there is probably no photographer alive with quite as recognizable a photograph as the Afghan Girl by Steve McCurry….maybe just maybe he is rivaled a bit by Dennis Stock’s image of James Dean walking through Times Square…i would have to think about that one, but both images can be seen hanging in the finest art museums as well as faded torn copies hanging just over the bartender’s shoulder all over the world…i wish i had taken pictures of all the places i have seen the Afghan Girl…and the paintings and sketches derived from it…EVERYBODY knows this picture….
originally published by National Geographic Magazine in 1985, Steve’s icon graced the cover …the most famous cover shot of all time….obviously it is the EYES that just kill us….stop us dead in our tracks….and even though i have seen this photograph thousands of times in the last 25 years, i still have to stop and take a look….photographically it is just a simple portrait…..taken straight on in just flat light (in a refugee tent)….there is nothing so remarkable about the picture, until her gaze simply bores a hole into your heart….
i meet many a young entry level photographer for whom Steve McCurry is certainly their favorite photographer….his work is clean, straightforward, features dramatic color , and has a clear journalistic sensibility…Steve says of the Afghan Girl, “not a day has gone by in the last 25 years when someone does not ask me about this picture”….
i asked Steve if his fame for this picture was any kind of artistic burden (in the way “Satisfaction” might be for Mick Jagger)…he said “absolutely not”……enough said….Steve continued ” I love what I am doing and just want to keep doing it”….and for those of us who know Steve , we know that nobody never stops working like Steve never stops working…..all of the photographers i know are pretty much fanatical workaholics, but all of us look lazy compared to Steve…..the guy does not stop….ever!!
i recently photographed Steve in Union Square (below) and he has the same impish chuckle that he has had all of the years i have known him … besides being one of the world’s great photographers, i count Steve as a good friend…long before i moved to New York, Steve allowed me the use of his apartment many times as a crash pad…..and i am sure many of you already know that Steve’s cover shot for the Magnum book on 9/11 of the crumbling Trade Center tower was made from this very rooftop…..
there is no way to imagine where Steve will go next…..but, wherever it is, we can count on something uniquely McCurry…
Steve will be on line from time to time in the next 12 hours to answer your questions….
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN 2002
Steve McCurry Union Square , New York City 12/08
196 thoughts on “Steve McCurry”
I think Steve McCurry has probably inspired more people to want to become photographers than any other photographer (which you alluded to in your piece). He seemed to me to be the epitome of a working documentary photojournalist, and still is of course. And of course primarily shooting for National Geographic gave him the audience to reach so many.
I can remember him talking of his early experiences sneaking into Afghanistan to photograph the Mujahadin fighting the Russians and being awestruck by his courage, and the modest way he talked of his experiences.
Coincidentally I was looking at some early Afghan images of his a week or so back. It prompted me to think how he must get downhearted; that after approximately 20 years of covering Afghanistan it is still in a state of conflict. Especially so considering how much he obviously loves the country.
Steve’s website link is broken.
Thanks for this. It’s a treat.
Photographer’s profiles are a terrific addition to Burn, David. As we saw in “goodbye andy,” you have inside knowledge of some of the greats and here we can be the recipients not only of photos but stories as well.
Your portrait of Steve certainly captures his impishness. Makes me want to know him…
I love the guy. He’s been a huge inspiration.
When I met Steve in LA many years ago I told him I went to India to meet an Indian guru but eventually HE (Steve) became my guru. He got a kick out of that. :))
Thanks for posting about him.
I remember Steve’s images on a WORLDVIEW Magazine cover story, “Kashmiriyat’s Fate” back in 2003, when I was serving as a volunteer. Did Steve serve as Peace Corps volunteer early in his career? And if so, was his decision to pursue photojournalism set in motion already?
My top three photographers are DAH, James Natchway and Steve McCurry, in no particular order. McCurry is just an outstanding photographer.
I smiled when reading the sentence: “I meet many a young entry level photographer for whom Steve McCurry is certainly their favorite photographer”… This is also one of the first photographers I have liked myself… I remember organizing the first “photography” trip with my father to India to specifically stop by Jodpur and shoot in the “blue” city as I had been so inspired by some of the images that Steve took there. Steve’s book “South South East” is probably the first photo book I have purchased. Now, some years have passed, and indeed, as my interest into photography has grown, I have seen my interest drift towards other photographers and actually started to find that Steve’s style prefer the complex composition of an Alex Webb, the colors, the life, the sexuality of your own photographs of the Spanish world…. With Steve I feel like I am watching a movie in CINEMASCOPE, beautiful, perfect setting and colors, but I wish for some more craziness, more suprising elements…. Having said this, he is a great phographer and, as I am focusing these days on portraits for my own boxing say, Steve has clearly some marvelous portraits (maybe the best of all with the Afghan girl) so kudos to him but…. I have been wondering what Steve thinks of his own style and if he has been tempted to change and evolve more. He has done so many portraits after the one of the Afghan girl that you do wonder if he has found himself a bit prisoner of that one photograph… With all of the other great other photographers at Magnum, you guys must have suggested to him to maybe get a bit more loose, less clean and straightforward…. Always difficult I am sure when you are such a successful photographer with A RECOGNIZABLE STYLE to let go of a particular way of shooting AND renew oneself…. maybe he does not need to so. I just wonder how he feels about the sentence “I meet many a young entry level photographer for whom Steve McCurry is certainly their favorite photographer”… I am guessing he would also love being favourite photographer of the more experienced photographers… :):):):)
During a Worldwide Creative meeting in Hawaii, BBDO gave to each employee a copy of the book “Stay this Moment”…my first contact with Steve’s work. I think that from that moment I started to shoot more often and more seriously…that book was a great inspiration for me and the fact that Steve was also there to talk about it….after that…I discovered “CUBA” from David…of course!
Carlos, not to criticize, but I think you are confused… “Stay This Moment”is Sam Abell’s book, not a single McCurry photo in it. However, both are great photographers.
I had the privilege of attending Steve’s weekend workshop last May (2008) in NYC. I was immediately humbled by his ease of personality- he was so easy to talk with, so approachable. I immediately understood how he makes his subjects feel when he is shooting portraits. It’s not coincidence or luck that results in those compelling faces. It’s Steve.
When it was my turn for the one-on-one shooting session, Steve and I spent a good hour together, shooting on the subway and in the streets, and at his studio for a quick lunch during which he showed me some of his newest work from India- I was speechless.
When he reviewed my shots from the weekend, I learned even more from him. He’s a no-BS, unassuming, totally stand-up guy, a real straight shooter who calls things as he sees them, always with respect, kindness, and truth.
Also- I had a total blast and learned a ton of skills that freed me from my pre-conceived notions of how to shoot. It was very liberating and experiencing. The only problem was that it was too short! I hope to join him again for another workshop in the future, as well as with you David!
I don’t think I ever heard a Magnum photographer giving advice to another Magnum photographer on how to change his (her) way of photographing. And I don’t think it will ever happen..
No doubt about it, Steve McCurry is one of the greats. I have admired his work since I first became aware of it (well before the ‘Afghan Girl’). In my case it’s not his portraits that have so impressed me… although they are consistently good… but his skillful, clean, and simple (but bold and dramatic as well) use of color and shadow, architecture and space, and placement of human figures in a landscape in making telling photojournalistic (OK, ‘didactic’) images. The McCurry image that sticks most in my mind is not the ‘Afghan Girl’ by any means, but an older cover of NatGeo that was part of a feature on the Indian Railway system. A swarthy flagman in Indian clothing, with an enormous handlebar mustache and wearing a very bright red turban, is riding on the cowcatcher of a vintage steam locomotive, and the Taj Mahal is in soft out-of-focus in the background. When I first saw that photo, it was a minor epiphany for me, opening up my awarenes of photographic possibilities, especially with color, I had not considered before and made me want to stop being a snapshooter and actually become a photographer.
I agree Sydney! The photograph you refer to is magical. Aloost looks like a painting….
Eric, I recall posting on Road Trips some time ago about how much I loved and admired Steve McCurry’s work. Seems to me DAH encouraged me to look at Alex Webb’s photos, compare his approach to Steve’s, and come back and post my response. What I saw in Alex’s work was a multi-layered approach that surprised my eye and confused my senses. That comparison changed something in me. No longer did I want answers in photographs; all I wanted was questions.
Thanks for reminding me.
Maybe “advice” is not the best choice of word as each photographer has his own voice and I am sure there is, rightly so, enough respect between all of you to let each have his/her particular vision without trying to change or influence each other but still, I would have thought that, at Magnum, the photographers would often “critique” each other work… I would think that critique can be very productive and allow a photographer to take his/her work to the next level or move into a slightly different direction. Clearly, a photographer entering Magnum is already a great photographer so maybe critique is no longer as useful as in the case of a younger photographer who still wants to learn… Is there no one, a trusted friend, collegue or editor you would go to yourself occasionally to seek for a constructive critique???
Sydney…youre complety right…I’m sorry…my experience was with Sam’s work…but I know Steve’s work very well too and admire his work too…but my experience was with Sam Abell. For some reason, this is the second time that I have this confusion,,,maybe Sam and Steve proyect to me the same kind of personalities…calm…very low key…thanks for your comment and again, I apologize.
What is strange for me is, in spite that picture is a symbol -and i like it-, i don’t understand clear of what. For example, the picture Korda takes of Che Guevara remains as flag of the rebel, the revolution. I prefer others pictures of Mc Curry. I would like to know if that portrait is his favorite picture.
Relationships are extremely complex within a group like Magnum. Members’ toes are a very sensitive part of the body, and one has to be carefull in how far he goes in squeezing them, if you don’t want to create havock within the group. And remember: Magnum members HAVE to live together. So you try to keep some things to yourself…
Critique is as useful when you are a ‘great’ photographer as when you’re rookie. Maybe even more so, because you tend to rest on your laurels, and a little wake-up kick for sure is always welcome.
