“One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is some of the great pictures happen along the journey and not necessarily at your destination.”
McCurry would probably not call himself as a street photographer and has described himself as a visual storyteller. He has also undertaken various journalistic projects, is a Magnum Photographer and has published numerous books. McCurry has worked extensively in India over the past 30 years, and published a book called; wait for it, ‘India’. This is a book I have recently purchased, treasure and dribble over.
This article is number 2 of a planned 10 piece series where we will explore the work of some of the worlds greatest photographers. Studying the work of others is a significant activity to undertake and helps fuel our self-questioning. Conducting an inner dialogue about our photographs will help you achieve your your best work. Talk to yourself and talk to each other. We learn as a community.
Like the previous article on Alex Webb, McCurry has worked extensively with Kodachrome film stock, producing images with gorgeously saturated colours. If you hunt for it, you will find a film where he used the last ever roll of Kodachrome. Powerful stuff. As always, we can take photos with high contrast, or dare I say it, wiggle a slider till we have the desired effect (at least I do!). However, the stories we tell benefit with contrasting political pulls, and McCurry does this by photographing the rich and poor alike. His photographs create tension, leaving the viewer to create their interpretations.
Know your location. I cannot reiterate this enough. Rare is the time you go to a place and nail it the first time. With repeated visits you know what works and what does not. Often you get to know the people a little and are allowed a further glimpse into their world.
Don’t think just ‘Street Photographer’, look for a variety of photos to take, including portraits, landscapes, environmental portraits, still life and close-ups.
Learn how to use colour (think back to art lessons and the colour wheel). Study the work of photographers that have used colourswell.
Fixed lens cameras are great, and I am a huge fan of the Ricoh Gr. However, don’t get stuck in a rut. Go out for the day with a super wide angle and get used to using different focal lengths.
That’s all folks, keep learning. Planned but not promised, tomorrow we will look at the work of Marc Riboud, a photographer who has worked extensively in China and his work is all black and white, as I know there are B&W fans out there! Thanks guys and remember you can follow me by email.
Keep Clicking, Chris
See more of his work HERE.
If you are looking for some inspiration you could always look at my Street Photography Top #4, Buy Books.