One man's love affair with the heart of Africa
Pete Turner's "African Journey" is a visual feast of richly saturated color photographs displaying one man's love affair with an entire continent. Africa's people, landscapes, and wildlife, the vistas and details of its exotic beauty are showcased in the work of this talented artist.
Over 40 years, Turner documented Africa with his quiet, graphic style. The photographs often look more like paintings; many stand alone as stunning colorful masterpieces. A series of captivating portraits of white-faced women standing in front of sherbet-colored walls seems to document tribal makeup, yet turns out to be women wearing morning facial cream. Another series of portraits shows Maasai people with various implements used to stretch their earlobes. (My favorite is the man wearing an empty pineapple can.)
No matter the subject, Turner's eye for color and design distinguishes his work. "Color photography to me is about mood and feeling," he says. "If you can control the colors, you can create the mood."
The play of light on his series of sand dunes resembles Georgia O'Keefe's abstract paintings. Mirages shimmering in the heat and empty stretches of road leading into the distance transport the viewer to a far-off place. Turner's photographs dispense with the visually superfluous, offering simplicity and purity etched in the palette of Africa.
Melanie Stetson Freeman is a Monitor photographer.