and sends people pictures. (If only they knew who was taking their picture?)
—Sally Perreten, Maine 2013
Cuba April 2013 Workshop
I would like to thank you for such an amazing opportunity to visit Cuba before it changes. Being a professional photographer for 30 years I also learned so much about how to interact with people on streets, being patient with your subjects and finding the right moment. Not only you are an amazing photographer and teacher but fascinating story teller with love for people. Thank you for opening my eyes and heart!!
—Gulnara Samoilova, Cuba 2013
Cuba February 2013 Workshop
Now that I am home for a few weeks and have had the opportunity to revisit my images and also my new wealth of knowledge I can say that my Havana adventure was my first Cuban visit with Peter. I am already plotting my return to a country that captured my heart.
Peter explained to our merry band of photogs as we eagerly met in Miami of his love affair with a culture so foreign and yet so close to our shores. He said that Havana is a "candy store" for photographers and that the people are warm and welcoming. Every sight that we captured and every person that we met confirmed Peter's love for Cuba.
Peter's enthusiasm is contagious. His photos confirm his love of life and he quickly transferred his confidence to me and my ability to capture. I grew as an artist and I have become more clear of my vision as a photographer.
I am convinced that Peter attracts people with open minds to his workshops. My fellow travel mates were adventurous and always ready to expand their artistic skills.
Bottom line – my friends are commenting "Wow, you've changed!". Mission accomplished, Peter!
—Mary Moeller, Cuba 2013
The Decisive Moment Workshop, Maine 2012
Peter Turnley's workshop was an unforgettable experience. I was amazed at the amount of growth I felt I had in just one week. To have Peter share his wealth of knowledge and experience and to watch him work was invaluable. You will be challenged and grow as a photographer in a very comfortable and non-competitive environment. I highly recommend a workshop with Peter Turney.
—Collin Howell, Maine 2012
The Decisive Moment Workshop, Maine 2012
I took Peter Turnley's Maine Media workshop because I am a longtime street photographer who rarely shoots people. I have a hard time invading someone's private space — where I most want to be — and needed the techniques Peter promised. In his disciplined, focused lectures and critiques he showed us how to get “the story”. It took me a while to understand what “the story” means in a single frame, but I learned watching Peter edit our work. I also learned to anticipate possible shots, how to stay with a situation until the subjects relax and do something interesting, to prefer the dynamic to the static, to speed edit' and…and… and.
The best thing was shooting alongside Peter. His charm, determination, curiosity, and insight made wonderful things happen on the inner city streets of Portland, Maine. A Sudanese refugee, initially hostile, invited us into his home where the extended family was gathered for a party. Some giddy teenagers, just graduated from high school, vamped outrageously for us in their sexy wigs and outfits. Very young mothers, smoking and minding their babies outside a group home, touched my heart and provided poignant portraits. Peter is also terrific company. Actually, the very best thing about the week was getting to know him.
Once home I realized how much I will apply the workshop experience to my own oeuvre. For the first time I feel free to delete all the dud shots and work only with the most dynamic and telling pictures. I have figured out a year of editing that will — I hope — yield a coherent and meaningful portfolio, which is what I most needed to learn.
—Betsey Hansell, Maine 2012
Paris Spring 2012 Workshop
Peter’s Paris workshop was a treat: a week in Paris, just enough instruction and portfolio exposure to whet my appetite and constructive criticism and comment around my resulting photographs.
I regard workshops in the same way as books on management. Read one and when you are done, take away what is relevant. Everything else can be stored away for future reference should you need it.
If I was able to take away one meaningful item from the Streets of Paris, I’d have been happy. As it was, the flow of ideas and guidance provided me with a set of tools that will have a positive impact on my work – now and into the future.
—Paul Perton, Paris 2012
Cuba February 2012 Workshop
Hugh and I had a wonderful time in Cuba. I think traveling with a camera and a purpose is a great way to go. This is especially true in Cuba, where US citizens need a way in. I learned a lot by seeing and doing under Peter's tutelage and came away with an idea of how shooting people is REALLY done. I also became much more comfortable with my equipment, which was no small feat. There was a good balance of work and play… I can see why so many take several trips with Peter. it's an eye opening experience.
—Julie Pincus, Cuba 2012
Cuba February 2012 Workshop
What can I say about my trip with Peter Turnley to Cuba. Amazing? Yes. Spectacular? Of course. I dare to say even life changing. I have been home for almost 3 weeks and am still basking in the glow of Havana. I have traveled to a lot of places, and no other place has gotten under my skin as Cuba did.
