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January 25, 2006


pt at large

Dear Bob,
> I really enjoyed the March 24 ?gallery talk? you gave at the Harvard
> Museum of Natural History. I?d seen the exhibit in February and wrote a
> review of it in my blog (next email). By the way, the video interview
> that accompanies the exhibit was really illuminating: gave viewers insight
> into how your life experiences inform your art and craft.
> Many artists fail miserably when it comes time to explain their artistic
> vision, guiding principles, intuition or driving artistic force. Their
> fans, admirers or the curious are hungry for insight but artists are often
> uncomfortable speaking in public, do a lot of hemming and hawing, are
> awkward standing in front of us, which makes us feel uncomfortable, too.
> Or worse, they have an antipathy for the masses. Your lecture was a
> refreshing departure from that. Clearly you?ve got the Right side of your
> Brain going at full throttle when you work but your gallery talk is well
> constructed, focused and Left Brain friendly, sort of an f 64 version of a
> gallery talk. You appeared confident, friendly, and comfortable steering
> the flow of input from the audience so that your talk didn?t veer off into
> the diffuse back and forth of a Starbucks conversation.
> If I remember correctly, you outlined your themes: life experiences inform
> the work, realization of the art from inspiration to execution, how to
> overcome obstacles, the possibilities and limitations of color film and
> digital technology, and how the trained brain makes the pictures. The
> ?walk around? illustrated these themes.
> Of your life experiences, isn?t it amazing how opportunity is often
> disguised as loss? All your paintings stolen from your Land Rover on the
> way back to the states leads to filmmaking and photography.
> Your comments about he way you add a tactile foreground to help create an
> illusion of depth (Storm, Green River?), use diagonals, vignetting, and
> layers of color to represent depth were fascinating. Even better, they
> gave me tools to better articulate my own interpretations of other works
> of art.
> You?ve got some great sound bytes that act as touchstones for your talk.
> ?Squeeze the world into the lens of a camera? and ?How to organize a
> chaotic environment into a rectangular format to make a satisfactory and
> satisfying picture? are two of my favorites.
> When I first looked at your photos, I had a hard time believing you
> weren?t resorting to PhotoShop trickery to invent those colors. Once I
> walked outside I began to not only look, but see, the color around me. And
> appreciate it. And realize how much magic there is in a certain cast of
> light on homely as well as majestic subjects.
> Last but certainly not least, I know you?re making an intensely personal
> political point, your way of saying that we all have, or should have, a
> stake in preserving the wild places from which we?ve all descended.
> Best regards,
> Paul A. Tamburello, Jr.

Robert Turner

Hello Paul,

Thanks, first, for the review in your blog, and second, for taking the time
to send it along to me.

Thanks too for the kind words about the talk. Your summary gets to the
essence of it. I'm especially happy to hear that the political message came

Your question about the use of music when I'm out in the field (which you
heard in the TV interview) was appreciated also. I hadn't remembered to
mention that.

I'm wondering if I could have your permission to post your blog review on my
website. I think it would help people see some things in the images that
they might otherwise miss. I'll include a link to your blog if you would

Judging from all that you have written, you must be every bit as busy now in
your "retirement" as you were during 34 years of teaching.

Thanks again,


Robert Turner ~ Photographs
4475 Gladstone Court
Carlsbad, CA 92010

Jan O'Keefe

Your business card indicates that you are a reporter, but it could easily
say, "writer,"! Very nice prose - almost lyrical. Did you ever write

Thanks for sending (and Turner photo inspiring). Appreciate seeing more
writing, too. Good luck with blog.

David Connor


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