Famous Photographers – Steve McCurry

Famous Photographers – Steve Mc Curry

One of my earliest inspirations as a photographer was Steve McCurry. It was one of his most famous photographs that appeared on the cover of National Geographic in June 1985, the striking portrait of a young Afghan Girl. I have already done a little article on my blog about the photo and it is still one of the most famous National Geographic covers ever. My previous post about this photo can be found HERE

Steve McCurry image for National Geographic of young Afghan Girl

Steve McCurry image for National Geographic of young Afghan Girl

Born in 1950 in the USA, McCurry career really took off when he travelled into Afghanistan from Pakistan just before the Soviet Invasion in the mid 1980’s. His photographs from that time were some of the first to show the world images from within Afghanistan during the conflict. I have travelled to Africa in my previous job, photographing villages in Chad and Liberia as well as United Nations Peacekeeping troops and I always found the images captured by Steve Mc Curry as a guide to what I was trying to capture, get my images to tell a story.

As a photographer with National Geographic, some of the images taken are truly a great inspiration for any budding or professional photographer. With awards the world over Steve McCurry has to be one of the most iconic photographers of the 20th century.

Photographer Steve McCurry

Photographer Steve McCurry

I consider McCurry as one of the leading ‘storyteller’ photographers. A photo journalist, a documentary photographer, a photographer that always tries to get the human side to any job he covers. Reading from the press kit on his own website, one of McCurry’s inspirations was the topic of my first  Famous Photographers article – Henri Cartier-Bresson. I can only dream to be in the company of photographic greats like these two men.

For more reading on Steve McCurry a press kit is available from his website. Press Kit

Steve McCurry Website

Steve McCurry on Magnum Photo

 

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My Journey through Photography 4 – Final Part

My Journey through Photography 4 (Final Part)

So onto where I found my inspirations, what drives me, my ideals when it comes to photography and where I see my career going in the future.

As a young photographer I was lucky enough to receive National Geographic magazine each month. I always looked forward to the magazine arriving and I don’t think I read an article till I was in my mid-twenties, it was always the photography that grabbed my attention. This was in the day before the world found internet so it was a monthly wait for the next issue and my next fix of stunning images from the photographers of National Geographic.

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National Geographic Cover with Afghan Girl

It was through looking at these photographs and trying to find out about the photographers that my interest really spiked. One of my inspirations was Steve Mc Curry, who famously took a photograph of a young Afghan Girl for National Geographic. I will be writing about Steve in my next article so I won’t dwell on him now. Another inspiration was the postcards of John Hinde. These images of Ireland and its own stunning scenery and simple images showed me that it’s not always the sunsets and slow moving water shots but simple proper composition can also be used to make a great photograph. Don’t be afraid to copy postcard images when starting off, and then develop that image a bit different with different angles.

This brings me to my ideals as a photographer, don’t be afraid to take a picture that you have seen a 1000 times, get the composition right, get the in camera exposure correct as well and if you get this much right and you like the finished photograph, well then you have succeeded. This is not a recipe for award winning images, but it is a simple recipe for images that you will be happy with. And first and foremost that is the most important thing about taking photographs, you being happy with your images. Of course to make a living you need to start to take images that other people will like, but if you start of well and get the simple things right, all the other stuff can develop.

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Me at work in a studio setting with a Canon 7D and 70-200 2.8 Lens

So what does the future hold for me as a photographer? At the moment things are very fluid. Having just started a new job, the football season coming to an end and my final year in college now is not a time for big decisions or changes. I will always take photographs, I will enjoy sharing them online and hopefully will continue to be paid to teach beginners and for my photographs. I won’t get rich but my photography will always bring me happiness and I hope some of the images I take also passes on some pleasure to my viewing audience.

I hope everyone has enjoyed reading my journey, from a young lad getting my first camera to a mid-forties man who still has a love for photography.

One of my favourite photos ever

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This has been one of my favourite photos ever. You can’t help but to be drawn into the photo by the girls eyes.  Below is what Steve McCurry (National Geographic Photographer)  who took the photo says about it

In the shade of an open tent flap, photographer Steve McCurry immortalized the haunted eyes of a 12-year-old refugee in a camp on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The girl’s piercing green eyes, shocked with hints of blue and fear, gave away her story. Soviet helicopters destroyed her village and family, forcing her to make a two-week trek out of the perilous mountains of Afghanistan. “This portrait summed up for me the trauma and plight, and the whole situation of suddenly having to flee your home and end up in refugee camp, hundreds of miles away,” McCurry says of the photo that became a National Geographic icon after it was published on the cover in June 1985. He had come across her two years earlier, while working on a story about the millions of refugees who fled Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion. That was also the only time he saw this nameless face, despite numerous efforts to relocate her after the camp she stayed in was evacuated. Since then, this raw, untouched image has been used on rugs and tattoos, making it one of the most widely reproduced photos in the world, McCurry says. “I don’t a think a week has gone by for 15 or however many years that I still don’t get requests from people, trying to get information on her,” he says.