I have Peter Turnley to thank for this. I have never taken a street photography class before, let alone go to Cuba. Peter made me see things with a whole different eye. He encourages you to get right in there and really experience it. The trip was planned and worked like a well oiled machine. We had 2 photo assistants from Havana that were just great and so helpful. Every day we would have edit sessions, Peter's 40 years of experience and knowledge brings so much to every class.
After a day or two, my camera became an extension of my arm. We could not wait to wake up every morning and roam the streets of Havana with our camera. Peter taught us everywhere you look is a photograph, but more importantly, every person has a story to tell.
I took 2800 images, so I have 2800 stories to share, without Peters class they would just be just 2800 pictures.
For the first 2 weeks I was home, I dreamt about Cuba every night. I can't wait to go back. I am looking forward to another workshop with Peter. Paris perhaps?
— Andrea Kuhn, Cuba 2012
Cuba January 2012 Workshop
Captivated by Cuba during my first trip there, I returned two months later with Peter Turnley for a week of street photography. Peter's program was professionally run from start to finish; organization and opportunity abounded. The limited number of participants and daily critiques that helped each of us hone our photographic skills, are a major factor in the success of these trips. In addition to preselected venues for group trips, we also had excellent, enthusiastic, well informed local photographer-guides available to individuals or small groups as well as plenty of time for independent shooting on the streets of Havana. Arrangements in this region are often fluid at best, but when changes had to be made, Peter and our guides reacted nimbly and kept us working. It was a satisfying experience – I can't wait to go back!
— Polly Crongeyer, Cuba 2012
Cuba January 2012 Workshop
My week in Havana with Peter Turnley was extraordinary. Unforgettable. Magical. Peter's passion for photography, for the people of Cuba and for capturing and savoring every gifted moment will stay with me forever. The lessons will linger, many of which I am sure have yet to surface. He sees moments before they happen, then he becomes part of the moment. The camera is secondary. And he teaches this by living it before our eyes. A transforming experience. And I will certainly return to Cuba...with Peter.
—Virgil DiBiase, Cuba 2012
Rio de Janeiro Workshop 2012
I highly recommend Peter Turnley’s workshops. I have been a student of Peter during the workshop "Rio-Carnival" in February, 2012.
For me it was an amazing experience and the results have clearly exceeded my expectations. Peter has a wonderful rapport with people of all levels and skills, especially for more ambitious photographers. His ability to connect with his students and his talent at teaching simple concepts, as well as more advanced topics, are both truly supeRior. He has excellent verbal communication skills, is extremely organized, reliable and experienced. Peter accomplishes his tasks with great initiative and with a very positive attitude.
I recommend Peter’s workshops to you without reservation. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
—Markus Lichtenstein, Rio de Janeiro 2012
Istanbul Spring 2011 Workshop
Peter Turnley runs an eye-opening, spiritual boot camp of a workshop. Participants were instantly focused on their goals as Peter demanded, in the softest way, that each student fully engage in their work and in experiencing Istanbul and its’ people over the next seven days. Extensive shooting time, photo reviewing and intense discussions were augmented by exposure to the work of a number of iconic photographers. Personal contact with Peter, the deeply passionate, Jason Eskanazi, and the charmingly flirtatious Turkish legend, Ara Guler, added another layer to the experience. Peter has a reverence for his craft and for the people he photographs that is infectious. I am astounded by the pictures I took during the workshop and would encourage anyone interested in pushing themselves toward a higher plane of photography to experience a Peter Turnley workshop.
—Tracy Farrell, Istanbul 2011
Rio de Janeiro 2011 Workshop
If you want to stretch yourself as a photographer, learn from a true master, and have a unique and thrilling photographic experience, take a workshop with Peter Turnley.
He is inspiring, supportive and generous with his time and knowledge. He strips away some of the technical complexities so that the focus is on making powerful, moving images. Going through the editing process with him is a terrific learning experience in and of itself. I would take any of his workshops in a heartbeat and recommend him unequivocally.
