Dec 6, 2015

David & Peter Turnley: Fort Wayne's famous photographers

Recently, I began taking classes at the local college to help me improve my photography skills. In my first class, we learned about a lot of famous photographers. But I didn't know about the famous twins who came from Fort Wayne, Indiana.  The instructor showed us a picture of an African American lady riding the bus and I loved it. David & Peter Turnley were working on their first photo essay for school and it was 1972-1973, they were 17 years old at the time. They published around 100 photographs and showed us America through those living on McClellan Street. 

My uncle's house in the background 

The photographs eventually made their way into a book called, McClellan Street. This is where the story becomes more personal for my family.  My uncle and his family lived on McClellan Street for many years and they, too, were photographed by Peter & David Turnley.

It's a small world huh?  I didn't find this out until the other day when my cousin and I were having dinner. She invited me over to see the book and I was amazed that two seventeen year old young men had such good eyes for taking pictures. I can just imagine the kind of cameras that they used then.  

Photograph by Steve Linsenmayer\The News Sentinal

I spent a lot of time on McClellan Street visiting with my uncle and his family.  I came over nearly every year to watch the fireworks display on the 4th of July while sitting on the porch. The congested neighborhood gradually turned into a large parking lot.

Peter Turnley with the Smith Family

The Turnleys revisited McClellan Street throughout the years and on a couple occasions have taken pictures with my relatives again. Sadly McClellan Street no longer exists, at least downtown. Parkview Field was built in the same location a few years ago.  Now hundreds of people flock to the same spot to watch sporting events. 

Two brothers from the Midwest had dreams. Big Dreams. They have been all over the world photographing but keep coming back to a small city in Indiana that is called home.