However, the kicks I give myself are the ones I react to most. I always promised myself that the day I stop kicking my own butt it would be time to quit.
It’s one of my favorites too.
Good for you! I remember when you posted on road trips about your plans to take the McCurry workshop. Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience? What he said/what you learned thru his critique for example. I know people who used to run travel workshops with him to India and always hoped to have an opportunity to study or travel with him myself.
You should definitely try to get on board one of his workshops. I learned so much in that brief few days that I don’t know where to begin…
One thing that immediately sticks in my mind is Steve’s close attention to colors. He prefers uncluttered compositions with very limited color palettes. Many of the shots that I brought for the pre-workshop critique were of kids (mine and others in my neighborhood), and were therefore often overloaded with bright colors (T-shirts, toys etc). He suggested that my photos would be much improved if I shot in black and white. I thought this was quite perceptive given that I have color blindness issues…
His workshop staff were also a great help, particularly Seth Butler, who led several sessions and discussions, and was also very supportive during the long day of shooting.
A few amusing anecdotes from that weekend:
1. When Steve and I were on the subway, we saw a tourist taking a photo of his friends. Without missing a beat, Steve came around behind the group, stuck his head in the middle, and gave a big, cheezy smile! It was hilarious- the master of portraits, beaming ear to ear in a tourist snapshot.
2. During the first few hours, I was repeated shot down by everyone I asked to photograph. Later in the day, someone said yes. I was so flabbergasted, I kept explaining what I was doing, why, etc… the subject just looked at me as if to say “I said OK, just shut up and take the darn picture already”.
3. At the very end of the long, long day of shooting, the er, um “older” students (over 35 years old) were essentially collapsed on a bench in Washington Sq. Park in the waning twilight. Seth came over and essentially challenged our masculinity. I stood up on my very sore legs, ambled over to a group of teenagers, and got one of my better shots of the day- a portrait of a French skateboarded wearing funky glasses and a classic hat. Thanks to Seth for pushing me.
4. Other things I learned: how to really pay close attention shapes, backgrounds, light, subject separation, tension, expression etc etc in compositions. Seeing Steve shoot on the street was also rapidly instructive.
I seem to have rambled…
Hernan- I read somewhere that his personal favorite is “Dust Storm”. Here’s a link, but in case it doesn’t work, just google images for his name and that photo name.
Asher, that is one of my personal favorite Steve McCurry photos as well, and I was interested to see that the “dust storm” photo David posted above (which I’ll bet was shot on the same roll or at least the same day) was not that one… but something much more in line with DAH’s personal taste and style.
I had the great privilege to meet Mr. McCurry last summer and was just tremendously impressed and inspired by his stories, his images, and even his demeanor. I was able to make the connection how the way he approached people made such a difference in the way he was able to capture people in his famous portraits.
Still, incredible stuff. Very inspiring man.
(I hope you will visit ‘burn’ and read ours comments and maybe share some own thoughts with us)
Dot the i. There is nothing more to say about your work. You are one of the best, one of this few best photographers on the world. I remember a few discussions about photography when we talked about your work and ours voices was divided. There was some persons who just said what was said many times “best of the best” but there was many voices against. Why? Because some of them prefer more raw images like D’Agata’s of Pellegrin’s. Well, will always be someone dissatisfied, even with perfect, pure, beautiful image there always will be someone dissatisfied. For me your images lives own life. For me it’s hard to say that this is “documentary photography”. It is like with old paintings. We see only images not real life. Your photos have own reality. Timeless. This is hard to take one pictures perfect like that and you made a thousands of it. Hats off.
Hmmmm…. too much sweet honey flowing from my mouth…. but wht can I do?
I have one question if you will visit us.
Now you are working on digital camera. Your newest pictures are more monochromatic than your old pictures. Is this your new way? New path? Time for changes? Less color?
It’s look very good for me. New voice, very interesting. I wish to see more.
All the best
sorry for english
“So you try to keep some things to yourself…”
I have impression you like share with your thoughts and it’s hard for you to keep this “some things” to yourself. Am I right?
And how sensitive you are? May I ask?
The kicks from yourself are not as strong as from other mambers, Isn’t it? :)
Nice to hear you here.
Speaking of ubiquitous appearance of Afghan Girl, I have a very recent snapshot of that (sorry, it’s just a cameraphone picture), taken just outside of Grand Bazaar in Istanbul this January – http://flickr.com/photos/mbravo/3163451576/ ; I just couldn’t pass it by because it was oh so obvious illustration of how great photography becomes represented in the big wide world.
I am so happy to see this post about Steve McCurry. His Book “Portraits” was the very first photography book to sit on my shelf and it is the one I treasure the most. David, why did you not mention that even you are featured in this book?
I am mostly drawn to Steve’s portraits because of their intensity and how he always manages to give the subject dignity and pride, which I think is very hard to do with someone just looking at the camera. Having just returned from India myself, of course inspired by his work from there, I must say that he makes photographing in India look simple. Shedding layer upon layer of complexity and chaos and just getting to the humanity of it, and I think this is why his photographs have transcended borders and cultures….everyone can relate to humanity and dignity.
I am so happy to see this post about Steve McCurry. His Book “Portraits” was the very first photography book to sit on my shelf and it is the one I treasure the most. David, why did you not mention that even you are featured in this book?
I am mostly drawn to Steve’s portraits because of their intensity and how he always manages to give the subject dignity and pride, which I think is very hard to do with someone just looking at the camera. Having just returned from India myself, of course inspired by his work from there, I must say that he makes photographing in India look simple. Shedding layer upon layer of complexity and chaos and just getting to the humanity of it, and I think this is why his photographs have transcended borders and cultures….everyone can relate to humanity and dignity.
A few years ago, I got into an arduous and frustrating argument with some European photographers. The topic: Steve McCurry. One photographer from france had told me that ‘you american photographers only understand sentimentality and the obvious.’ Well, you can imagine how that came across with me ;)). Anyway, after 3 weeks of emails, one of the German photographers said: “look at McCurry’s colors as an example of an American using color.” This, maybe, got my dandruff even more, because McCurry had been one of the first NG photographers who showed me (as a painter) the brilliance and surreal heart of color: quite the opposite of sentimentality. I pointed to the german photog, ‘red boy’ (india), Herat (red city, afghanistan) and one of my all time favorite McCurry’s photographs “Golden Rock”. In fact, i used Golden Rock as an example of the philosophical eye that Steve ass which transcends his luminous and famous portraits, which underlie his most compelling work. This work as always reminded me of Sisyphus and is for me on of the Iconic images of photography: but it is there in all his work…the scale of our lives against the wider size of the world and landscape….if not for that, what is color used for?…not for sentiment, but for expression of our bodily lives….even with out Afghan girl, this photograph for me would have been worth a lifetime of photographs…but McCurry’s portfolio is filled with many such strange, and sublime images…if his work is misunderstood, it is probably because his portraiture is so strong and iconic…but good deeply…over the spectrum of his work and not just the extraordinary body of work from India or Afghanistan…it’s there, the unusual, the unknown, the tempered, the fleeing…the pic above Kabul 2002 is just such an example…from out of the shadows, comes this begging woman’s dead child…
here is the golden rock:
and then, a few years ago, i had th opportunity to watch on NG Television the story of Steve returning to Afghanistan to find the Afghan girl…a heart breaking story really, and my father and i both, together, sat awestruck…for everything that has happened to Afghanistan, all that has been rained upon those dusty shoulders and stiff bones is there in that story…how afghanistan, obdurate and proud, has wearied and yet not given up, though it has given up so many of it’s children to death, most often at the expense and hunger of outsiders….and when they find the young girl whose grown into a woman, we see on her face all that afghanistan has endured…to understand and appreciate the Afghan Girl it is also necessary to see her anew….and to reckon with what has been done to that august land and nation….
thank you david for sharing your thoughts with us and steve’s work….
I look forward to seeing more Profiles….Maybe Vink should be next…it would be great :)))
i do have a picture in Stay This Moment…which one???
i will ask Steve…or maybe i can get him to answer you himself…
laughing!! yes, i forgot there is a portrait of me in Steve’s little portrait book…ok, now i will send one of my too many camera bags to the first person here on BURN to link to the Steve McCurry portrait of me….i am guessing either Bob or Sidney will do it , but let’s wait and see….
by the way, it is about time YOU showed up here!!!
cheers, hugs, david
It’s “Ahgan Girl” vs “Che Guevara” in the 15 round super heavyweight title bout…..
that’s the photo i think u wanted…
so happy to see this profile…left a comment this morning, which needs to be unlocked…it’s waiting moderation ’cause i provided links to Steve’s work….there was also a typo, which i need to correct, which i’ll do once u post the comment ;)))…typing without tea in the morning is dangerous….
TYPO MISTAKE ;))))….morning sleep: the line above should read:
“an example of the philosophical eye that Steve HAS which transcends his luminous and famous portraits,”…not ‘ass’…sorry, old man black at the keyboard ;))
Dissapointing feature. I kind of feel that if burn is going to feature “Big Name” photographers, then why not offer us some genuine insight instead of 3 photographs and a few scraps of information?
what about an in depth interview?
some details of the photographers professional practise? how do they interact with subjects, edit their work, pitch their projects, that kind of stuff…
why not let a burn contributor interview them?
my 2 cents…
stumped…i looked at Steve’s Portrait book this morning at Magnum…couldnt find your mug…i guess the bag will go to Sidney ;))
i imagine that’s on the way too…given the past when both William Allard and Jim Nachtwey were interviewed and had a discussion/conversation with readers (LIVE) in the past at Road Trips, i dont doubt for a moment that that too is on the stove, cooking….
ohh….isn’t that the famed emperor Fu Manchu? ;)))
Photographer’s dilemma-How to make the most famous photo.
you win!!! Bob is losing his touch!!! please send me your address and i will send you one of my “only been around the world twice” camera bags…do you prefer normal camera bag or messenger style??? or backpack???
