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Friday, 12 March 2010


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WHAT A FEAST!!! I blew a good hour playing with these images on my monitor. Every one works equally well as a B&W as it does in color. My two favorites are the old guys in the white suits and the shot of the crowd through the blue fence. Mr. Turnley you do fabulous work both as a photographer and a teacher. Thank You!!!!!

I really like the photo that advertised this.


Great portfolio. It is very interesting to see the people in the background. I find the last picture of the street vendor to be my favorite. It tells a very different story. Thank you for sharing these with us.


If any one is interested in a further understanding of Carnival and the Samba schools, I would like to suggest you read Samba by Alma Guillermoprieto. She was the South American bureau chief of Newsweek and spent a year documenting the the samba schools and their preparation for Carnival.

My copy was published by Jonathan Cape. London, 1990.

You will have a much better insight into Peter Turnley's images afterwards.

I love the Internets.
I love T.O.P.

Many thanks for taking the time to put this together and share it with us, Peter.

Best regards,

It would be a sin to shoot the Carnival in B&W. :)

But pretty strange colour here. Faces and bodies look quite normal, but the colours on the costumes seem oversaturated. Sometimes to the point of clipping.

Not too impressed with these photos. An event with this much action and this much color kind of makes it an "f/8 and be there" thing. They are decent photos, but I don't really see anything special here.

Colors seem quite faithful.
Congrats, Peter, on an outstanding set of images. You manage to capture Carnaval participants as real people, rather than sociological curiosities. You obviously got it :-)
Well Done.

mike c (Brazilian)

Photos are captivating. Impressed with the costume color, fabric. thanks for posting these.

These work so well in their larger sizes. If you're using a modern browser, open each picture in its own tab to bring it to life. Yes, Erlik, the colours are a little crazy—it's Carnaval time!

Wonderful work, Pete—thanks, and thanks Mike: that the piece could sit so comfortably here says something about this place.

I love the photographs. As always Peter Turnley is an outstanding photographer. This portfolio is beautiful.

Michelle Zaffino

"Colors seem quite faithful."

Interesting. Especially as these photographs were taken with: D1X, D100, D70, D2X and D3 cameras.

Seems like the old saw is true. It ain't the tool!

"makes it an "f/8 and be there" thing" Hmmm - mostly 2.8 actually.

Thanks Peter. Quite an education.

"Colors seem quite faithful."

Warwick, you're quite right. It ain't the tool.

I don't know if you've been there or not. For someone who's actually been there, the colors seem quite faithful, yes. They are supposed to be saturated, because the costume colors and accessories really are.

Dunno about the cameras used, and really don't care. Peter's photos are true to Rio's Carnaval colors, and compassionate as well.

mike c

To Jim:

"Not too impressed with these photos... this much action and this much color... f/8 and be there... don't really see anything special here"

I am sure you missed the point. Can't blame you though, too much action and too much color can be very overwhelming to some people.

As a Brazilian, I have said, and will say it again, these photos are refreshing in their honesty, accuracy, lack of preachiness ans sensationalism.

As a photography lover, some images speak to me more than others, but the set is very coherent, and makes me want to see more. It _is_ a photo book.

mike c

I really like how Peter gets close to his subjects, using mainly 28mm(-e) lenses.

It's also very nice of Mike to provide a place where Peter can promote his workshops ;-)

"It's also very nice of Mike to provide a place where Peter can promote his workshops ;-)"

Wink acknowledged, but the only thing I can offer Peter in return for his work is the shop window and a few plugs for his workshops. So don't complain--it's a win for everybody: me, Peter, and most TOP readers. The only ones who don't win are the people who hate the portfolio, but then, they can just wait for the next post.


Look at the shot of the samba dancer with the orange feathery outfit. (No. 24) Constrained to shoot through the mesh, Peter chose the moment where the dancer's legs, her outfit, even the white line on the road, all follow the lines of the mesh.

And the shot of the two dancers sitting on the ground relaxing (No. 47). Peter's own shadow is part of the composition; the shot wouldn't work so well without it.

Many of you folks will have noticed this stuff, but I just had to say.

Gotta go back for another look now.

"We're not in Kodachromeville any more, Toto"

Thank you, Peter! 021 and 033 are favourites!

Not a criticism of Peter's photos, but more as a matter of contextual judgment...

Grabbing interesting snaps of performers at such events is like eating falling fruit. Everyone is putting themselves on free display, nobody's fearful of cameras or resentful of snappers, vibrant color is everywhere for the taking. Indeed, as Pete shows here there are some interesting "back-stage" scenes possible. Some of Pete's frames remind me of Bruce Davidson's "Circus" work or even some of Diane Arbus's freak work.

But this is to street photography as zoo photography is to wildlife photography.

Faithful colours?

Okay, you both were there. :) But it still looks unnatural. What I've seen around the web doesn't look as saturated.

wonderful series of decisive moments-which is what captures emotion. Good work as always, Peter, and thanks to Mike for posting this!!

Superb set of images. Really tells it how it us, not just standard carnival images. Love it...

I am a bit disappointed now, not because of the post as is, but because of the small number of comments. I have revisited it 3 times, but its not gaining much momentum. Would it be about a minor M9 firmware update, oh well...

I think this series of pictures gives opportunity for discussion by 2 facts alone: the timespan in which they were created (implying the dedication of the photographer to this subject(s)) and the amount of images with all their consistency. These 2 considerations make a bit more than just happy snaps of performers on the carneval. If this is to street photography what zoo is to wildlife and Kens comment is no critizism, then what shall we believe? It is also a difference if I go to inner city or a huge market or strive the outer districts. So the best street photography would happen in Alaska? Yep, why not.

Dear Ken,

It took me a couple of days to think of the proper response to your comment. What I'm reading you saying is that although you like the photos, you think it's no big deal making such photographs because there are so many photographic opportunities there. Did I read that correctly?

If so, I have to strenuously disagree. Spectacular scenery is not even close to being a guarantee of great photographs. All it does is present you with plenty of opportunities to make them. Just peruse one's neighbors' family photograph albums or a random sampling on Flickr and you'll find that the vast, vast majority of photographs of spectacular places like Yosemite, Yellowstone, Volcano National Park, and so on are ordinary and banal in the extreme. It still takes an extraordinary photographer to produce an extraordinary photograph in an extraordinary situation.

Having photographed in street carnival situations and looked at what my non-professional/non-serious-amateur have done in the same situations, there's no question of the difference. And that's not my ego speaking, they would agree. They make tourist snaps; I make photographs worthy of more than a single glance. But that was supposed to be my job and what I got paid for, so it's not a big surprise.

I think Pete does great work; I don't think you're disagreeing with that. But I don't think the noteworthiness of it is in any way diminished by the fact that he had an abundance of rich POTENTIALLY wonderful photographic compositions to work with.

~ pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

Great photos but I think this essay also shows the benefits that a picture editor brings - it really could have done with a prune.

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