Steve McCurry, the Afghan Girl, and Tony Northrup: An Update

Following on from his controversial video about Steve McCurry’s iconic Afghan Girl video, Tony Northrup has published an update on YouTube, and the original video is now online again.

Northrup's first piece sparked considerable debate in the photographic community, and no doubt this update will bring further discussions. In my original article, I personally should have presented Northrup’s video as a version of what happened, rather than offering it as a new narrative that transcended a previous one. The title should have had a question mark and the concept of what constitutes truth should have been subject to much greater scrutiny. I apologize for having presented Northrup’s video as fact rather treating it as a version of events based on research and then letting others decide its integrity.

As consumers of information, we should continue to question how information has been gathered, whether it stands up to proper scrutiny, and whether we need to be more critical in the manner that we choose to share that information. Photographer Ted Forbes recently published this excellent video that discusses how contemporary news media functions, why it sometimes has a tendency to fall short, and why it’s important to acknowledge publicly when things should have been done differently.

My personal earnings from these two articles will be donated to Afghanaid, a British charity that has been working with refugees in Afghanistan since 1983.

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46 Comments

Leigh Miller's picture

This thing got ugly real fast...internet warriors.

I see nothing wrong with having a conversation about lightning rod issues, as long as corrections etc are made when new information or clarifications come to light.

TOMASZ WK's picture

I strongly suggest Ted Forbes vidéo about the issue.

Emmet Adriaans's picture

Tony Northrup isn't really credible. He is the boy who cried JPEG is better than RAW and ISO is fake.

Stop sharing his channel

Michael Holst's picture

Also... that CPLs don't do anything that can't be replicated in post....

David Penner's picture

Actually he said that cpls were one of the few filters that you couldn't replicate in post.

Michael Holst's picture

Eh yes and no. He greatly misrepresents the point of using a CPL and literally said "It's really easy to replicate the effects of a polarizing filter by using software..." He says that after mentioning how the CPL makes the sky darker... that's a really shallow argument against why you'd use a CPL and more of an argument against ND filters.

The point of using a CPL is to cut down on glair and states his opinion that removing glare makes the image worse... So all of the commercial automotive photographers who use CPLs regularly must have missed Mr Northrup's lesson.

Han Seoul-Oh's picture

i only want to point out that your use of the word "really" is misplaced. instead of reading, "... isn't really credible," it should read, "... really isn't credible."

Jaron Schneider's picture

I think your wording here is spot on. Short, sweet, and well said.

Pedro Pulido's picture

he bashed another photographer for the entire world to see. he himself has 1.2m followers. you have to be responsible for what you say. this has all kinds of wrong in it.

There's a long list of all kinds of wrong in it -- http://bit.ly/2tVA1PG

Gil N's picture

It's nice to see an apology from you Andy. I gotta say, the way you presented the story made refrain to engage with it.It was obvious and shameful clickbait, presenting information in a way that forces you to stand with opinion A or opinion B and nothing in between. I roll my eyes at many of the titles on Fstoppers but still click to read the full story but this one was the worst.

Lots of people, me included, avoid the news cause it's annoying to constantly be forced to have a strong and radical opinion on every issue existing. It's sad to see blogs and youtubers embrace this notoriously toxic way of presenting content. I don't think it'll change cause that drives traffic and that's all that matters, but damn that's sad.

And concerning Tony and Chelsea, it seems to me like they're only interested in stirring controversy to have their names constantly in people's comments, and it's working. I wish there was a reliable way to block a YouTube channel.

There is a reliable way to block channels. I did it for one particularly prolific Tuber who was annoying as h*** and haven't seen him pop up since unless I do a search on a topic he's covered.

...and this way is: _________

Crystal Johnson's picture

I've done it as well with Onision. You go to their about section, click the flag and block them.

Han Seoul-Oh's picture

I DON'T USE YOUTUBE BUT I HEARD ONCE THERE WAS A WAY THOUGH I HAVEN'T TRIED IT MYSELF. HOPE THIS HELPS.

before this post, i would never, ever neg another comment, even if i completely disagreed with it. however, you've earned my first ever neg because you pulled a Tony Northrup.

Crystal Johnson's picture

You have 4 negative ratings, and one is on a comment I made months ago ;)

Corey Morrison's picture

Hit that dislike button and smash unsubscribe.

You should probably edit the original article to include this mea culpa.

Although I learned 1 thing. Not clicking on Northup's videos. How much attention do you need to go from that "ISO is fake" dumbassery to this one in barely a week?

No one needs this much drama in their life...

Terry Waggoner's picture

Watch Ted Forbes video......https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gjHhOi3wak&t=110s........

K G's picture

Please! Stop giving this hack more attention, it's all he seems to be about lately.

Crystal Johnson's picture

I really like the articles you write, Andy. All well written and thought out. The apology is nice, but please stop supporting this clown that many fervently hate/dislike. He creates drama when there isn't a need, wraps it up in a sponsored bow, and retracts when called out. You guys can do better than Tony, Jessica and some of the other YTers you religiously post about.

Rob Davis's picture

Simple solution, never post anything by Tony Northrup again. Either he's paying Fstoppers or you guys are way too lazy on slow news days. There is much better content out there.

tomas doe's picture

Who is Tony Northrup? I've seen a few photo exhibitions of Steve McCurry, but who is Tony?

Alex Reiff's picture

He's a photographer who runs a popular YouTube channel with his wife

And a notorious clickbaiter too.

Terry Waggoner's picture

I just come across this video..............https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yf5ks-oLb3w posted by Jennifer Brecheisen Photography

Terry Waggoner's picture

Hey..........You(and that includes you Andy) really have to watch her video........it was done with respect...........https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yf5ks-oLb3w

Han Seoul-Oh's picture

"I apologize for having presented Northrup’s video as fact rather treating it as a version of events based on research and then letting others decide its integrity."

your use of the word "research" is clearly being used very, very loosely.

there was no research done by Tony and what little supporting evidence was featured made no reference, even obscurely, to his "version" of the events in question.

and after watching ted forbes' video on the subject, his guest hits the nail on the head regarding this.

Han Seoul-Oh's picture

what i'm curious to know is this: how many people still trust Tony Northrup despite this being just another in a long list of times he's purposely not gotten it right and, if you do, why?

and what would it take for him to finally lose credibility in your eyes?

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