Getting everything that needs to be said[and asked] in a straight on head and shoulders portrait is dammned hard. This guy does it very very well, and technically he is also just about flawless. One of the best workers in color there is, in my opinion.
I think i get where ben is coming from regards buisness practice etc.., but I for one do not care about the hows, whys and whens, I like to enjoy the work of a master crafstmen, and these are just a small selection from one.
David, I got all excited, I thought you were still asking what photograph you took that is in “Stay This Moment”….I think I know that one…
The image at the opening of Sam’s work at the ICP, of Sam and his father and a small crowd…
I remember it because I wondered if, at the time you took it, you thought it to be a photograph (capturing that great moment of Sam and his father) or a snapshot of a very significant event, as a keepsake for a friend…we had been discussing photographs vs. snapshots on Roadtrips at the time I noticed it..
Especially considering what Sam writes about it…
“I suppose everyone has a moment in their lives they wish could ‘stay’. This would be mine. I’m with my dad at an opening of my work at the International Center of Photography in Manhattan. My dad is the guest of honor. I’ve asked him to stand. The applause makes him emotional and to keep from crying myself I grip his shoulder, smile and look down. We are a long way from our tiny darkroom in Sylvania, Ohio.
The title “Stay This Moment” is drawn from a diary entry of Virginia Woolf written on New Year’s eve 1932. She writes “If one does not lie back and sum up and say to the moment, this very moment, stay you are so fair, what will be one’s gain, dying? No: stay this moment. No one ever says that enough.”
But photographers say it when they make a heartfelt photograph, as this one by my friend David Alan Harvey proves.”
Sure you don’t want to change the contest? I like camera bags I think as much as you do, David!
good light on this great day, to all,
I answer this one below – is this one for the bag contest??
or perhaps that one was too easy…but no one replied….
ha ha! hope your bag can take me around the world too. David you don’t know how happy you make me!!! i don’t think Bob is losing his touch (i don’t think he can, ever), it was just that Mr McCurry being one my gurus of photography (whom i hope to meet at least once in my life) and that since i have seen and shall continue to see his ‘portraits’ and other photos countless times, it must have been that there was some divine intervention by which i found myself at the right place at the right time! lucky me! it proves that if there is a will, there’s a way :)
this is my address: Subhrajit Basu
12/1D, Chaitan Sen Lane, Bowbazar
Calcutta 700012, West Bengal, India
by the way, since you have given the choice, i would prefer a camera backpack, preferably which can also carry a notebook, otherwise anything else you have mentioned will do. BUT my SPECIAL REQUEST is that kindly put your signature with permanent ink pen somewhere in the bag, because the value of this gift to me cannot be measured and i will cherish it forever.
cheers and many thanks…and a BIG HUG :)
Actually, it’s in The Photographic Life….the opening is for “Stay This Moment”…so perhaps I am all confused…
what i have done in the past is to have the photographer i featured answer questions from you…this is always the whole point of my features…
you do the interview….
so ask away my friend…my apologies for not mentioning this sooner…..
Steve is ready to respond….
do it now!!
Questions to Mr McCurry:
1. What do you think are the most important elements of a portrait which qualify it to be a good one?
2. Generally, what is/are the foremost things/thoughts on your mind when you decide to make a frame?
If you can find a copy of Steve’s “Monsoon,” one of his early books that generated many of his most famous pictures, do yourself a favor and grab it. It’s a slim volume. Priceless in it, though, is Steve’s journal of his sixth months in Africa, South- and Southeast Asia, following the monsoon — surviving a hard aircraft landing in Africa, dealing with foot rot in India, falling out the back of a truck and waking up in a filthy hospital. He is a great writer, but his prose is hard to find. He should write more.
Steve… Do you feel challenged when taking portraits? Or is it something that has become so natural, it is just part of your being? ** Red, white and Blue today!!! YAHOO!! **
Hey wait…I already answered this same question on road trips and never got a bag!
I jumped in when you made the offer to someone else, thought it was open to all
I’ll answer it again right now
BEIJING, CHINA 1989
but how to link to it???
I’m working on it but hopefully I still won! :))
Oops, I answered above , the reply button under David. Didn’t see the additional dialog.
Well, in any case I was the first to answer correctly (36th portrait in the book) last time you asked this same question with the bag offer on road trip, perhaps six months to a year ago but never got the bag…BEIJING, CHINA 1989.
Question for Steve:
What do you want to say with your photography?
I have heard that you often walk for long periods of time without ever lifting the camera to your face. What inspires you to take THE shot?
really??? so so sorry…i do not even remember this coming up before at all!!…please send me your address AGAIN please…and you usually stay on my case, so stay on it now …you will get your bag….yes yes now i am sort of remembering this…hmmmmm, my apology…..
No worries. The way it all went down the first time was a bit confusing so I never sent the address before but will be happy to send it now.
Will email it to you.
STEVE: What advice do you give emerging photojournalist/photographers in creating strong personal projects/portfolios that will stand out in this ever evolving, demanding, competitive world of photojournalism?
I know Harvey says to look in the mirror, work close to home if necessary, and always shoot.shoot.shoot!
Also what is next for Steve McCurry? Books, projects, visions, …personal projects!? Where would you like to see yourself next, with so much already under your belt? I can only imagine it gets more difficult!
Is there a story behind your published portrait of Harvey (linked above), I would suspect it’s a good one!
Thanks for your time, and all the images you have shared with us over the years..and those to come!
“Stay This Moment” is a wonderful book and I’ve always admired Sam Abell’s photography. We’ve been friends and colleagues for more than 25 years. Sam’s subsequent books are equally strong and poetic.
I have visited Afghanistan more than thirty times and I must agree with Ross’s post that the situation there is indeed troubling and heading in the wrong direction. Let’s hope that the new president brings some new creative ideas to try and solve this ongoing situation. Of course at the end of the day the Afghans have to take a lot of responsibility for the corruption, opium trafficking and tribal infighting.
I never joined the Peace Corps but many of my friends did and in my travels many peace corps volunteers showed me wonderful hospitality in places like Mali, Niger, Nepal and Central America.
I have just checked my website and believe that it is working. Please let me know if you have any questions about it. Many Thanks.
Thank you so much for graciously agreeing to spend some time answering questions. I’m running out the door to teach, so this will be quick. I’ll check back tomorrow to read your reply. As I wrote above, my father and I were greatly moved by the NG story of your return to Afghanistan to ‘find’ the ‘Afghan Girl’ after all those years. Can you speak about that experience to us and what it was like to meet her and photograph her again after all those years. Lastly, how has it been ‘living in the shadow’ of your iconic photograph which is universally recognized. Does it ever frustrate to have one photograph so universally known and revered and do you find yourself ‘thinking about it’ when shooting other portraits.
thanks for taking the time to join us here.
all the best
I’m always a little reluctant to give advice to photographers because there are so many different ways to go about achieving ones goals. But having said that, a couple thoughts
1. It’s always fun to look at photography books and be familiar with some of the great photography that has gone on before.
2. Dave Harvey’s advice about “shoot shoot shoot” is exactly right. If you want to be a writer you have to write, if you want to be a photographer you have to photograph. You can work close to home or travel far. For me I’ve always preferred to travel and see as much of the world as possible before I check out.
3. Persistence, fortitude. As Dave so aptly put it, “This is a marathon,” a career lasts 30-50 years or more, so be prepared and find something to photograph that you are passionate about.
I’ve never ever felt as though I was “living in the shadow” of the Afghan Girl. I’ve always felt honored and privileged to have met and photographed her. The photograph in some small way helped all Afghan refugees throughout the last 25 years. Back in the 1980s I met volunteers in refugee camps who had been inspired by that picture to come to Pakistan and help with the refugee situation. The best part of the story of finding her was that we, National Geographic was able to help and compensate her for all the times her photograph was published in the magazine, and the Afghan Girl’s fund which was created in her name raised almost a million dollars to educate Afghan girls.
I do often walk for long periods of time without photographing. I think one of the most enjoyable things in life is to simply wander around and observe everything around you. Sometimes it takes a while to get into that zone where you start seeing pictures and things start to come alive visually. You can walk down the same street a hundred times and not see anything, but other times things emerge that can take on a new meaning.
I think there are a lot of different things you can say with your photography, sometimes I’m inspired by an interesting face that seems to tell a profound story, sometimes its human interaction on the street that has an emotional component that seems to speak to the human condition. Other times it could be a crack in the sidewalk or some interesting juxtaposition.
Traveling to places like Tibet, Burma, India and Afghanistan I’m always struck by the common humanity we share.
I’m not sure if “challenged” is the right word, maybe its more like being moved or compelled to make a portrait of somebody I meet on the street.
I was in Japan and other parts of Asia during the election and the enthusiasm around the world for B. Obama has been unbelievable. The last eight years have been a disaster in so many different ways.
I think the best portraits are the ones that reveal something about the individual that you are photographing. Sometimes portraits can speak to some universal humanity.
I’ve always loved monochromatic pictures or pictures with very little color. In fact, I think the most successful color photographs are the ones that have maybe just a couple principle colors. Of course every situation is different. I try not to over think this color thing.
I am working with digital cameras now, I’m just curious which pictures are you referring to that seem more monochromatic than my old pictures?
Many thanks for passing along that snapshot from Istanbul.
I don’t really have a favorite picture of mine, I like different pictures for different reasons.
Congratulations on this wonderful online magazine. Its wonderful to have this online discussion with all sorts of people from around the world. I’m glad to be a part of it.