—Janice Stanton, Rio de Janeiro 2011
Paris Spring 2011 Workshop
I believe that any photographer, with an interest in people, will find "The Streets of Paris" workshop with Peter Turnley transformative. I certainly did. The workshop is a total emersion in street photography split between discussion, editing and evaluation, and shooting. And because the Spring light in Paris lasts from 6AM to past 9PM, there is lots of shooting. The workshop focuses on technique and strategy rather than the technical aspects of photography. Peter helps the students individually learn to develop a story in a picture and how to integrate these individual stories into a greater whole. He helps the student find and develop their vision in the context of the Paris experience. There are two driving forces that make this workshop experience so powerful. One is the context of Paris itself- where, it can be argued, street photography was invented. The workshop discussions are held in Peter’s rooftop apartment overlooking the streets of Paris- a warm, informal, yet stimulating environment to discuss and edit your work. The students are introduced to individuals who have shaped photography. In our workshop we met the printer Voya Mitrovic that brought the images of the great photographers- from HCB to Peter Turnley- to substantive reality. We met with a woman whose gallery helped bring the work of these photographers to the public. We met with John Morris in his home- the editor that, from WWII to relatively recently, selected the images that shaped our understanding of the world. And we met with Peter’s friends in a local brasserie- the site where several of his famous Paris photos were made. The other, and most important force, is Peter himself. This warm, supportive individual shares not only his experiences and insights but because of his concern for each individual, helps them develop their vision and recognize their creative seeds. One of Peter’s points is that photography is all about sharing. The workshop is successful because he helps us learn to share a vision by sharing his gifts with us.
Paris Spring 2011 Workshop
Peter’s workshop enriched my photography on several levels. His requirements that we use a single wide angle lens, watch the edges of the frame, move like a "mosquito," look for energy, and look for images with stories were liberating and challenging. His daily selections of my and my workshop peers images taught me a great deal about how to improve the work. His ability to find the unifying thread in our work over the week showed us how to look for what often moves us unconsciously. And hearing Voya Mitrovic, John Morris, Agathe Gaillard, and about Peter’s own career was inspirational. But, most importantly, Peter is a lovely and warm person who connects to his students in ways that reach beyond photography.
—David Elesh, Paris 2011
New York and Paris 2011 Workshops
I have had the rare privilege of attending two Peter Turnley workshops, Paris and New York. Peter really is a citizen of both cities and moves comfortably in both worlds. In one sense, that's no big deal. He speaks excellent French, for example. But more importantly he has deep affinities with, nay-rare insights to these unparalleled environments. On the one hand, he was at Ground Zero hours after the 9/11 attacks. On the other, he has made a 35-year photographic study of kissing in Paris. What range!
There are several essential components to a Peter Turnley workshop: guidance on shooting; face-to-face meetings with major figures in the photographic world; meaningful interaction with colleagues facing the same challenges; encounters with some of the greatest photographic work of the latter 20th century; and frequent review of ongoing work.
Above all, I will cherish the intellectual and personal camaraderie. In Paris, time and time again, the workshop participants all said that the experience was transformational. I have also never met a more capable, insightful and constructive photo editor than Peter. Beyond that, he is a fabulous storyteller. Quite simply, no one has contributed more to my development as a photographer than Peter.
—Donald Wallace, New York and Paris, 2011
Paris Fall 2010 Workshop
Peter Turnley’s street photography course is a game-changing experience. It is a real workshop, with the emphasis on the first syllable. Hard on the eyes, the brain and, especially, the feet. But it is well worth every step and every penny. Working with Peter for a week in a small group (including many one-on-ones, lectures, gallery visits -- and much trekking around alone, shooting) taught me a lot about photographing people. Among other things, the course got me over many of the intimidation factors… encouraged me to see differently through the lens… and helped me to think more creatively about the edges of the frame. The overall experience was materially enhanced by the compatibility and camaraderie of the extraordinary group of supportive and talented students. Bravo, Peter!
—Allan Gardner, Paris 2010
Calcutta Fall 2010 Workshop
As a working pro overwhelmed with the changes in the business of the past few years, I needed something to remind me why I started a career in photography in the first place. Peter's workshop in Calcutta was just what I needed. With his encouragement, I truly feel like I managed to rediscover a part of my photography I had forgotten. As well, witnessing first hand Peter's passion and drive to capture life on the streets of Calcutta was just so inspiring, and managed to rekindle my passion for photography.
—Ian McCausland, Calcutta 2010
Paris Spring 2010 Workshop
Peter Turnley taught me to look through the camera with an open heart and find the poetry. Generously allowing us to observe him working with subjects on the Parisian streets, patiently addressing our concerns and obstacles with this process of photography, and enthusiastically cheering on our successes inspired the confidence necessary for me to begin telling my stories with street photography. His warm rapport and introduction to distinguished members of the photographic community peeled back another layer of Paris and made me Fall in love with the city all over again. If you come with a willingness to enter the contract he proposes, he will bring your photography to an unexpected new level. I would jump to take another workshop with Peter.
