On Friday, September 5th, 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer and documentary filmmaker, David Turnley, was available for an interview at the Mimi and Ian Rolland Art and Visual Communication Center at the University of Saint Francis. The interview session with the 1973 Elmhurst Graduate was preliminary to two events featuring Turnley’s work this past weekend: Friday, September 5, his award-winning documentary film La Tropical was shown for the first time in Fort Wayne at the Cinema Center and on Saturday, September 6, an exhibition of his photographs titled, “David Turnley: Memories, from Fort Wayne to Afghanistan” opened.
David grew up in Waynedale in the Chief Richardville House on Bluffton Road. His father, William L. Turnley was an orthodontist in Fort Wayne and very active with civil rights movement. David attended both Maplewood Elementary and Elmhurst High School. In fact, when David arrived in Fort Wayne this past week, he drove over to Maplewood Elementary School. “I looked up at the clear blue skies and remembered playing kickball in the school yard,” he said. David also played on the Elmhurst Football team as a linebacker and second string quarterback in 1972-73.
At the age of 17, David began shooting images under the direction of his art teacher. “Mr. Don Goss, my high school art teacher from Elmhurst, is the one who put the inspiration into the beginning of my work as a photographer.” With his twin brother Peter, he began his award-winning photography by documenting life in the inner-city of Fort Wayne. One of his first was a photo of a couple on their porch on McClellan Street in Fort Wayne.
Turnley has since seized many moments. His work has also sent him on to international assignments in South Africa, the Persian Gulf, Eastern Europe, China, the Soviet Union, Afghanistan, and others. He has won: 1990 Pulitzer Prize Feature Photography (awarded for a portfolio of photographs, from the revolutions in Eastern Europe to Tiananmen Square during the freedom riots) and World Press Picture of the Year in 1987 and 1991 (titled-Iraq 1991-on the last day of the Persian Gulf War).
David now lives in New York City in a 10th Street studio and teaches at The New School. “After traveling all over the world,” said 48-year-old Turnley, “I’ve escaped too many near death events and I do not care to return to the war zone.” “I would like to settle down, get married, have a family, and once again work for a newspaper.”
by Don Goss
David Turnley, Pulitzer Prize winner in photojournalism, returns to Fort Wayne with an exhibition of work now showing at the University of St. Francis on Leesburg Road until September 27, 2003. The solo exhibition is called “David Turnley: Memories, from Fort Wayne to Afghanistan “and includes photos from his high school days at Elmhurst High School in 1972 .
He went to the University of Michigan where he took French then took off for Paris to try out his language skills. He loved it and the French loved him as he stayed for 15 years working out of Paris and covering every crisis event including the Berlin Wall coming down, the Desert Storm War, the student uprising in Beijing, China and the recent conflict in Iraq.
David was awarded the honorary doctorate degree for his lifetime of work by The New School of Social Research in 1997 and a second honorary doctorate from the University of St. Francis in 2003. David looks to Fort Wayne as a source of inspiration and support where his roots were planted in a community of diversity and where he can find a recharge of his naturally adventuresome spirit.
David is a freelance photographer now and just finished covering the Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary cycle event in Milwaukee, WI. His high level intensity plus his skills makes his work exceptional. He and his twin brother, Peter Turnley, have published several books which reveal the truth of the event as told by their cameras.
The photos by David Turnley will be showcased at the Mimi and Ian Rolland Art and Visual Communication Center on the University of St. Francis campus located at the first drive North of the railroad tracks on Leesburg Road. The exhibition is free and open to the pubic until September 27, 2003.