I’m glad you enjoyed our workshop in New York. I’ve just decided to do a workshop in Burma in 2010. Burma is one of my favorite parts of the world .The people are so hospitable and friendly and i love the Buddhist culture there. Would love to have you attend!
I spent a bit of time with Steve travelling in Tibet, Afghanistan and also in New York and I think that Dave hit the nail on the head with his description about Steve’s work ethos. Steve taught me one thing that separates an average photographer from a good photographer – don’t stop going out and getting the shot.
He also has a great sense of humour!
maybe you already know this, and i believe i put the link here (in road trip) before, but with ‘loads’ of new people around i think is a good idea to do it again. you can see Steve McCurry in ‘Arts & Minds’, in a seven minutes video, where you can follow him in Lisbon (june 2002), where he showed his work “Sanctuary: The Temples of Angkor”, along with “Cuba” from our host David Alan Harvey, and you can see an interview with Steve, watch him work and hear several testimonials (one from David) about his photography and persona, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fg0wmhYh3-o
Sorry for being absent from comments, links and ‘correspondent work’ but i didn’t lose contact. personal obligations kept me away but now i’m back. congratulations for this new format (burn), and looking forward to upcoming essays, dialogue and comments and… whatever you come up with next.
um forte abraço para todos,carlos filipe
Thanks for your post about Dave Harvey’s thoughts, interview, and a few of my pictures.
I’m sure that Burn will grow and improve as time goes on.
I never really thought of myself as a “big name” photographer, some names that come to mind are Henri Cartier Bresson, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Andre Kertesz, etc.
I’d be more than happy to share details of how I work and pitch projects, etc. Perhaps you’d like to join one of my workshops, we’re doing a great workshop in Burma in 2010. Would love to have you along.
Read this article http://www.hasselblad.co.uk/showcase/steve-mccurry.aspx about you. In it it says that you’re shooting a major project in B&W. When will we be able to see something from that piece? I’m mostly familiar with your colour work. Also, how long have you been using medium format and when/why instead of 35mm?
One of the most productive trips I’ve made to Afghanistan was with you. A couple of the pictures we made together on the trip ended up in the magazine as you well know. I’m actually planning a Burma workshop next year in February 2010. Let’s talk about this when I see you in London, March 1st or 2nd. One of my favorite recollections of our trip was when our driver, against your advice, decided to plow through the mud, got stuck, and you took control of the whole situation, got the villagers involved in getting us out. We made some wonderful pictures while we were stuck then when it became clear that we may be there for the night, you organized alternate transportation by flagging down some passing vehicle.
We were photographing on the street in Kabul often after dark when most foreigner workers in Afghanistan wouldn’t venture beyond the security of their compound. Bravo Chris!
P.S. There was a previous entry earlier today about giving advice to fellow Magnum photographers. I must admit that I did give Dave Harvey some advice once to not go to India as there were no pictures there. I’m afraid that rascal though didn’t take my advice.
I couldn’t agree with you more about not resting on our laurels (I’m afraid my laurel is rather thin). Regarding giving fellow Magnum photographers advice, I do recall telling Dave Harvey not to bother going to India as it wasn’t a very visual country and that Raghu Rai and Raghubir Singh had stripped it bare. He of course didn’t take my advice.
I do not know if you are still with us and checking the questions but I just went through all your answers and it is a real priviledge to have you with us… I am just curious to know what contemporary photographers inspire you…
Thanks for being with us again.
** Wow!! The power of photography! Never knew a fund was created, inspired by your photo…. What a gift… Bravo! ** How did she feel about the photo? Was she honored with your photograph? Indifferent? proud? embarrassed? **
as you may see by now, you might have jumped to conclusions….i even sent you a private email to let you know that whenever i do a profile, i have the photographer chat with the readership here…too bad you were not around to ask a question of Steve…he was kind enough to answer all questions… stitch them all together and you have the in-depth interview you asked for….i must say one of my frustrations in life is exactly that…people jump to conclusions before really surveying the whole scene…and some photogs always always miss photographs for the same reason…no patience!! anyway , no worries…i will next profile Trent Parke at some point soon…you might want to stick around next time….
i will continue to profile iconic photographers throughout the year…Steve just happens to be in Magnum , but i plan to cast a wider net….both in terms of being inter-agency and also venturing outside of the traditional world of photojournalism as we did here with Steve…
many thanks Steve for joining us at BURN…i know you are busy and we all appreciate you spending this time with us…
I will start working on my wife’s approval for a workshop in Burma!
David and Steve.
That was GREAT. It was an honor to have Steve drop in here.
Deepest thanks to you both.
David, I’m not Ben but just need to say that many of us were not at our computers on this Inauguration Day. I’m sorry to have missed the time with Steve but would not have missed a minute of seeing all I could see of this historic day in Washington, DC. It was truly awe-inspiring.
** This kind of workshop fits my budget!!! Thank you for sharing your world with us David… Your generosity of spirit and of your time is a treasure.. What a powerful network you have created, an inspiration to all!! **
… And of course, thanks to Steve for his insights and imagery.. **
Thanks a lot Mr McCurry for the insight.
Thanks,.. what a session I’m sorry I missed it. Good stuff here David.
Steve they love you in Venezuela too!! …somewhere between Maracaibo and Barinas
Thank you for the answer.
I should wrote ‘less saturated’ than monochromatic, my mistake. You have many old monochromastic strong saturated pictures.
Definitely many of your old works are ‘less saturated’ also, it depends on the situation of course, but mostly you have very strong color and when I see your last pictures from burma I think that this less saturated color is your purpose. Am I right?
I don’t know how important the color is for you but for recipients this is a very special part of your works, and especially for me. I know at prints the diferents are not as strong as on the screen, but anyway I see quite big change of way of thinking about image at your last pictures. Is this for short time or this is a new look for you?
Like I said last time, this is very interesting to see your new pictures. I really like your last pictures.
i was out catching up with david bowen and joe in london. thanks for your email that i received this morning. i don’t have much more to add but have enjoyed reading the discussions.
thanks so much for taking the time to answer my question and chat with us. I’ve just finished reading all our replies. Unfortunately, just as I typed my questioned, i had to dash off to teach. anyway, thanks so much for that information. It’s so remarkable and inspiring that the photograph and your dedication was able to do so much for her and for the women of Afghanistan. In our lives, that’s all we can hope to accomplish: to help and share with others our own lives and whatever wealth (i dont mean just material) our lives might generate. That is just terrific and I applaud you. What a great result, especially for a nation and a cause that has been so batter over the course of it’s life, particularly the last 30 years.
Thanks again and all the best for continued success and for work that inspires all of us.
that sounds like fun hanging with Joe and David Bowen….i have not met either man in person, but plan to do so….i will try to tip everyone off a bit more in advance of certain features…this is difficult, as you may imagine, with photographers who tend to not stay in one place very long and getting them to focus on any one thing (like an online interview) is no small task…i am sure you can appreciate this …will you see Joe and David again?? if so, send my warmest regards….
yes, i know…i was watching too!!! AND trying to keep Steve on the line!! this was unfortunately the only time i could snag Steve….at home and available to send his work and have some time to write the readers here….but, i think he will pop in from time to time….if you have a very specific question for Steve i will call him and ask for you if that works….????
i share your enthusiasm for a great day yesterday…for all of the apologies i have had to make for our country in recent years, yesterday was not one of them…we actually DO have something going here after all!!!!
cheers, hugs, david
I believe I put the link somewhere (in Road Trip) before, but with ‘loads’ of new people around I think it’s a good idea to do it again. Watch Steve McCurry in ‘Arts & Minds’, seven minutes where you can follow him in Lisbon (June 2002), when he showed ‘Sanctuary: The Temples of Angkor’, along with ‘Cuba’ from David Alan Harvey. There’s an interview with Steve and testimonials (David is one of them) about his work and persona, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fg0wmhYh3-o
Thanks and… um forte abraço (big hug),
when are you coming to New York?? as you know, my door is open….
Thanks for the answer.
I should wrote ‘less saturated’ not monochromatic, my mistake.
I was thinking about your new works from Burma.
I know you have many old pictures less saturated it’s depends from situation, but I have impression that your new digital pictures are less satureted by purpose. That’s why asked about your new way. The new look.
For me one of the most important part of your work is the strong saturated color, but simultanously I have to say that I like very much your new pictures where your color is on the second plan.
Two times I try to reply to Steve McCurry and both time something not worked, my comment not loated at all in reply section. I am useing Opera browser. I will change browser if it will happen againe, but right now I don’t know what exactly was happen.
I spend long time with this comments so I will not reapete that.
Thanks for this post.
Thank you so much for being with us.
I met you at Daegu Photo Biennale 2years ago in Korea.
I heard your lecture and enjoyed your exhibition.
Before the lecture, I went to you and asked for taking picture of you.
You gladly posed for me…:))) This is the picture.
The lecture was very open-hearted. So I was very touched.
I had courage from your lecture.
Thank you again.
Thank David for special chance to meet Steve on Burn.
Thanks, David, for your kind offer, but the questions our Burn community asked Steve were more interesting than any I could have thought of. And Steve’s answers were wonderfully insightful. An excellent tutorial! Thanks to you for setting it up, Steve for taking the time and everyone for asking such great questions.
David, I’ve just sent you an email with “from Patricia” as the subject. Would love to hear back from you. Thanks.