— Erin Beth Reidy, Paris 2010
Paris Spring 2010 Workshop
The Streets of Paris workshop with Peter Turnley exceeded my expectations. I learned new technical skills and approaches and produced pictures that surprise me. I met and learned from legendary figures responsible for the stature of street photography in the art world today. And I began warm friendships with interesting fellow students from several continents. Peter's passion for this art form and his personal relationships with its greatest practitioners make him a priceless resource for any seRious admirer of traditional street photography. His sensitive, caring spirit and gifts as a teacher made this a memorable and intense week. He took the time to get to know his students' strengths and goals as photographers, but also as human beings. In the tradition of his friend, the late Robert Doisneau, Peter loves people and encourages students to portray them with dignity and respect. At the same time, he pushes students to kindly interact with strangers as they describe their observations of the human condition in images. And he offers specific instruction as to how to do this. We also had several opportunities to watch Peter shoot and relate to strangers on the street. In sum, this workshop was a challenging , rewarding, often moving experience--a must for the student of street photography's Paris heritage.
— Larry E. Fink Abilene, Paris 2010
Paris Spring 2010 Workshop
Over the years I have had many teachers; Peter Turnley ranks among the best. His approach to visual storytelling really shines in this small group format. His intent is genuine. His passion is palpable. By the end of the week I had a real sense of connection with my story, my images, the world around me and the community to which I belong. Peter has inspired my vision and encouraged my career. A great debt is owed to those who help us see and an even greater to those who help us feel. It’s Monday and I have returned to my day job, but my thoughts are in Paris.
— Eric A. Strauss MD, Paris 2010
Paris Spring 2010 Workshop
It was such a great pleasure to meet you and participate in the Streets of Paris workshop. I learned so much! The time spent with you during the one-on-one edit sessions was especially valuable. Without doubt, my experience in your workshop has added a whole new, exciting dimension to my photography. Another aspect of the workshop that I really enjoyed was our visit to Agathe's gallery, the Toros lab, La Maison Europeene de la Photographie, and visiting with John. You don't generally find such 'cultural' components in a photography workshop, but for me, these experiences just made your workshop that much better.
—Tom Cassen, Paris 2010
Seville Spring 2010 Workshop
Seville...2010... Easter, Semana Santa and Europe s largest cathedral bring thousands to this small beautiful city. April weather is perfect and you can stay outside 24 hours a day. Activity is non stop so your biggest challenge will be picking which processions to follow and maybe finding your way through the cobble stone streets in Old Town.
During Semana Santa I saw a pride in family and a willingness to allow photography that is unusual in some cities. It’s refreshing to see families enjoying traditional values together and sharing to such an extent.
I really enjoyed losing myself in the activity and being surprised by the next great photo opportunity.
Rather than just showing you his images, Peter works to help you understand your work. Each day he goes thru every image you take helping you select the photographs that work. As you begin to build a theme, you create, with his support, a collection of images that you will be proud to show. He brings out your best… what could be more fun than that?
I would encourage anyone considering a workshop to look at the work produced by the participants. What most impressive is to see the amount of improvement possible with the right coach. In my first workshop with Peter, I changed my whole approach to photographing people and my outlook on photography. Now I believe I get it for the first time.
—Roger Dunham, Seville 2010
Istanbul Spring 2010 Workshop
I took the workshop in part because I currently reside in Istanbul and also my appreciation of Peter's work, especially: "America in Black and white" and "The Other California", as they remind me of the book "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men" by James Agee and Walker Evens; from that I know Peter had "got down into it" in a similar manner. I knew I could learn a few thing from him. And I did.
I appreciated the small group size and the varying photographic experience of the attendees, and how easy Peter helped you to fit in. I was motivated to move beyond my limits shooting for extended peRiods each day, even while commuting back and forth. Beyond my expectations Peter managed to bring two acclaimed photojournalists; Andrea Bruce associated with the Washington post and Jason Eskenazi who did the book "Wonderland: A Fairy Tale of the Soviet Monolith" to talk about their photography. The class diners together and viewing each others photos through out lent a collegial atmosphere to our time together.
