• David Spadavecchia

I love the challenge of capturing a moment in time

There is something about New York City that makes artists and filmmakers want to breathe life into it. By giving it anthropomorphic characteristics, it becomes the hero, villain, or love interest; a supporting character in the protagonist’s story. Don Turner has accepted the challenge of New York City, capturing its pulse and constant motion with momentary glimpses of time.

Turner’s style is engaging and relaxed, which can be hard to achieve in the city that never sleeps. To reach his goal, Turner’s approach is always the same, whether he is photographing the city or its inhabitants. As a New Yorker, he is able to find inspiration even as he immerses himself in everyday city life. The only time he isn’t searching for the perfect shot is when he is spending time with his girlfriend and two daughters.

While Turner captures a wide variety of subjects, including street and urban photography, lifestyle, and portraits, his cityscapes show his true versatility.

Sometimes the city is muted in black and white with a focus on angles and shadows; sometimes it’s enhanced by a stunning sunset, opening the eye to colours often out of place amongst the concrete and skyscrapers. Turner seems to prefer the city when daylight is fading, obstructed, or missing entirely, allowing him to capture the hushed, calm moments often impossible to notice in the endless bustling of the city.

Turner also tells a story through each of his photographs, using different perspectives and unique viewpoints. “I love the challenge of capturing a moment in time, for instance, a long exposure night photo of a city skyline reflecting on the water. One moment it’s there and then a boat or something comes by and the reflection is gone; or capturing a person’s smile or movement that I can freeze that won’t exactly happen again.”

Turner’s portraits have the feel of an intimate voyeur; the subjects know they are being watched, and they apparently enjoy the gaze. “I take great pride in capturing the true spirit and personality of the people and subjects that I photograph,” said Turner, who captures New Yorkers by “engaging in conversation, listening with my ears, using my eyes through my camera and paying close attention to the details.”

In one image, drained of colour and light, a woman is waiting underground, surrounded by the pipes and tiles of the New York subway system. She is seen through a security mirror, drawing attention to her body and facial expression. She appears tense, as if she has been waiting for a long time, perhaps for someone, and her gaze trails outside the image, annoyed at something the viewer cannot see. The image itself provides the viewer with very little information, creating an air of mystery and expectation.

Just as Turner has captured the pulse of New York, his photography projects the visual representation of silence in nature. His image of Paterson Falls displays this faultless calm; despite the raging waterfall, the image vacuums sound, drowning out the cacophonous din into a peaceful respite. There are no people, the trees are motionless, and the clouds are momentarily still.

Turner continues his search for the perfect moment, the perfect image and the perfect subject, to seize each of them in that perfect moment in time.

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