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Visa pour Image 2020 / ESJ PRO : The making of a photo, Peter Turnley # 1


Every day, the professional photographers exhibited at Visa pour Image give us the background of their work. How they managed to convince their interlocutors to place themselves in the right place and to trigger their device at the right time. First episode with Peter Turnley.

For his second Visa  exhibition, photojournalist Peter Turnley returns with an exhibit on Covid-19 in the streets of New York City. Thanks to his ability to stage his subjects and the choice of black and white, the Franco-American translates all the emotions of these heroes and victims of the health war. The photographer explains how he met Nora’s gaze.

Peter Turnley: “The applause for essential workers was held every evening at 7 pm in New York. It was amazing. There was an explosion of sound in the whole city, in front of all the doors, the streets. Little by little I would go to a hospital every night because there was something extraordinary. All the nursing staff came out. All the inhabitants of the district came to applaud them. They needed this. At night there was not a minute when the ambulances could not be heard. They were the sirens of death. And so, I used to go around that corner a lot and it turns out that this woman, Nora, was always there. She came every evening. She was noticed very easily but didn’t speak much. She made it clear that she did not want to be photographed. The night I took this photo, I was standing in front of her. She recognized me, I think. She stopped in front of me and looked at me. I ask for permission but she said nothing. I understood that I could. I think that in the eyes of this woman, and the reference of the little American flag, we can see a little of the reality of this unique moment of confusion, of destabilisation of the American life. ”

Jacques Perrot

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