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Joyful scenes of everyday life, atmospheric lighting, touching moments, a kaleidoscope of different people and types – the diversity of visual impressions are nearly overwhelming. In his latest book, the US American photographer chooses bright colours to celebrate the Caribbean island state. He captures typical impressions of the Cuban way of life, without getting lost in common clichés. Peter Turnley’s images capture vibrant life, his portraits are imbued with the empathy he has towards those he portrays. “I believe I may have photographed Cuba more than any one these past four years, and I believe the photographs go beyond the typical stereotypes of Cuba,” the photographer explains. It’s no wonder that he knows the country so well, as he has been there many times since 1988, with no less than 19 visits in the last four years. He took pictures with a number of different cameras, but most recently with a Leica M (Typ 240). He was delighted with its technology and elegance. “The camera is quiet and discrete, and is a perfect fit for photographing daily life in Cuba.”

The renowned photojournalist is a traveller and a storyteller, and has adopted the photographic motifs of Cuba with great passion and affection. Rather like a seismograph, he has been registering the changes over the last few years in particular. “I have a deep love for the people of Cuba. As an international photojournalist, I’ve tried as often as possible to be present wherever history and geo-political change was taking place. Four years ago, my barometer told me that one of the most important places in the world where change was going to take place was in Cuba. The one constant that I’ve always witnessed in Cuba, and that transcends change and politics, has been the incredibly vibrant, joyful, resilient, courageous, and elegant spirit of the Cuban people.” This photo book shows Cuba today, but, in addition, it reflects the photographer’s impression of a hopeful future, because Turnley firmly believes in the progressive opening up of the country, and is convinced that he will continue to follow the process with his camera. Ulrich Rüter

Cuba – A Grace of Spirit is being distributed exclusively via the photographer’s homepage: www.peterturnley.com

141 pages, 140 photographs
29 x 30 cm

Peter Turnley was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA, in 1955. He studied French literature and politics at the University of Michigan, the Sorbonne and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris. He has lived in Paris since 1975, where he was an assistant to Robert Doisneau and established himself as a photojournalist through the Rapho Agency. Over the last decades, Turnley has worked all over the world, documenting a diversity of trouble spots and conflict zones. After French Kiss – A Love Letter to Paris (LFI 8/2013), Cuba – A Grace of Spirit is his second self-published photo books. The photographer is particularly proud of being the first US American photographer honoured with a retrospective at Cuba’s most important museum, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. Titled Momentos de la Condicion Humana, the exhibition of around 130 photographs will be on display as of mid November.
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