Home Up

 

Photographer Pete Turner remembers duty at Army Pictorial Center like this.  (This is an excerpt from "An Interview with Pete Turner" by Chris Maher and Larry Berman, scheduled for the November 2001 issue of Shutterbug Magazine.  To read the complete interview, click here.)

Chris/Larry: After school you had other opportunities. You went into the military after RIT, is that correct?

Pete: It was compulsory. Back then we got drafted and they didnít waste much time. I remember graduating, and soon after getting my notice from the President of the United States. Having a degree, I could have become an officer but I decided to be an enlisted man, a private, because you got out in two years. If you elected to go the other route then you had to keep going to meetings forever and you could get yourself shot at more frequently. I was lucky because I didnít have any wars to fight.

Chris/Larry: We read somewhere that there were some famous people in your Corp in the military.

Pete: In the Army Pictorial Center, yes. There were some celebrity types because they got into pictorial center. I was lucky. I was stationed in Indianapolis as a photographer on the base. One of my assignments was to photograph a General over there next to a sculpture. And he really loved the shot, called me over to his office, and said you should meet this Major Briarley over at the pictorial center in Long Island City. In fact, you should be working over there, not out of here. He picks up the phone and calls his buddy in the Marines and the next thing I know, Iím on a train going to New York. The Army Pictorial Center was unique. We were in the Second Signal Combat Team, which was joint services. That meant we could work with the Marines or the Army. They could use us on an as needed basis. I got to run a type C color lab when it had just got invented. So Iím making all these prints and its part of my on the job training. My assignments would be to take a subway ride into New York, shoot a lot of pictures, come back and print them to keep the mechanism going. Meanwhile Iím building a heck of a portfolio.

Chris/Larry: That sounds like a tremendous opportunity to work in color when color was very expensive and pretty rare really.

Pete: Incredibly rare at agencies. They only got to deal with dye transfers. Here comes a kid who walks into an advertising agency with 120 color prints under his arm. That got some attention.