Thanks for Sharing! Cheers, Jeremy
Thanks for replying to mine and all the other questions, it is greatly appreciated. Yes; we all hope Afghanistan can regain peace, and hopefully an entire new generation may be born without knowing war and conflict.
india smells like mondays.. stay away.. stay away.
steve – as someone above has mentioned.. monsoon was an extraordinary book.. for me it changed idea’s..
i saw it on a stall around connaught place in dehli when i was 18 and it edged me into the idea of long term projects. where i have stayed.
some of the photographs really inspired.. it was the overall thought though.. of following a monsoon season.. just great.. a simple idea which could be extrapolated into a more meaningful whole. so much was illustrated through the simple idea.
perhaps it appealed to my very british fetish for the weather.
or indias very british fetish with the weather.
in anycase.. there is a point.. or question.. if you are available still..
working on long term projects as you do.. repeatedly returning and no doubt peeling away the layers of the places you visit.. seeing more.. how do you bring about a conclusion? when is enough, enough in terms of approaching a publisher?
i think i have a feeling for ‘that moment’ and would be interested to hear your take.
also – on editing a large body of work – have you settled upon a formula for editing? david has mentioned 3 edits.. with a final book edit as the goal.. which is great, and just like a single commission edit for me.. however, a book edit is freaking me a little.. so many negatives and possibilities for direction.
any thoughts on the subject would be kindly received… i hope to be getting there.. while you are here though, it would be daft to not ask.
”how do you bring about a conclusion? when is enough, enough in terms of approaching a publisher?”
= referring to a book publisher rather than magazine, that is..
come fishing in norway, david.
warm regards everywhere… london has been fun, although fishing in the fjords and a little beate & Tor Capa love is preferable.
.. and thanks for this thread.. muchly thanks.
Oooooh I REALLY wish I had made it on for this one! – I’m waiting on AT&T to wire my house from the street for internet. I have a friend who has the original 1985 National Geographic with that photo on it’s cover. I never thought I’d ever see one, until he pulled it out of a box one day to show me. It’s certainly a remarkable image. The Blue/Green eyes piercing out from under the tattered, rusty red cover. Contrasted with emerald greens, I wonder what the impact would have been like if the colors were less vibrant, less contrasting, perhaps B&W? Would this image have carried the same impact? I absolutely love it. It’s the reason I bought Steve’s Portraits book published by Phaidon. Steve, if you’re still reading, you’re an inspiration not just through you’re photography but your personal story about HOW this photo was obtained and how you came to be who you are. Thank you for that inspiration. I’m currently a college student (and almost 30) – I’m transferring to the University of Missouri – Columbia in fall to study Photojournalism. While I was researching schools, career opportunities, and setting my goals, I had been doing research on National Geographic photographers and discovered that all the best photos (in my opinion) were taken by freelance journalists. I suppose it’s in part due to their broader range of experience and abilities. Not stuck in a single mind set of ways to get things done. I came across information about Steve and others and read all I could to understand the experiences behind them to know what happened to make them who they are today.
Thank you David for giving those who seek it, the exposure and knowledge available through you and this site, I will continue reading!!
I thought Eric Espinosa’s comment about evolving one’s photographic ‘style’ interesting. I think it is hard to actually do so. I mean I feel as if an Alex Webb photo from 1979 looks very much like the photos he’s taking today almost 30 years later. Koudelka continues to shoot black and white and continues his theme of exile in the world. He did begin using the panoramic format and started to exclude people in these shots, but his current 35mm work looks quite similar to what he was doing 30-40 years ago. And the same is true for any variety of photographers. Cartir-Bressonsimply stopped shooting and took up drawing again when he tired of photogrpahing.
good point…i think what Eric may have been saying is that there is evolution perhaps BEFORE one develops a personal style…most photographers try different things at the beginning of their careers and then find something that works for them…you are right, they then tend to stick with it….often their evolution after that is more about substance or subject matter rather than broad or radical changes in brush strokes…for example, visually, Istanbul for Alex follows his recognizable juxtapositions, but his subject matter is radically different…before Istanbul , Alex worked mostly in Latin America….if you look carefully at Istanbul you do see a different emotional context than in his Latin American work…Koudelka remember was doing theater stage work before he did Gypsies….as you point out, he did a radical change with his panoramic landscapes which he stuck with for at least ten years….so Joseph has experimented a bit more than some…frankly, i think it is a mountain to climb to even come up with ONE thing to say as an artist…some say more, most say less…in any case, a good discussion…by the way, i do plan to publish your essay at some point very soon…
The Afghan Girl…. probably the “Madonna” of photography, no? Especially as recohnition and reproductions go, many I am sure uncopyrighted, the ransom of “glory”…. :-)
I do remember her effigy in hald the routist shops of Istanbul, but even in cambodia, it is “on sale” quite ubiquitously. Copy/portrait Painters in pattaya do have it in the front of their shops, almost mandatorily could I add!
No need to add to what everyone has said on the merits of Steve, and how he inspired countless to take the snap out of snapshot. I think the funny thing about Steve’s style is that it seems deceptively easy to emulate, and yet, just like a Mozart sonata, just to play the notes right isn’t quite enough….
Hi David! What a nice new platform you have here! I always read about photographers saying that they don’t really have a style–they are simpy themselves and their so called ‘style’ comes from them reacting passionately to their subject matter. That’s a good point about Webb.
Steve is no longer online with us…but, i will see him tomorrow and get his opinion on your question…i will ask him to pop in here and answer your question directly….this is of course the question of the ages…when is one finished??? personally, i see no formula or rule….i just KNOW when i am done….but, where that feeling comes from, i do not know…certainly just having lots of publishable pictures is not it….that is why i “go to the wall”…tack them up….move them around….see if there is a narrative or a real reason “to be”…a collection of pictures is not necessarily a book…anyway, let me see if i can get Steve “on” for you….
good luck at Mizzou…my alma mater….
I have come back recent from a trip without internet signal. Only want to say thanks to DAH and SMc Curry for pay attention to some points. I will wait anxious the Trent Parke dialogue. Saludos
i think i have an idea that i am finished.. and then some evolution of the idea presents itself and i wonder whether it belongs with the same body of work or in a new context.
i guess an example could be martin parr – some of his books carry the same photos, although with a different point.
the main problem right now is that i am finding the quantity daunting again.. so many negatives and possible photos.. i am trying to not only choose the clean favorites of mine.. trying hard to look at photos which complete the idea without having to be great stand alone photos.. and i´m finding that tough for two reasons:
one – i would like each of the photos in my book to be of stand-alone quality and
two – if i include some which carry the message in a more textural way it opens up the door to another possible edit entirely.
i surpose the answer is as always to stay true to my own vision, however i do not want my personal vision to become exclusive, in so far as the publication could be better ..
back from a number of exhibitions in london and that has spun some new idea´s up as well.. namely my personal work and what to do with that.. i mean as in personal and never intended for publication.. the folders are growing and i do not want to make the mistake of neglecting to edit as i go this time..
too much work otherwise.
thanks again david – it would be superb to have an opinion from steve, as well as yourself..
i listen carefully and enjoy the altered perspective.
well, if we can ever meet in person, i am pretty good at distillation…conceptualizing material…i hope we can do that this year….or, we can put what you have into “work in progress” if you want….i will take on no more than 5 photographers ….your thoughts???
Thank you! Did you also attend Mizzou for undergrad or just grad-school? My plan is to get my undergrad in Photojournalism and a master degree in convergence. Do you have any ideas when you’ll be having a workshop this spring or summer in the U.S.? I’d love to attend one before I move.
i had a girlfriend once…
she used to abuse cocaine….
when she reached 40.. she discovered YOGA…
no more smoking …. then BUDDHA appeared in her life…
Later on she started buying all SMCurry’s books…
she got “enlightened”…
she got “serious”… very “serious”…
we had to split…
fuck that “bitch”… i hate “sinners” especially when they become “preachers”…
Steve is the opposite of LOOSE….
he obviously “sells” good too….
Steve, became Cathy’s GURU ????
sounds like a “blasphemy” to me…
Cathy , you gotta “loosen up”…
or maybe not
DAH & JIM ?????
next to Steve… i sense confusion and a little “ass-kissing” here..
or maybe its just the “drugs”…
how about Allard…??? maybe he is the 4th man…
people, ALL, please get it together!!!!!!!!!!!!
now…that make sense to me…
thank u J.Vink
i posted Steve just for you!!! you do know that don’t you??
i just took that picture as a snapshot to remember the event…stood up and took one frame i think….if i had known it was going to be in a book someday, i might have worked it a little harder!!
im gonna be in seattle monday…
can i meet u in person??? please…?
and prove to u why Steve sucks…???
Steve is as close to pictorialism as noone else…
… but maybe i should quit heroin for Steve…
i need a “guru”… just like Cathy..
( Cathy, u know i love u… but…)
… the word “guru” is too much… especially for someone that lived in west LA for so long…
“guru” is such a “white” word for me…
keep kissing ass… like it matters!!!!!!!!!!!
peace & laughs ( not hugs )
i love u but u r in “love”…
thats groupie shit… c’mon now…
how’s your new house coming up…?
R U done???? did the “illegals” do a good job???
did u photograph that “event”??? … i mean “them”…
or maybe that wasnt that important to capture…????
thank god we “have” Salgado………………….
peace & laughs
u just returned from India????
why were u there in the first place???
R U trying hard to be “saved”????????????
please , follow Cathy and buy all S M Curry’s books…
in “rock’n’roll” lingo we call it a GROUPIE…
HOW ABOUT… “how sad…!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
… you better be kiddin.. bro”
… again, get it together!!!!!!
peace & laughs
Wow, I missed another one of these things. I was wandering Steve, how did you find shooting in Korea? Seeing as Buddhism is one of your specialties, and Korea does have a strong Buddhist presence, did you find it enjoyable to shoot here? Would you consider coming back? I remember you were in Korea several years ago for the Biennale and I wanted to make it to the show but wasnt able to.
