Born and raised in New England, Deborah Turbeville moved to New York at the age of twenty to work for designer Claire McCardell and later became an editor for Harper’s Bazaar and Mademoiselle before turning to photography.
Her editorial work appears regularly in such publications as American, British, French, Italian, and Russian Vogue, L’Uomo Vogue, Zoom, and W. Turbeville’s photographic essays in 2004 have included "Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico" (Casa, July 2004), "Russian Soul” (Harper’s Bazaar, December 2004), "Julia Roberts” (The New York Times Magazine, November 14, 2004), and "Ritual Fashion” (BlackBook, December 2004/January 2005). Monographs of her work include Wallflower (1978), Newport Remembered (1994) and Studio St. Petersburg (1997). Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums, both nationally and internationally.
Turbeville's distinctively evocative style was recognized by the Fashion Group Lifetime Award for Fashion Photography in 1989 and the Alfred Eisenstadt Award for Magazine Photography for the Fashion Single Image and Photo Essay in 1998. In 2002, Turbeville received a Fulbright scholarship for a lecture series in photography at the Baltic School of Photography in St. Petersburg, Russia; this year she will be teaching at Smolney Institut in that city, on behalf of Bard College. She divides her time between New York, Mexico, and Russia.