What Makes Steve McCurry Tick?

I'm always fascinated by what makes the best photographers think they way they do. What shapes their ways of seeing? In the current climate of photography, it's easy to get lost in everything technical. We can often lose sight of the most important thing about photography...why we photograph. In this video from Steve McCurry's Youtube channel, we get a glimpse at what goes on in the master mind of perhaps the world's greatest living photographer.

Understanding (or trying to understand) someone's voice is only the first step. When he was a young man, Francis Bacon visited an exhibition of Picasso's work. Bacon was inspired to become a painter, but his early work was critically dismissed as an imitation of Picasso's work. After many, many years, Bacon found his own voice and is now seen as one of the most important painters of all time.

Anyone can learn how to take a photograph. Honing your way of seeing will teach you why.

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Christopher Hoffmann's picture

Thanks for sharing! This video has been around for awhile, but it is still nice to see in this age of controlling every aspect of the image...

Just a man with a camera trying to record real life as it happened...

Anyone know what lens he's using?

Logan Sorenson's picture

For those looking for the camera holding question

""He swings the heavy camera nimbly to his eye. The style is original; he
broke his right arm as a child and it has not worked properly since. That’s why
his own camera has a handle fixed to the tripod mount and he relies on
automatic focusing.""


Sean Shimmel's picture

I love the brevity of lists so here goes:

1. Chris, I admire how you consistently focus on vision more than gadgetry (though I do indeed like gadgets)

2. Steve is most magical of portrait photographers, BUT... even after bird-dogging the web for countless articles and videos, I still feel I know him so little.

3. His speaks intelligently and straightforwardly... but his imagery far, far outpaces his articulation for intrigue and wonder.

4. They way I've most benefitted from his work has been by asking myself questions and guessing at answers: "What most pulls me in?" (Harmonious/lavish color, shallow depth of field and layered composition.) "What most likely accounts for these elements?" (Selectively shooting, or don't shoot and show at all; Be intentional about color... just because there's color doesn't mean it's EXCELLENT color; punchy Kodachrome slide film; Full frame or even medium format. 85mm or 24-70 lens; be also intentional in selecting a subject... look for that special "look"... not just anyone from the region with do) Wait! Shoot in the very best light! Scout! Look in advance for the very best settings... and on and on.