“in depth interview”….
where is your questions then??????????????
why in “depth”????
why “serious” and not smiley???
have you ever thought that there is more “depth” in the “Surface” than in the “deep darkness”???
of course not…
because you R a “decadent spirit”….
you R not promoting “health” or “future”…
U R a “preacher”, a “priest”… the “weak link”…
sorry but i do not love your stream of weak thoughts…
go back to your “Flickr HCSP capsule”…. its “safe” over there… u r the boss…
by the way, whatever happened to JOE??????????????
THE ONLY fickr motherfucker with a brain!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i love u and u know this…
but why use the same “BENkissAss flickr technique”???
u know it doesnt work…. !!! right ?
& fuck BUDDHA too…
peace & laughs
i agree… bring Trent Parke on…
or even better,… Antoine D’Agata….
FUCK FLICKR…. bullshit…
enough with the “kissing the established’s ass”…
like they gonna get a credit line or some shit like that…
“…The Afghan Girl…. probably the “Madonna” of photography, no?…”
YOU GUESSED THAT RIGHT…:…”…NO…”…
its a big fat NO…..
… BUT …
let me make things straight…( although im clearly GAY…)
STEVE is a great guy…
i met him in person in C/Ville…
Also a master in his craft… no doubt…
is it a coincidence that HE is Cathy’s or David B’s or Ben’s or any “entry level photog’s ”
not at all…
when those photogs evolve ( hopefully, someday… ),
their TASTE will also evolve….
i loved Steve’s photos , i adored them , but when i was thirteen….
STEVE IS A MAESTRO…
but let me tell u my poor friends “why” u love him:
“… because he is approachable”… he is within REACH…
u think u can shoot as good as him… as long as u can afford a ticket to fucking INDIA…
i agree , yes u can be Steve MCurry’s…
but YOU CANNOT REACH DAVID ALAN HARVEY’S or PHILIP BLENKISOP’S “maestro-city”…
( FUCK PEACE, FUCK HUGS… but stick with the LAUGHS….)
(´´is it a coincidence that HE is Cathy’s or David B’s or Ben’s or any “entry level photog’s ”
´´when those photogs evolve ( hopefully, someday… ), their TASTE will also evolve….´´
´´u think u can shoot as good as him… as long as u can afford a ticket to fucking INDIA… IDIOTS….´´)
well panos, ´guru´is your word and certainly not one i would use about any photographer… i don´t think i have personally ever had a photo guru and others can answer for themselves.
so please tell me – how do you know my tastes and inspirations so well?
again, get a grip on yourself man… behaving like a Beneton advert from the late 80´s gets really dull, and long after you have become a parody of yourself on the blog you still cloak insults and posture way above your weight..
bear in mind that when you project your judgements onto others who´s work and personality you have little inkling of, you open yourself to ridicule and derision as well as the judgement of your own achievements..
smiling, laughing actually – although not alongside yourself i´m sorry to say.
D A H
that could be a real help david – being under work in progress..
will send you email.. perhaps phone you if you are available?
i have a suggestion for meeting which could work out well..
honestly i dont think your name should be into the
“entry level photog list”…
hmmm….that must have been my mistake….
but i guess you agree that the “entry levelers” love him as a guru… no…
& yes , please keep laughing & smiling..
im just doing my “job”… somebody has to “do” it!!!
i guess when i think of entry level it´s classic photographers who come to mind.. and i guess steve is within those boundaries.. people who exhibit an extraordinary understanding of what they do and the passion to carry it out regardless of others opinion.
the difficulty with judgments based upon photographic style to my mind are that
1 – no single photographer is more valuable than another.. different strokes for different folks and all that .. impressionistic work or sharp work – both illustrate and delight different people and in different ways.
2 – to exert that the one is greater than the other is a subjective pursuit and in that sense we´re on shaky ground.
with photography as young as it is, how can we honestly say who the ´grand masters´will be when photography ripens as painting has?
surely anyone who inspires someone is filling the brief, and the rest can be likened to arguing over which colour is the best.. red or orange.
at an entry level to photography, of course people look to the known masters, of which steve is one.. it is wrong to sneer though..
to use jazz, discovering john coltrane may lead to a love of john mclaughlin.. but the love for john coltrane will remain as strong as ever it was.. ´cause he´ll wash your troubles, your troubles, your troubles awayeeeaaayy.
and with colours – don´t go there.. orange is clearly superior… see we are all hypocrites within our worlds.. i just don´t like finger pointing is all.
peace and off..
Nice to find a place on the web with so many names I recognize. Harvey has done a great job in pulling this all together, hasn’t he? Steve, how are you? Yamashita was in town (New Orleans) last week, hew looked great. Did you grow any hair? I haven’t any these days…..
Opps, no edit function on this blog? David see if you can do something about that.
i am going now to have breakfast with Steve, Bruno Barbey and Elliott Erwitt….i talked to Steve just now on the phone and he said he would be pleased to answer your question on “when are you finished with a book project??”….if he forgets to write, he gave me his answer and i will relay it to you…
please tell me that hair is not a prerequisite for fine work!!!
come to see me when you can amigo…
DAVID and PANOS.
What an angry man you are…Panos if you have any respect for David I don’t see how you can come in and trash every nice thing said here to David’s guest, Steve. Don’t you have any other way to let out your hostilities? Get a punching bag please!
I’d like to hear what Steve has to say back to you, trashing his work and career. Who do you think you are to go thru the entire thread and talk shit to Steve and those who respect him. I hate to tell you but YOU are an “entry level photographer.” As is just about everyone on this site. So what??? Ever heard of “beginners mind?” If you can’t accept that you will never grow. Your ego will keep you from learning anything.
You obviously have no sense of humor either. I made the guru comment (to STEVE, not to you) many years ago as a JOKE. At least he was smart enough to laugh at it.
I regret having missed the dialogue with Steve McCurry
Thanks David, Steve and all for all your relevant questions
you are the favorite photographer of my mom, for her birthday, I offered her one of your books
And thank you Burn, to have my name next to Steve McCurry, I am very honored !
all the best, audrey
You’re showing your ignorance here big-time.
How can you call crowds of many thousand Indian people “white?”
Guru is an Indian word meaning TEACHER, something you must never have had.
Go see Slumdog Millionaire. Learn something!
I got the “Guru” joke too!
I was just laughing too..
I don’t think Steve feels any less
or trashed… He is not “dead”.. He is “alive”..
I think he can take it..
“straight” photography Vs “Loose”..
Guess what I voted for… That was all..
Peace and hugs and laughs…
.. This is what I’m talking about.
I got Steve’s book for my moms birthday too..;-)
I’m a good “customer”..
That’s why I can say whatever I want..
I payed for my opinion..
I’m not here for “free”..
See you in Paris by the end of the month!!
My dream is coming true..
Hmm.. U lost me on this one..
Fill me in..;-)
Damn I’m learning a lot today..
Thank U for schooling me Cathy..
Peace and hugs
I wanted to respond to your question about how I bring a conclusion to a book project. When does one feel that they are finished? Your question reminds me of an article I read about the painter Jackson Pollock when somebody asked him “How do you know when your painting is finished?” His reponse was “How do you know when you’re finished making love?” (His term was a bit more graphic than that). I think the idea was that it was some intuitive feeling when things came together when a certain balance is achieved.
Regarding approaching a publisher I think its always good to get feedback from people whose judgement you value, people in the world of photography that have an esthetic sense that you respect, and at some point you’ll know in your gut that the time is right to approach a publisher.
I wouldn’t be overwhelmed with the magnitude of the selection process and widdling down thosands or perhaps tens of thousands of images to arrive at a final selection of 100 or 200 images or whatever.
I recall hearing stories about some very well-known photographers who would have a stack of prints and show these to people whose opinion they valued,they had a code or notation on the back of the print and after some time a sense would emerge about which pictures people were responding to.
Panos, my friend, I was just wondering last night where you’d got to. I was hoping you were OK. And now I see you not only came back but arrived with a vengeance. I see it was 1 a.m. your time when you posted these comments and I’m afraid you were high as a kite when you did so.
Panos, Burn is not Road Trips. We’ve moved out of our “living room” into the wide world and the view from here is exhilarating. Please don’t bring your old stuff to Burn. It doesn’t fit.
i went to Mizzou for grad school…broke, with a pregnant wife, and a broken down Chevy…however, at Mizzou i managed to become College Photog of the Year, did my first book, and then an art grant from the Va. Museum of Fine Arts..so what started out looking pretty bad, ended up pretty good…and i learned a lot at the Missouri Workshop, the mother of all workshops…i also started teaching other photographers at exactly this same time and have patterned my workshops ever since on the tough critique style that is so so Mizzou…
right now i am trying to decide whether to do a couple of weekend workshops in New York or one of my full blown week long shooting workshops in late spring or early summer…i just have to balance my own shooting with helping others shoot….in any case, stay tuned and i will let you know soonest…
High as a kite???
And I do miss Roadtrips..
Sorry but words like “guru”
or “teacher” literally ignite me..
Anyway.. Why the old “roadtrip stuff”
wouldn’t fit here???
I’m getting ready to drive to Seattle
by the end of the week..
I will try to meet every cool blogger up
So far I spoke with Charles P,
Tim Ripley, Tom H, Katia R,
maybe meet Hillary also..
Still looking for Sidney’s info..
( I think he in Seattle )…
“sleepless in Seattle”..
Seattle is famous for it’s drug culture..
Yep, I was “rehearsing” last night,
practicing and experimenting in a
Peace & hugs..
…and like I said to Cathy earlier..
I’m a great Steve McC “customer”..
Ask my mom..( she is in love with Steve…
Hmmm I wonder what S.Freud would say…!!!?
Maybe I got a little jealous… last night)
ps: Steve, the ladies love U..
even my mom and trust me.. she is really picky..
