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Monday, 06 March 2017


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I had the good fortune to go on a photo workshop in Havana with Peter and will attend another one in Santiago, Cuba this April. His book, French Kiss is one of my favorites.

Filed under random excellence! No doubt about the excellence, but Peter has enough of a track record so that I doubt it was random. It's a great photo...

What a nice portrait. Putin is what he is. I would never play poker with him.

An amazing photo. Who'd have thought an image of Vlad could make him seem human?

I can't help but think of George W. Bush's line about Putin:

"I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy."

Gorgeous tones and what a portrait, Peter. I can't believe it didn't get published.

Putin looks like a Russian school boy who's just been told he's failed ethics class, and will have to repeat. I'd be interested in hearing more about the "persistence, luck, and serendipity" that led to getting this image. That sounds like a good story in itself. Any ideas about why Newsweek never used the photo?

[Peter indicated that there wasn't a clear explanation at the time and that he's always assumed it was one of those things that can happen in "the fast-paced life of a weekly news magazine with lots of constantly moving parts." He said he's very proud of his almost two-decade career with NEWSWEEK and is grateful for their long term support of his work. --Mike]

Are these the same eyes that George Bush looked into and found Putin to be very straightforward and trustworthy?

Vlad the impaler!

When shooting models at a group shoot, I simply repeat over and over as nicely as I can: "Please look at me." It works.

Was this photo enhanced in any way, i.e. PP? I ask, not to embarrass myself, but because it is so outstanding, and I, so incapable of producing something like this. I have seen individuals with that much depth in their stare, but never captured so well on film. It makes me think of a photo of Lincoln where he is staring straight into the camera. That photo sticks with me, not so much because it is Lincoln, but for the same reason this photo will stick with me.

Say Cheese!

I find it difficult to "read" this face. Bill

When people fantasize about following their camera around the world to photograph international celebrities and world events I doubt that they also imagine "... a very difficult task which required lots of persistence, luck, and serendipity..." to get just one image like this. And then to have it binned. The disrupted lives, the crappy food, traveling while you're sick, various personal safety and security issues, feeling completely disrespected, the finagling and ass-kissing, and crappy pay...for a good spread or a cover. Every good press shot has such a story behind it.

What a fascinating portrait. There is a tiredness, a world-weariness to this look that transfixes.. perhaps with an aloof empathy? Well done, Peter!

To me it looks as if the whites of the eyes have been lightened just a touch. Was that the case?

Herman: as far as I can find out, French people are more likely to be asked to mention a marmoset - a "ouistiti" - which produces the same sort of stretched-cheek, teeth-bared, vaguely crazed expression that "cheese" would have done.

Speaking about president portraits, I saw this one yesterday; great photo:

Seems to me that the essence of a great portrait, like this, is that it is a reflection of ourselves. We see what we want to see.

It's quite wonderful to read the comments here! Seeing people project on to a portrait various and sundry ideas about Putin is so very interesting.

To me, he just looks like a tired eastern european guy.

It's interesting to see the slant that colors the interpretation of this portrait. It's a striking portrait- no doubt, but people are freely associating whatever they please based on their personal bias of said person. I think the particular look he displays (a rather complex and nuanced one at that) could represent a wide variety of (other) emotions if he were anonymous. Are those eyes really dead and/or calculating, or have they just suffered tremendous loss? Is the overall look one of defiance or indifference, or the aftermath of life changing tragedy?

I noted that it's a scan, and wondered if it was from a film photograph that was perhaps printed by the great Voja Mitrovic... ?

My own portrait of Putin...quick snapshot on a dog sledding trip to Svalbard last year. Not a patch on Mr Turnley's but somehow says quite a lot.
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Both are very similar portraits... healthy looking men with good skin tones and chiseled facial features that make them attractive. It's the eyes, I think, that possess the uniquely communist quality. I was in a former communist country about ten years ago and I felt that it was my expression, in my eyes, that immediately revealed that I was a Westerner to them. My skin, clothes, and language (as I was silent walking around ) did not reveal this. It was Estonia, a relatively poor but rising country, and I was surprised to find myself being followed. I have not had any similar experience in the 15+ foreign countries that I've visited, some poor, but with non-communist cultural backgrounds. There's a great amount of information, in the eyes, in these excellent portraits.

I see a sad and weary face, yet unbeaten. My subjective two bits.

What an excellent portrait. It reveals what Putin was to become famous for in the years to come: a man of his word. No excuses. No quarters given.

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