Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Steve McCurry Retrospective

Went to see a retrospective of American photo-journalist Steve McCurry's work in Birmingham at the weekend, and came away impressed on three levels.

First, and most importantly, the images, have a strong story line, an emotional 'hook' that makes you wonder how the people depicted got to that point and/or, what happened next? Good examples would be of a little boy crying whilst holding a gun (presumably a toy) to his head, and another of a smiling elderly tailor up to his neck in monsoon flood water, carrying a battered sewing machine on his shoulder.

I'm intrigued how I could create such strong emotional connections with images that are not of people, but of landscapes, or even if that's remotely possible? And, if not, what does that mean for my photography?

Second, the quality of the work is superb: timing; saturated colours; pin sharp details at exhibition size. All very impressive, and the latter especially so when you consider many are from 35mm film taken 20 years ago.

A sudden squall sent Birmingham shoppers scurrying for cover & this
parasol hurtling down the street past the window of the coffee shop...

Thirdly, what a great place Birmingham City Centre is these days, great shops, architecture, museum and a really nice atmosphere. We had lunch in one of the many restaurants over looking the canal. Even the weather was pretty good, despite the brief storm depicted above!

You can catch the exhibition at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, details here, it's on until mid October. If you can't get there, Steve McCurry's website is here.

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