Steve McCurry:The Stories Behind the Photographs

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Steve McCurry:The Stories Behind the Photographs

  1. Steve McCurry: The Stories Behind the Photographs Steve McCurry has been a photojournalist for over 30 years. He is the recipient of the Robert Capa Gold Medal, the National Press Photographers Award and four first prize awards in the World Press Photo contest.
  2. Women gathering clover in Wadi Hadhramaut, near Shibam, Yemen, 1999 ‘When I first arrived in Shibam, I was astonished – it is extraordinary. It perfectly illustrates what a unique place Yemen is in terms of architecture, environment and landscape.’ The sixteenth century buildings ‘look like mud skyscrapers rising out of the flat desert plain. The city is surrounded by mountain escarpments on the far horizons – it’s one of the most unusual, interesting landscapes in the world.’
  3. Yemen, Steve McCurry
  4. Boys in the boot of a taxi, Kabul, Afghanistan, 1992 Concerned about the plight of the Hazara people of Afghanistan, McCurry helped establish a non-profit called ImagineAsia. ‘It’s an attempt to get warm clothes, textbooks, pencils and notebooks to the Bamiyan region of Afghanistan, where the Hazara people live. Maybe most significantly, we’ve helped to set up classes for children and their mothers in Kabul. In addition, ImagineAsia has sponsored a young Hazara woman who is studying for a university degree in the United States.
  5. Afghanistan Children, Steve McCurry
  6. Train station platform, Old Delhi, India, 1983 ‘The station is a theatre, and everything imaginable happens on its stage. There is nothing the trains haven’t observed.’
  7. Riding the Indian Railways, Steve McCurry
  8. Men praying in the Hazratbal mosque, Srinagar, Kashmir, 1998 ‘I can’t stress how important it is to work with a trusted assistant or guide. That person really has your life in his hands, and he can make or break your story.’ For his project in Kashmir, McCurry worked with friend and journalist Surinder Singh Oberoi, who went by the nickname Lovely. ‘Lovely is a big, burly Sikh and the main person who helped me on the story. I sat with him virtually every night going over different ideas and story possibilities, making notes and lists of potential locations and subjects to photograph.’
  9. Kashmir, Steve McCurry
  10. Workers turning ropes of sugar paste into hard candy, Kabul, Afghanistan, 2007 ‘I wanted to do the story because the Hazaras were clearly a people suffering persecution they did not deserve. They are considered heretics by the Sunni majority, and their social standing is similar to that of the Dalit or ‘untouchable’ caste in India. Now, with growing Taliban influence despite a decade of American and NATO intervention, the Hazaras are probably going to suffer again.’
  11. Blood and Smoke in Hazarajat, Steve McCurry
  12. Man reading the Qur’an, Sana’a, Yemen, 1997 ‘With its biblical oriental flavor, its markets and its ancient walled cities, Yemen is exotic, but there’s much more to it.’
  13. Yemen, Steve McCurry
  14. Welder in a ship-breaking yard, Bombay, India, 1994 ‘The ships are absolutely huge, and these people are like termites, slowly breaking them down. The vessels are reduced to scrap within three or four months, and then just gone.’
  15. Work, Steve McCurry
  16. Mother and child looking in through a taxi window, Bombay, India, 1993 ‘I was in a taxi waiting at a traffic light during the monsoon, and a woman brought her child up to the car window. I raised my camera, took two frames, the light changed, and off we went – it all happened in about seven or eight seconds. Two months later, I came across these two frames when I was editing the pictures in New York. I was delighted that the picture came out as well as it did. It seemed to symbolize the separation between my world and hers – I’m in this air conditioned bubble, she’s out there in the heat and the rain – and how those two worlds came together for a moment.’
  17. India, Steve McCurry
  18. Three monks climbing to the Mingun pagoda, cracked during an earthquake in 1839, Mandalay, Burma, 1994 'There is something deeply appealing about Buddhist countries. I am endlessly intrigued by the way the monks live, by the way Buddhist philosophy emphasizes compassion, as well as by the iconography. The ethics and the aesthetics of Buddhism are melded in a unique way.’
  19. Burma Buddhism, Steve McCurry
  20. Agra Fort Station, Agra, India, 1983 ‘Each time a train rolled in, I would try to capture the incredible swirl of life there, all the time stepping over people camped out on the platforms, and working my way around mountains of luggage. India’s stations are a microcosm of the country. You see life being lived out right in front of you. Everything is on view – eating, sleeping, washing, caring for children, conducting business. Chai wallahs sell tea, cows and monkeys forage for food, people compete for tickets – the noise of the crowds is like an assault. Someone may be repairing shoes, another might be cutting hair or shaving someone. Many of the barbers who operate in stations have just a chair and a dish with a little water in it.’
  21. Trains, Steve McCurry
  22. Struggling camels silhouetted against the oil-fire, al-Ahmadi oil field, Kuwait, 1991 ‘The darkness caused by the burning oil wells was like a moonless night. The exposure on my camera was about a quarter of a second on f2.8.’ The photographs show a scorched, infernal place, ‘but they don’t convey the fine mist of oil that hung in the air and coated my cameras, or the deafening roar of the burning wells. Nor do they show the unexploded bombs and mines that dotted the desert. I’ll never forget the moment I got out of the car to stretch my legs and caught a glimpse of an allied lawn-dart mine behind the vehicle with our tire tracks running right over it!’
  23. Kuwait War, Steve McCurry
  24. end cast Steve McCurry: The Stories Behind the Photographs images credit www. Music Kitaro Silk Road Live in Yakushiji Temple, Nara, Japan 2001 created o.e. thanks for watching

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