Many years ago, a young man from Fort Wayne, Indiana followed his muse to Paris, and stayed for a quarter of a century. Paris became home base for Peter Turnley's worldwide travels as a top-echelon photojournalist. But even at home, he never stopped working—for three decades, Peter has photographed in the streets, bistros, and bars of his adopted city, along the banks of the Seine, from high windows, wherever he found himself. He photographed rooftop vistas, forgotten details, and, always, the people—friends and strangers, the famous and the unknown—people working, playing, traveling. And, everywhere, lovers—keeping company, flirting, kissing, holding hands, walking together, drinking together, laughing.
A portion of his extensive body of black-and-white work from Paris was published in 2000 in the book Parisians, with forewords by Robert Doisneau and Edouard Boubat. Recently, Peter's been planning a second book from this large body of work.
I'm really hugely pleased to tell you that three of the most famous and most romantic of Peter Turnley's pictures of Paris will comprise TOP's last 2010 Collector Print sale, this coming fall.
The master printer
But that's not even all. Decades ago, when I first learned that Henri Cartier-Bresson didn't print his own photographs, I heard that his prints were made by a master printer living in Paris. When Josef Koudelka began exhibiting and selling prints, the same man was chosen to make the prints. The man was Voja Mitrovic. Apart from being Cartier-Bresson's printer for very close to thirty years and the main printer of Koudelka's work, Voja (the "j" is pronounced like a "y") printed for, among many others, Rene Burri, the Eugene Atget archive, Sebastiao Salgado, Marc Riboud, Edouard Boubat...
...And Peter Turnley. It turns out that Voja is one of Peter's oldest friends in Paris. How they first met is a great story, but I'll let Peter tell that story himself at a later time—in fact, we'll publish a couple of posts about Voja before the print sale starts.
Voja retired in the late 1990s (Peter also has a wonderful picture of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Josef Koudelka begging Voja not to retire, and we'll publish that here too, eventually).
The good news for us is that, as a special favor to Peter, Voja Mitrovic has agreed to make the prints for the TOP fall Collector Print sale.
Peter himself is a living link to the great photographers of the city. He's known or befriended a great many of the most famous names in French 20th-century photography. He started out as an assistant to the lyrical Paris photographer Robert Doisneau; he knew Cartier-Bresson, and was great friends with Edouard Boubat. Although his eye is distinctly his own, his work is very consciously part of the grand tradition of the photography of Paris.
The exact pictures we've chosen won't be revealed until the sale starts, and I'll give you all the details at a later date. The important thing to say here, now, is that the pictures represent the very best of Peter's long photographic love affair with Paris. They'll be archival fiber-based black-and-white silver prints in the standard European collector size, signed on the front by Peter and on the reverse by both Voja and Peter.
And in their own way, they'll be every bit as much of a bargain as our past sales have been—not quite as inexpensive in absolute dollars, but still very significantly less expensive than you could buy them for any other way.
We're currently planning the posts about Voja for mid-August (and you should look forward to those), and the "Peter Turnley's Paris" print sale will start sometime in the middle third of September, and run for the usual five days.
I'll keep you posted, of course.
Send this post to a friend
Note: Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site. More...
Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.