Finally, I learned from the challenge of culling out of a large volume of Istanbul shots just fifteen photos that fit into a theme expressing the people and surroundings of the city. It is only now a week later when I look at my final gallery that I can fully appreciate Peter's eye for editing as I encounter aspects of each image that hadn't been apparent at first.
If the God's were to shine favorably upon it, as with this one, I would would do another one in some future exotic destination.
—Richard Weathered, Istanbul 2010
Istanbul 2010 and Calcutta 2010 Workshops
A destination workshop with Peter is like parachuting into an unfamiliar culture with your camera and experiencing it from the outside in. Be prepared to skip the museums and most of the touristic sights unless they figure in your photographic work as background--they make more sense anyway after a week of direct interactions with the people and sounds and smells of the life ebbing and flowing before your lens on the streets.
If Istanbul in June was a thrilling and exotic cultural and photographic experience, then participating in the Durga Pooja in October in Kolkata behind the lens of camera was mind-bending , and for me, worldview altering. Peter made sure we were comfortable and confident shooting the unfamiliar, and encouraged our unique visions from the framework of his impressive photojournalistic sensibility. I came away from both workshops amazed by the experiences, my colleagues, and my images.
—Stephen Murphy, Istanbul and Calcutta, 2010
Istanbul 2010 Workshop
As a newcomer to the modern world of photography, I admit to having a few apprehensions before our first workshop meeting. Peter's introductory remarks wiped those apprehensions right off the page! His encouragement and down-to-earth teaching style gave me all the tools I needed to confidently hit the streets of Istanbul and engage with people.
Before arriving in Istanbul, I read books and studied the work of most of the photographers recommended by Peter. That helped and inspired, but not nearly as much as seeing his work and hearing his stories. Peter revealed the heart behind the photos, which in turn touched my heart and gives inspiration to continue digging deeper and to use my camera boldly.
Peter, you are a remarkable photographer, but even more so a remarkable man. Thank you for sharing your time, heart, and talent with all of us. I look forward to attending more workshops in the future.
—Cathy Sweeney, Istanbul 2010
New York Spring 2010 Workshop
I had taken Peter Turnley's The Streets of Paris workshop, so I thought I knew what to expect from his New York Street Photography workshop. I was only partly right. Each city offers unique photographic resources and opportunities. New York's architecture, public spaces, people, pace, and light are different enough to demand different approaches, and Peter knows how to make the most these qualities. With his encouragement, I tried different techniques than I used in Paris, and I'm very happy with the results. I can say without a doubt that I grew significantly as a photographer as a result of this second workshop. As a teacher, Peter shows great respect for his students' individuality and encourages them to stretch and grow as artists. The workshop featured lectures and shared images by Peter and guest artists, visits to galleries and museums, on-the-street shooting--with Peter and alone--and opportunities to socialize with other enthusiastic photographers of varied skill levels and experience. One of the most helpful experiences was watching Peter work a street scene: watching him photograph and relate to, relate to and photograph, strangers. He makes what seemed difficult or even impossible for some students very doable--that is, taking pictures of people they don't know. I think it's safe to say that we all produced strong pictures we would not have attempted before. Overall, an exhilarating and unforgettable week!
—Larry E. Fink Abilene, New York 2010
New York Spring 2010 Workshop
Peter Turnley has the extraordinary ability to transfer his extensive knowledge and his sincere feelings to the members of a street photography group in a manner that makes each one a better photographer and a better person.
—Elaine Kirchen, New York 2010
New York Danish Master Class 2010 Workshop
I had prepared for your workshop, by telling myself to go along with whatever suggestions, you would come up with, to improve working with The image and with people. Having been a professional photographer for nearly 20 years, I also knew where my strong and where my weak spots were. So attending your workshop was indeed a great experience of being constantly reminded of things I might well have known, but as time goes by, I had lost focus on during a slow oxygen fatigue in my creativity. It sharpened my focus to see all your great photos as well as the photos from the old masters and I could suddenly see the track again. It made good sense. The visual examples of narration in stills also gave me meaningful recollections and blew life to my inner storyteller. For me it worked perfectly the way you gave us simple tricks to get a grip of the situation when you approach strangers on the street. I understood the comParison very much with sports. Before your workshop, I’ve only done street photography when I needed the photo for a job situation but now I have fun and a lot of confidence when doing it. So this is why you easily can teach others of your kind, other photographers, a lot. You dig deep into our common memory and remind us what we want as photographers, why we do what we do. Somehow we have to confront ourselves with a few seRious and maybe even personal questions during such an intense week – there were certainly elements of taking a psychology class underneath the photography! Maybe you didn’t intend it that way, but I am sure you also noticed the small struggles we all had in our common quest to find our own personal path leading to narrative pictures. The best thing is that the search never ends and it’s an ongoing and healthy process.
