Peter Turnley is a great photographer. I admire his work. I have one his prints hanging in my home.
When I think of photographs of people, I think of posed versus unposed photographs. I prefer unposed photographs. Having said that, either posed or unposed photographs have the potential to reveal something precious and lasting about humanity.
Turnley accomplishes this way more than most photographers, whether or not his subject poses for the camera. That’s what makes his work special.
Ferdy Christant, in a superb piece about Flickr, suggests that people who photograph for the joy of it should focus less on external validation such as likes or faves and more on what brings them joy:
For amateurs and enthusiasts, . . . first and foremost . . . enjoy your hobby. Enjoy photography itself as well as your topics, be they a landscape, a model or a freaky insect. Or even a Snowy Owl. This is your hobby and you should learn to enjoy it even if not a single other human being notices. Start with this. Your joy and self worth should not depend on others.
I’m serious. Look at people having other hobbies. Reading, hiking, tennis, wood crafts, brewing beer, collecting stamps, watching movies or playing Tetris…none of these people spend hours per day seeking validation as to whether their hobby is worthwhile or has meaning. It has meaning because it is your time and you enjoy doing it. None of them determine meaning based on others as if they are monitoring a stock market of self worth.