Thank you, Steve, for coming back to answer David Bowen’s excellent question. Your answer helps put a lot of pieces of the puzzle together in my mind. As one of many here on Burn who are in the middle of a longterm project, this issue of “When am I done?” is a big one for me. And since my subject is my day-to-day life I know I will NEVER be “done” with that…until I die, that is. Your highlighting the two measuring sticks of “intuition” and “balance” strike home with me. I also feel incredibly grateful to have had DAH as my mentor and to have received invaluable feedback from many of the photographers here throughout the entire process. Yes, all is in place…
Slumdog is a best movie of the year contender. So far it has won the Golden Globe for best picture.The story is right up your alley…slum kids trying to make it in a tough world. Filmed in Mumbai, India.
Aside from the fact that it’s a good film, I think it would be good for you to get a taste of what goes on in India. Then when you make comments about how anyone can buy a ticket to India and copy McCurry you will have at least some idea of what you are talking about. It’s not Disneyland there…India can be a very tough place. Afghan girls are not lining up to have their photos taken!!! In many ways it’s a lot tougher to shoot there than Venice. In Venice you can drink the water, eat the food and not worry being hospitalized from it or from the constant bites from mosquitoes carrying malaria, dengue and so on…
DAVID BOWEN, CATHY, PATRICIA, PANOS…
ok, please please …everybody calm down!! i have never met David B., but i know the rest of you…and i know how all of you are in person….all of you are just terrific people…not a bad person among you including the controversial Panos….there has been a constant blasting between David B. and Panos, yet i dare say that if the two met in person there would probably be no such thing…first of all, when i read Panos, i know first of all that 99% of what he says is tongue in cheek or just being Greek!!! or just wanting to shake things up….
the two photographers who i have quite literally mentored online are Patricia and Panos….both get it done kinds of photographers…the only two who have actually come through as per promised from the at least 15 photographers who started out with assignments several months ago…..i have also done the most editing for these two for simple reasons…they both went out and did what they said they were going to do and i did what i said i was going to do also…i showed up in their respective backyards and looked at pictures and edited pictures and i will continue to do so for both….
i plan to do the same for David Bowen with whom i have also had a long online relationship, but have not had the pleasure of meeting…
Cathy and i have met in person and chatted for the past two years online…i am ready to work with her as well whenever she is ready…
the point is: there are no bad characters in this movie…now Panos catches a lot of you know what..and he does because he dishes it out…but Panos IS quite different from other often anonymous online naysayers…why? because the boy goes out and shoots every damned day…shoots the life around him…always good pictures??…NO….but always real pictures???..YES…Panos would not be good if he was GOOD….the work is raw, he is raw…irreverent?? YES, he has gone over the line a few times, but he sure has hit the nail on the head MOST of the time….in this way Panos is most like Patricia, who also shoots every damned day of the life around her….BOTH are FINISHERS… they do what they say they will do….just like FEDEX…they DELIVER….
somehow i am going to get all of you together in the same room at the same time….photographers are by nature pretty strange individuals….usually highly insecure, needy folks…but, i gotta love ’em…the world would be a pretty boring place for me without all of you….i love the mix n’ match of all of my very strange friends….i say this as compliment to your individuality…
point of this ramble: relax..take it easy….i am not going to play cupid among you….but, for heavens sake we are all in the most exciting way of going through life imaginable…this should be fun!! it is fun!! can any of you imagine doing anything else??? so, let’s learn something from each other in every way…”can’t we all just get along” a la the famous Rodney King line?? damned right we can…
i did not take offense at Panos’ blasting Steve…Steve would not either…he would be laughing too…when i present anything here it is up for grabs…..yes, the discussion should stay civil, but the discussion should stay real also….as in everything , balance is the key…
ok, big hugs all around….but, always always speak your mind as you all have….but please just do it with a twinkle in your eye….
i would not want it any other way and i so so appreciate you being here…as Clint Eastwood said in Dirty Harry..”make my day”…..in your own way, each of you do “make my day”
Thank you, David, for the reply…
I sort of suspected it was something like that – but the end result is that you captured a moment of emotion quite well, that (obviously) resonated with Sam, but also resonated with me, a viewer, many many years later.
It made me realize that snapshots can be(come) photographs as well…
good light, all,
AKAKY: So what do you think that means?
AKAKY IRL: What do I think what means?
AKAKY: That we should get along a la Rodney King.
AKAKY IRL: Maybe he wants us to beat the shit out of each other.
AKAKY: I hardly think so. They’re Democrats, after all.
AKAKY IRL: Yeah, you’re right about that. It would be out of character, wouldn’t it?
AKAKY: You betcha. And did you know that we are going through life in the most exciting way imaginable?
AKAKY IRL: I don’t know about that. I can imagine a lot of things that don’t include shoveling snow out the driveway every two weeks or so.
AKAKY: Me too.
now, please please my dear French friend, turn in your family essay!! yes, your name IS next to Steve, but now i would wish your photographs next to Steve and on the screen and in print as well…do not be shy…we can work together to get your work edited and out for all to see…
your work deserves to be shown….
Rodney King said in his courtroom appearance in his trial against LAPD “can’t we just all get along?”
now, isn’t that the same thing that DEMOCRAT Barack Obama is saying??
now, i also imagine REPUBLICANS to be shoveling more snow than the rest of us…they have longer driveways!!
i should tell you that one whole wing of my family (uncles , cousins) are REPUBLICANS…hard core….nice folks too as long as you do not discuss politics…they would even check here on BURN too if Rush Limbaugh was an emerging photographer…maybe he is…if you have any pull at all Akaky, bring him in…that would really cause our now overloaded server to crash!!
peace and goodwill to all men and women, david
You are ready to work with me whenever I am ready? I totally welcome that offer. Thank you.
The way I see it, you’ve already been working with me…certainly your critiques have been very helpful and I have learned a great deal from hanging around these past two years (or more?) but I am guessing you mean something more than that…Helping me with a long term project? Editing an essay? I am happy for whatever help you are willing to give.
The work I’m most interested in continuing (sorry Panos) is my India photography. I submitted a single image to you for this site but have many years worth of shooting to edit and am working on that now as well as planning to return there for new images. Of course always looking for something I am passionate about closer to home but so far (for me) nothing moves me the way India does. What is perhaps slightly different for me than most “tourists” is that I have lived there for months at a time, not traveling but staying in one place which is a second home for me. I have an adopted dog there, know the local lepers and beggars as well as the business owners and sadhus. I can’t wait to go deeper and do better with my photography next time I am there. So please keep me in mind with this project and in the meantime I’d love to show you some of what I’ve got so far.
p.s. I’m reminding you about the messenger bag! Thanks.
i sure hope i always told you that i would work with you….my instinct would be to have you work on something close to home..BUT if India is it for you and you can spend some time there, then so be it..i did like the fishing picture from India you sent…i did think it was missing just another element…you had the light and the composition, but there just needed to be one more thing going on..like maybe the guy on the left looking sideways or back towards the camera or somebody else doing something in the picture….still it is a nice picture…but, i want you to jump forward and do more than “nice”…in any case, we will work on it..ok???
i think Mike and i can get all bags in the mail tomorrow….and i know damned well you will be on my case until it is done!! i am used to women being on my case…i welcome it in some weird way…i would not get anything done without the motivation of the fine women who have graced my life….so it is NOT a disparaging comment…just a funny reality…
“the only two who have actually come through as per promised from the at least 15 photographers who started out with assignments several months “…. well, I kind of thought I had also somewhat delivered on my promise :):)…anyway, I hope that I resolve the issues I have had transfering my MM piece to Anton but hope you can eventually have a look at what I have sent you when you get a chance. No rush, I am still shooting until March so everything is fine my friend but did not want you to think I had let you down….
I’m not speaking for DAH,
of course .. But I think he mentioned
Patricia and me because of our
very recent above controversy..
and I love her..
And she nailed it by calling me a “kite”…
I was really “rehearsing” recreational activities..
last night since I’m going Seattle ..
You know my hero Curt died there…
But Eric I wouldn’t worry if I were U..
You are also a FEDEX guy in my “book”…
and I believe that DAH won’t disagree…
Peace and hugs
my apology…you are correct..and i never never thought you let me down…..Bob, Rafal, David M. and you are now ready for publication as well…i was referring more to the photographers who i met as totally online relationships….you and i have worked together a lot in workshops so i do know that you can deliver and i have always been a fan of your work…i have Lords of the Ring in draft, so it is just a matter of pacing with other essays…yours will look great!!
we all learn everyday…one of the things i have learned in my editor role is the nature of photographers regarding “finishing”..this is something that i was only vaguely aware of before…creative photographers are usually right side of the brain people…yet, we ask them to be left side users when it comes to getting things “done”…for example, magazine staffs seem “editor heavy” at first glance..but, i can tell you that when you are an editor and are faced with a daily, weekly, or monthly production schedule , you really need editors or producers to get the photographer’s material to the final stage and can finally actually publish their work…a photographer with great pictures on the card or on film is still a long long way from publication!!
photographers who can “deliver” are always in great demand…as i wrote about Mustafah earlier, he delivered….is there some other visual genius out there who could have done better?? maybe..but, an editor is looking for great work actually sitting on his/her desk..now!!
for example, some of the greats at Magnum cannot deliver either…and those photographers do not do assignments…like Koudelka…it is not possible that he could do or would do an assignment…anybody waiting for Joseph to do something “on demand” would be waiting a long time….so, this is not a prerequisite for being a great photographer…it is just a prerequisite for magazine assignments etc…
Yes, life is full of funny realities. Thank goodness. Glad to be part of your funny reality. :))
Here’s to 2009 being the year I “jump forward!”
Just saw this quote (from Emile Zola) that rings true:
“The artist is nothing without the gift.
The gift is nothing without work.”
great quote..so true…
David, I wrote you a private email with my response to your message to David B, Cathy, Panos and myself. You, my friend, are the founding editor of Burn Magazine so you have the right to set any “rules” for conduct here. If you’re comfortable with the nature of Panos’ comments last night, so be it.