—Heidi Lundsgaard, New York 2010
New York Danish Master Class 2010 Workshop
I attended Peter Turnley's workshop "Streets of New York" in October 2010. It was a very pleasant experience. It was challenging, inspiring, mental therapy and hard work at the same time. Peter is a very benevolent and attentive person, which makes attending even more joyful. I give my warmest recommendations to Peter's workshops, and will encourage everyone to take the challenge.
—Hanne Paludan Kristensen, New York 2010
Istanbul 2009 Workshop
Very simply, Peter and his workshop were outstanding. Clearly, Peter has great talent beyond photography — he is an excellent communicator, well organized and committed to having his students push themselves to grow. His combined use of critiques, visual presentations, local photographers and group photo sessions made for a broad and lively learning experience. He really put his heart and soul into making his workshop meaningful and rewarding for the participants. He is a sensitive and experienced person who through his style of teaching successfully shared with us his vast international and cultural experiences in an informative and educational manner. His knowledge of world history over the last 30 years is remarkable, especially as it relates to conflict.
While I had/have no intention of becoming a "photojournalist", I know I came away from the workshop as a better "photographer." Peter helped me expand the way I see things, as well as helped me broaden my skills in capturing the spirit and emotion of the moment. He is a terrific teacher…
—Wink Willet, Istanbul 2009
Paris Fall 2008 Workshop
During the Paris workshop, Peter Turnley challenged the students to tell a story rather than simply make good photographs. This really caused me to see Parisians differently. Having a world-class photojournalist edit my work was invaluable. His knowledge of the city and its culture, the experts who he arranged to meet with us and the generosity with which he openly shared a career full of amazing adventures made for a very satisfying educational experience through which I produced my very best work ever. And then, of course, there was Paris…
—Paul Kyba, Paris Fall 2008
Paris Fall 2008 Workshop
Peter Turnley's photographic journeys begin as breezy walks through storied streets. As we turn the first corners, the conversation moves deeper, more thoughtful and reflective than we imagined. Turnley isn't pushing anyone; he's challenging everyone. A series of in-depth sessions with outstanding members of the photographic community inject new ideas and a better understanding of their origins. The all important technical details we envisaged dissolve in a realignment of pRiorities more elemental, emotional and, above all, human. There is almost as much philosophy as photography here to absorb and appreciate. Last Fall, we spent ten days with Peter Turnley in Paris and can fairly say we've never felt the same when lifting up our camera and pointing it at the world.
—Jim Clancy, Anchor/Journalist-CNN, Paris Fall 2008
Prague 2007, and Budapest 2007 Workshops
Prague/Budapest... I attended my first workshop with Peter in 2007. The location and weather could not be better for seRious photography. Both cities are at there peaks in October and activity in the Old Town is right at the steps of your hotel. No shortage of great subject matter. The group train ride between the two cities takes you through a country side that’s quite different from the two cities and tends to bring a different perspective on the two countries. I also really enjoyed meeting with some wonderful local photographers and seeing their prints.
—Roger Dunham, Prague and Budapest, 2007
Seville 2010, Paris Fall 2009, New York Spring 2009, Venice 2007, and Paris Fall 2006 Workshops
I have studied with Peter Turnley for several years now, and want to share some of my impressions of his workshops. I had the opportunity to join Turnley in Paris (three times, and I plan to return for a fourth workshop), New York, Venice and Seville. These experiences have transformed and deepened my artistic vision while introducing me to the excitement of street photography.
What makes these courses special? First, spending quality time with one of the most talented photojournalists of our generation. Second, learning that photography is a way to understand the richness and variety of human experience. If you are open to the possibilities, you leave one of Turnley’s workshops a different person, your passion for photography renewed.
Turnley gives each student lavish individual attention, critiquing his or her images by emphasizing what works, and encouraging them to build on their strengths. He offers any necessary technical help, but insists that the technology be subordinate to the art. Workshops are small, well organized, and always include opportunities to meet with interesting local photographers, attend shows, and visit museums.
I have been a seRious photographer for fourteen years, and these workshops top any study I have done.
—Elinor Constable, United States Ambassador (retired)