Noted critic A. D. Coleman described the work of Pete Turner as having "A dramatist's sense of event, intense and saturated coloration, and a distinct if indescribable otherness are omnipresent in Turner's images".
He graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1956 along with fellow classmates Bruce Davidson and Jerry Uelsmann.
His photographs are in the permanent collections of many major museums, including the MEPin Paris, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and ICP in New York. The George Eastman House in Rochester is the depository of Turner’s life’s work and where his retrospective exhibit, “Pete Turner: Empowered by Color”, opened in 2007.
In 1986, Turner published his first monograph, Pete Turner Photographs (Abrams). His second book, Pete Turner African Journey (Graphis Inc., 2001), documents Turner's many adventures in Africa, beginning with his trek in 1959 from Cape Town to Cairo with Wally Byam's famous Airstream caravan. The Color of Jazz (Rizzoli, 2006) is a comprehensive collection of his provocative album covers for CTI Records among many others.