The response I posted to those comments was nothing personal against Panos, whom I love as a brother, but rather my wanting better for Burn. I share your vision of Burn becoming a world-class magazine and feel quite protective of it, especially in its early days.
I know U love me..
I know U do.. And I know U R
trying to “protect” BURN..
but don’t worry…
it’s me that “catching all the shit”…
and BURN is WORLD CLASS…
with or without me…
peace and hugs…
keep the fire burning…
just how I like it….
I’ve lost friends
who were always
chasing the dragon…
He can never be caught…
don’t you know?
I delivered my essay to david, as promised and finished, at the end of October…..and when Burn went live, i sent my ‘director’s cut’ (read: war&peace edition ;)) ) the week burn it was asked, 1st one done (after anton). then, sent a 2nd essay, re-edited, when asked for. a finisher.
so, eric, i dont think david is at all referring to you, but on the nature of this business for people to speak more than they act. I didnt take anything personally what david wrote;)))
otherwise, i’d had been outta here long ago ;)))….
we’re all in this together to build a better mansion :))
Just a quick follow up as Im sluggish today (late night party at the HOuse of Family black, including Harvey workshop Alum Marc Davidson and partner)….
i just read all the comments from last night…and i dont know, to me, they were very funny….maybe because I know Panos personally, but I didnt find them offensive, just the normal Panos late-night rant :))…i mean, BURN IS GREAT and because of the WORK and the WRITING…and i think a magazine that creates incendiary shit is also good…i mean, none of us are saints….except Herve ;))))))))))
and when David talked about Panos and Patricia being the only finishers, I did not take that about me either, cause I finished, and I think David was simply illustrating/calling attention to the fact that A LOT of photographers promised work from the ‘Assignment’ this summer and most didnt finish, or start, or got stuck…nothing personal in that, but part of the game is to know when to complete, for now, something…people count on people…so, i think David used Panos and Patricia as being 2 examples that worked with David on-line to finish projects (thought finish isnt the right word) for burn….Bones was done long before, and i’ve grown sick of it, really ;)), but i dont care if it gets shown in 1 week or 3 months, whatever…the point is that the magazine is alive because of the work and the commitment to complete stuff…we’re building a spot that, i believe, in 6 months, will kill folk…and i think David was just gently reminding folk that a magazine is only as good as the content and voices provided :)))
so, get the killer shit out there to be seen :)))
running to bed
No need to apologize really…. I was smiling when writing this :):):) and again, there is absolutely no rush at all… With all the trouble Anton and I had on transfering the multimedia piece, I was not sure if you ended up getting anything at all…. I am glad you have the essay even if I am unsure if the MM got to you or not… I have done a last try with Anton and I have transfered a new flash file couple of days ago….If it did work, you may want to check it out as I have added some additional photographs that I have taken last week-end and that I quite like…anyway, this thing is not over…. I am enjoying my little journey here for as long as I can, unsure as to where this will lead me. Just this week-end, I was fortunate to spend an afternoon together with Tim Austin, a former world champion (defended his title 10 times), also medalist in Barcelona about to turn fourty… Really nice person, very humble…talked at length about his life, his broken dreams, the difficulty of dealing with the “Ups” when you are at the top and when you were only ever used to deal with the “downs”…. next week-end, I am actually going to follow Riccardo Williams Jr (silver medalist Sydney) who I have also followed and who is having a big fight on Saturday… I should be able to follow him behind the scenes, preparing this week for the fight and in the locker before THE bout…. You see, I am still busy with this topic. As they say, it ain’t over until it is over…. I certainly do not want to regret afterwards not having made the most of the time I have got left…..
We all want the best for BURN and should protect this little jewel that is being developed with passion by David. I certainly wish for all us to stay kind and constructive in our comments but I also wish for us to remain spontaneous and have fun… I tell you, I love BURN as it is a lot more about the work now, showing photographs and dicussing essays but I do somtimes miss a bit the “family” feel that we had on Road Trips, the informal tchat just discussing life, what we are up to… I do hope that we can develop this more here on BURN as well over time while still producing and showing great work… The more “formal” look of the magazine should not force us to stay formal in our discussions. A bit of “controlled” craziness is refreshing sometimes without having the family becoming toally disfunctional…. I have to say that there are many voices from the “past” that I no longer read as often and that I miss personally. I was wondering where Panos had been lately (certainly came back and was noticed :)(:):):):) I do miss reading Erica and few others who I hope are not intimidated by the new format… So I vote for a world class irreverent family magazine!!!!!
Eric, I know what you mean about missing some of the “family” craziness we had going on at Road Trips. I think we’re still feeling a bit intimidated by our new home, but that will pass. I trust we’ll loosen up soon enough. And hey, I can be as irreverent as the next gal or guy; I just don’t think expletive-laden rants have a place here. But our brother Panos has many more sides than the one we saw last night. I for one was mightily impressed with how he handled some of the more critical responses to his essay. He showed a great sense of humor, a light touch and real maturity.
By the way, I am SO looking forward to seeing your “Lord of the Rings” essay! It’s one of my favorites…
i must have mangled my words as bad as W or something!!! funny, i had been watching these absolutely hilarious videos of Bush speeches….did it rub off on me??
of course, you are a finisher…..and Bones was done long ago…it will be one of the next two or three published….
Patricia and Panos were in some kind of special category in my mind because i totally mentored them online…..they both went from zero to their final essay based on their own energies and coaching from right here…..your explanation of what i was trying to say is way better than my own……
Thank you very much for your words of encouragement, yes, I would like very much having your opinion on my photos, my text and my title. I have 2 dandruff to developed, that I am going to begin today, I send you all this week…
My father is going to be again operated for a prosthesis of hip, but we are in no way worried… I think of working a long time on my parents….
je vais enfin vous rencontrer!!!
all the best, audrey
Je ne peux pas attendre de vous rencontrer aussi…
acknowledged panos. congratulations on lowering the tone. might i suggest you lay off the drugs for a while?
you seem to know a lot about me panos.
actually i’m not a big fan of steve mccurry’s work. i know one picture of his (the obvious one), and well, now i guess i know a couple more thanks to this article.
i am however interested in reading about other photographers working practise, their lives, and methodology.
might i suggest that you try to take on some of these lessons yourself?
if you want to see my insights and contributions to photographic dialogue then i have a blog, although i’m not sure its worth my time pointing it out to you.
again, i think you would do well to lay of the smack before writing posts in the future. its embarassing.
steve – many thanks indeed for taking the time to reply.
i hear what you are saying about being finished.. and gathering respected opinions..
making love – does it ever finish? hmm..
okay.. onward .. trying to not feel overwhelmed with neg files.. i think it relates to the length of the project.. smaller projects and weekend commissions i have no trouble with.. i think it´s maby a case of the longer the project, the more it has to be a corker..
Thank you for the insight about MIZZOU! It’s truely amazing what raw talent bred with particular associations will accomplish. What I mean by that is: your skill and talent could have made you the best average photographer out there, but because you probably associated pain in being broke with a child and wife needing your support, and you had the desire to come out ahead and do well for their sake, you tried many different things to help you succeed. And the end result, you became in my opinion, one of the greatest photographers of all time.
Nobody ever became great by sitting around doing nothing with their time.
As for the workshops, I still don’t know your prices, but if I could afford it, I’d vote for a whole week. And I’d pray for a supprise visit by Mr. McCurry and/or Mr. Allard. But that might be pressing my luck… I look forward to hearing from you!
wow just came across this.. genius post Panos!! start a motherfucking blog you sage!! or have you been hacked again!?!?! LOL
looks of contempt and shrugs.
A CALL FOR PEACE.
After seeing the comments Panos made here yesterday, especially those knocking photographers who go off to India to copy Steve McCurry, I opened my copy of South Southeast, the book that first introduced me to Steve.
That book was published in 2000, AFTER my fifth annual trip to India. I discovered Steve thru my visits to India, not vice versa. I also rediscovered my love for photography thru spending time in India, not vice versa.
I am writing this not to argue with Panos but to show how easy it is for all of us to jump to conclusions and make judgements, usually incorrect ones about each other, photography, life. What is more difficult to do is to quietly listen and keep an open mind.
We have come together here from different backgrounds, from different parts of the world, with different interests and ways of expressing ourselves. I know in my heart that the intention for burn is that all of us add our small spark to this flame and make it burn brighter, not to try to extinguish each other!
Let peace prevail on burn.
Best wishes to all.
I remember seeing this famous photo years ago when I was a kid. Back then, I hadn’t any intention of becoming a photographer myself, and (if I recall) I was still set on becoming a professional clown. Even then when I saw this particular photo, I knew that was what photography was about.
Now, as a photo student I am rediscovering what I felt from seeing that photograph many years ago. No matter how perfect the lighting is or the other technicalities… if I don’t see or feel what that photo sparked in me a long time ago… then it isn’t satisfying for me, and thus, a disappointment. I don’t necessarily mean this in a depressing way, but more so in a motivational way.
About a year ago, I was at a library book sale and I found a copy of the National Geographic that had the follow up story to the Afgan girl’s photo. Immediately I snatched it up. I loved that Steve McCurry did a follow-up and found the girl. My heart broke for her and her struggle, however I held McCurry’s work in a greater esteem for going back to find her.
There was a photographer in France who take a photograph of a man jumping across a puddle in 1932. Do any of you guys feel if any other picture is more iconic.The Afghan girl image may be a favourite to the western audience but has become a bit boring . Not the picture of the man jumping!
Now I totally agree with Jason Houge on the workshop stuff.
Only problem is…when you sit in South Africa and you want to learn from the likes of Allard, Harvey and McCurry…it can only remain a dream…
Any chance of running workshops in South Africa, David?
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