Interview with:
Philip Turner

Philip Turner

Where are you born and when?

Redwood City, CA 1952

Where do you live?

Redwood Shores, CA

When and how do you start your path in photography?

My father introduced me to photography at the young age of 10. I used his twin lens Kodak reflex camera which utilized 620 format film. I tried the more formal route of camera clubs and competitions and was moderately successful with this very formulaic approach. I eventually sought out other photographers who had taken a departure to this cookie-cutter approach. As my father worked in the advertising industry he was always very supportive of pursuing photography as a vocation.

Who were the three photographers that inspired you at the beginning and who are the three ones that inspire you now?
Please add links to the pages where the images are shown.

Duane Michaels: (
Irving Penn: (
Richard Avedon: (

Did you go to a school or are you a self-taught?

My undergraduate degree is from RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester NY) where I majored in Photo Illustration and minored in Photo Science.

Do you make photography as a living?

I was a commercial photographer for approximately 10 years. My home base was a studio in San Francisco from 1980 - 1989. I was represented in San Francisco, LA, NY, and Tokyo (for advertising and stock photography). I left the world of commercial photography in 1990 and began work in the technology sector at that time. Just when the silver based imaging systems I was trained in, were morphing into digital.

What do you like in photography, what is your motivation?

I appreciate many genres and find unexpected gems in the myriad numbers of artists who still work toward a unique vision. I was also a museum curator in the East (New York) before returning to California to begin my career as a commercial photographer. My time in New York gave me an insider’s view of fine art photography and the commercial fashion world which was going at a breakneck speed in New York in the late 1970’s. I found photographers like Irving Penn and Richard Avedon intriguing as they crossed over from the commercial fashion world into more fine art work with their unique photographic perspectives. My aesthetic is heavily influenced by many of the masters of black and white film, whether working with the landscape or in commercial fashion. Yet the work that truly inspires me is the work that transcends the mere physical world and breaks through those boundaries to reveal something much greater. It may be images created by others many times as the source of inspiration.

What do you want to express or arouse in those who watch your images?

I think sense and sensibilities should be triggered in the viewer through an image that is intrinsically more than just what meets the eyes at first glance.

What are your preferred moment(s) in the creation process?

I am finding that increasingly the moments in-between a models posed process, that those in-between moments are the ones I really love capturing. Sometimes I will ask a model to go back into the pose and then come out of it the same way to capture that brief moment of essence.

What are your three most representative images, and why?
Please add links to the pages where the images are shown.

"Seats and Legs” - Essential form and flow: and “Z Power” form in nature representing essential energy: “Birth of The Divine Feminine” - Emerging feminine form as a part of the creation:

What equipment and/or techniques do you use?

It is not a matter of brands/lenses, it is mostly about analog/digital, preferred light (natural/flash), how much post-production, etc.

I use both analog and digital means of imaging. However it has been primarily digital for the last decade. The logistical demands of analog equipment into the wilderness has become increasingly difficult in my later years.

How and why your work as changed since you started?

My work has gone from basic recording of scenes and situations, to the implementation of a framework of ideas that are developed or inspiration for the resulting images.

What do you think about the fact that nowadays photography is mostly enjoyed on the Internet?

True understanding of the history and evolution of image creation is totally lost in mass and social media presentation. Intrinsic value in photographic images is no longer understood in any refined manner and has become a mere circus of attention grabbing and often exploitive way to reach another monetary end. How to look at photographs is not a known quantity at this time.

Why did you decide to join the nudeartzine project?

To hopefully further the aesthetic and appreciation of the human form as inherently beautiful (even when it may appear gross or ugly initially).

Would you have an insight or advice to give to whomever is watching your work and wants to learn photography?

I would say to anyone who wishes to further their image making capability to look at what you respond to in other images and seek to define it in your own. Know that you should seek to become the master of all your materials and processes in analog, and the master of all your software and tools in digital. Shoot a lot! Experience gained is valuable now and down the road.

What are your plans in the future?

Just trying to shoot as much as possible before I leave the planet.

On what page our readers can find more of your work?

Last updated 19/04/2021 08:04:05

Books by Philip Turner

Cover of nudeartzine volume #17}
nudeartzine volume #17

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