2 minutes ago
When I was 20 yrs. old, the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) hired me to make a photo documentary on poverty in California. For 4 months, I drove the roads of California, north and south, and east and west. I road trains with "hobos", men that were homeless and lived a nomadic life riding in boxcars throughout the state and country.
Following those 4 months, I showed these photographs to W.Eugene Smith at a dinner hosted by John Morris who had been the photo editor of the New York Times, and who became one of my closest friends. W.Eugene Smith took me aside that night and said, "Peter, you have a good eye and a good heart-no one will ever hold your hand, but you can do this-go out and follow your heart".
Following that meeting I dropped out of college and moved to Paris for most of one year and continued to photograph. I have several chapters of my life in photography that I intend to memorialize with future books and exhibits.
"The Other California, 1975" will be one of these future books. I continue to photograph daily and have an upcoming exhibit in Havana, Cuba, "Paris-Cuba" and will continue presently a long term project on one particular barrio of Cuba, Pogolotti. In our expression, we are only limited by energy, and I feel blessed and grateful to wake up each day, with 2 double espressos-and hit the day, with lots of energy, light, hope, and determination. I've met too many people on my journey through life that didn't have the chance to have the lives they desired. I owe it to them, always, to make the best of my own.
© Peter Turnley, on a train near Bakersfield, California, 1975.