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The color-saturated photos of Pete Turner

Pete Turner, Cannonball, 1970. Archival pigment print.

In this essay, Chuck Patch recounts color photography's commercial origins and history via the career of photographer Pete Turner. Chuck says it's time for a re-evaluation of this artist's works.

"In 1970 I was decidedly a rock-n-roll guy. My idea of jazz was Greg Rolie’s solo break in Santana’s “Treat,” or Ian Anderson bopping out on Bouré. So, when my college girlfriend showed up with a copy of Hubert Laws’ Afro Classic, it was the cover that caught my attention. A shiny gatefold opened to reveal an extreme wide-angle photo of white-washed walls receding into the distance with what appeared to be a cannon ball at the very center of the image. Apparently illuminated by moonlight, the image was so suffused with blue that it seemed to glow on its own. The cannon ball, a shadowless black circle, was like a hole through the picture, ready to suck its surroundings in. The photographer was Pete Turner, whose work had already graced dozens of albums by this time and would go on to provide the distinctive look of the CTI (Creed Taylor Incorporated) jazz label. Pretty soon, I found his work everywhere. "

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