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Matinee: Peter Turnley's 'French Kiss' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

2 March 2019

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 191st in our series of Saturday matinees today: Peter Turnley: French Kiss -- A Love Letter to Paris.

Leica published this four-minute interview with Peter Turnley in 2013 to promote the photographer's 144-page hardcover French Kiss -- A Love Letter to Paris.

It's stood the test of time.

Turnley lives in Paris and in New York City. He balances his photojournalism which takes him everywhere else with his street photography. The book culled his favorite street shots of Paris, which he has been taking since 1978.

He looks his subject in the eye, he says, to honor them.

He and his twin brother David are both photographers. We featured David's Rise Again series about Michigan football in a 2017 matinee, in fact.

Turnley begins by talking about covering wars and coming into contact with "a tremendous amount of human suffering." Paris, on the other hand, reminds him "how beautiful and poetic life can be."

How can you not fall in love with Paris?

He looks his subject in the eye, he says, to honor them. They pick up on that. The connection through nothing more than eye contact is "amazing," he says. In that 30-second to five minutes, love is exchanged.

He introduces his printer Voja Mitrovic, about whom he wrote a profile for The Online Photographer. And we see the prints.

It's Mitrovic's prints that were scanned for the book.

"I love photography," Turnley says, "but at the end of the day I care more about the themes of life that I photograph."

And that's how this master of modern photography makes poetry.


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