Robert Turner has been working professionally with a camera for more than thirty-five years. Before turning to large-format still photography he worked in film. As president of Spectrum Films, Inc. he shot on locations from the high Andes of Peru to the streets of Manhattan.
He and his partners wrote and directed more than sixty non-fiction films. Their productions were honored with forty-six national and international film festival awards.
In my landscape photography I strive to create works of enduring beauty – images that will inform the soul and convey my deep belief in the value of wild places.
In the doing, the struggle is to distill the everywhere-you-look splendor of a place like the Utah Canyonlands, or Yosemite Valley, or the North Coast redwoods into an essence which fits within the confines of a rectangle.
When it works, it is often because I’ve managed to capture a fleeting moment of light, color, motion, or stillness that gives the image a sense of heightened reality. I’m left feeling that I have witnessed something that has transcended the realm of ordinary experience.
When it is the sun shafting through a storm ten miles out over a canyon, then the moment can be grand, the mood one of awe. When the camera isolates a quiet coming together of nearby shapes and textures then the feeling may be one of profound serenity.
There are times when my camera frames a scene that sweeps fifty miles to the horizon without a trace of human life. Those times are rare and thrilling.
More often, I work to frame out the footprint of man on the landscape. I submit that these images are no less capable of uplift. As a species, we have the capacity to respond to the essence of wildness in a place, even if that place is only an island in the larger sea of human commotion.
Why photograph in color? That question comes up surprisingly often in fine art photography circles. Well, to borrow a phrase, “Because it is there”. We experience the world in color. It is a source of great pleasure.
Colors and color combinations stir the emotions and evoke moods just as melodies and harmonies do in music. There are upbeat major key palettes and melancholy minor palettes. Loud and soft hues.
Consonant combinations and dissonant ones. And just as our appreciation for music expands through a lifetime of listening, our receptiveness to color in the natural world grows with reflective observation.