Peter Turnley with Liliany Rodriguez Mola, 29, and her baby, Lia Tenay Diaz Rodriguez, subjects of the photograph behind them on the wall, at the opening last Friday. The picture was taken at the Iglesia Merced in Havana when baby Lia was only 16 days old. Photo by Roger Dunham.
Our friend Peter Turnley is in Cuba for his retrospective exhibit "Momentos de la Condicion Humana" (Moments of the Human Condition) at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana, Cuba's National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana.
I think because I know Peter so well, I enjoy his accomplishments almost as much as if they were my own. He lives the life. Assuming some of you can't easily get to Havana, this stirring video contains all 130 pictures from the exhibit (do try to watch it full screen if you can. Note that it's clearer in full screen if you click on the link and watch it on Vimeo).
I've watched it several times.
I should point out that the show in Havana is not a show of the work from his new book. The book, Cuba: A Grace of Spirit, is an extended portrait of the people of the island nation, taken over many visits over many years. The show at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is a full career retrospective from Peter's many decades as a photojournalist. The show runs until February 15th.
More than 1,000 people from Cuba and all over the world attended the opening last Friday, and Peter told me he was treated "like a Major League ballplayer" (who are among the biggest of celebrities in the Caribbean) during the evening. He said he thought the presentation of the show was exceptional, and called the opening " one of the most important moments of my life."
A note about recent events. At the end of this month we will be offering signed 16x20-inch silver prints of two of Peter Turnley's most popular and peace-affirming photographs of the lyrically beautiful city of Paris (both are seen in the last section of the video). Purchasers of more than one print will receive a free, signed and slipcased copy of Cuba: A Grace of Spirit that Peter can inscribe for you on request. The sale will begin on Monday, November 30th at noon, U.S. Eastern Time.
The choice of the two Paris photographs was made many weeks ago. In light of Peter's close connection to Paris (it has been his home for 37 years), we intend to work out an effective way to donate a portion of the profits to a fund for victims of the recent terrorist attacks. We will have the details worked out by the time the sale starts, and I'll share the specifics of the plan with you then.
The opening of "Moments" must have been really something—I would have loved to be there. I hope you get a chance to watch the video.
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Bob Smith: "Wet eyes at the end of that video. But also warmth and hope in my heart and a feeling that Good is going to win this world in the end. Peter Turnley, PHOTOGRAPHER! Been all around and captured the horror. But always manages to capture the strength, grace and spirit in people. Perfect example as to why the world needs eyes and hearts like his."