Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Tag Archives: AfghanGirl

What makes a good picture – Steve McCurry

“The debate over what makes a great photo has been raging for years and as new forms of photography and seemingly more cataclysmic world events occur it looks set to rage for a good many yet.

Undoubtedly a good photo needs compositional order, colour, shape and contrast – and it generally holds that if it doesn’t work as a thumbnail it probably won’t work as a blown up image. A good photo often has a punchline – the thing you see after you’ve looked around it. Cameras now do all the technical stuff if you let them so to the real novice that’s less of an issue than ever. So what is the X Factor a great picture must have?”.…more

Steve McCurry’s One-Minute Masterclasses

“Magnum photographer Steve McCurry’s advice is gold dust – both to aspiring photographers and those among us who just want to understand how one of the biggest names in the photography world goes about capturing the images that are recognised and celebrated across the globe. 

His eight One-Minute Masterclasses to-date have so far stressed the importance of engaging with your subject as a fellow human being, explained the best way to go about picking an unusual vantage point and revealed that maintaining a sense of humour when you’re photographing in extraordinary situtations goes a very long way.” There are 9 one minute masterclasses this link takes you to all of them

Steve McCurry, Nomad woman in yak-hair tent, Kham Province, Tibet (1999)

Steve McCurry f8 Workshop in Bangkok

According to Steve’s Facebook page the workshop is on and applications are being taken. I am off to Laos over Christmas otherwise this would have been a fantastic thing to do, seeing one of the greatest photographers in the world work, learning from a master.

“The flooding across Thailand and Bangkok has been a national tragedy for the Thai people. Although severe across northern and western Bangkok, the flooding has not reached most of the center of the city, and we expect the workshop to proceed as planned. The main airport is open for regular operations, as are most of the downtown businesses as of November 10th, 2011. However, we continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis.

Doing our part for flood relief, the workshop organizers and instructors will donate a part of the proceeds of the workshop to the flood victims through a designated Thai charity. It’s our way of showing our support to the people of Thailand who continue to suffer through the worst flooding in recent memory.

For Photographers of All Levels – Novice to Professional

For photojournalism, Bangkok offers a myriad of subjects. From ancient Buddhist temples to modern skyscrapers, unimaginable wealth to abject poverty, Bangkok is a city of contrasts –of light and dark – unlike any other. It’s a photographers dream.

Steve McCurry and Michael Yamashita are offering a very special photography workshop opportunity that will explore Thailand’s City of Angels. Intended for photographers of all levels, Steve and Mike have designed this workshop so you will have the opportunity to gain valuable feedback, advice and inspiration. This is a rare opportunity to hear two expert opinions about your work and take your photography to the next level.

The weeklong workshop will open with a portfolio review, during your first session. This will give both Michael and Steve an opportunity to see what subjects you are passionate about, and what drives you to create pictures. From there, you will have the opportunity to create images from the variety of subjects the workshop will visit – from boxing gyms to temples to markets. The final product will be a series of photographs that will tell the story, your narrative photographic essay of Bangkok.

 The workshop is designed to give each photographer an opportunity to photograph a “slice of life” in Bangkok. By shooting a fresh subject and reviewing your favorite pictures, each day, you will learn how to make improvements in shooting technique through the guidance of two of the world’s most seasoned professionals. This workshop is a learning opportunity rarely offered, and one that is sure to inspire you, challenge you, and make you “see” photography like never before.”.…more information here

A view on the Steve McCurry Exhibition currently in London

Hugh Fane, a regular course attendee at OSP and friend has been to see the Steve McCurry exhibition, if you missed our previous post about this must see exhibition  here is a link

This is a brief opinion and , giving a good reason for going to see the show

“Just a quick email to say I went to the Steve McCurry exhibition at Chris Beetles Fine Photographs and it was really interesting to see his images enlarged and in a gallery environment. His singular use of colour is much more evident and striking when you see the images in print form rather than in a book or on screen. Sadly I didn’t have a spare £5700 for the “Afghan girl” although I think he has taken more powerful photographs than that one.” Thanks Hugh

Steve McCurry – London exhibition 07/09/2011 – 24/09/2011

The Chris Beetles Gallery in London is holding an exhibition of Steve McCurry‘s work. There can be little doubt that McCurry is one of the finest travel and humanitarian photographers working today. Some of his images are so famous you would know them even if you have never heard of his name. We regularly feature posts about Steve because he is just the best. If you have a chance get along to see his pictures.

Chris Beetles Fine Photographs

3-5 Swallow Street, London, W1B 4DE

gallery@chrisbeetles.com 020 7434 4319

If you can’t get to the exhibition then have a look at Steve’s website, beautiful and simple, here is the link

Steve McCurry: The Iconic Photographs a new book

Phaidon Press have contacted me and asked that I let you know about a new Steve McCurry book they have just published called “Iconic Photographs” this is large format and by the look of it expensive but almost certainly a beautiful book with outstanding images. Here are some bits of information about the book and Steve McCurry

About the book
Through an instantly recognizable aesthetic, an innate eye for colour, and his remarkable ability to capture the fundamental essence of his subject, Steve McCurry has carved a reputation as one of the most outstanding photographers of our time.The unique quality of McCurry’s work lies in his skill in combining the intimacy of the immediate moment with a spectacular and arresting vision of the world – his photographs are at once both naturalistic and otherworldly. The Iconic Photographs collates McCurry’s very finest images – capturing scenes from far-flung corners of India, Southeast Asia and the Middle East – that transport the viewer to distant lands and witness the humour, tragedy, deprivation and courage of his subjects.

These pictures provide a glimpse into the everyday lives of normal people around the world. The acts of praying, sleeping, laughing, fishing, cleaning and sheltering – all the vagaries of human life – are elevated in poignantly beautiful stills; while stunning landscapes immerse the viewer in blazing sunsets, torrential rains, and dusty arid days. McCurry’s most famous portraits of serene monks, bearded elders, excitable school children and the striking ‘Afghan Girl’, are reproduced life-size so that the viewer can meet them eye-to-eye.

The Iconic Photographs transcends lifetimes and cultures, chronicling urban hustle and bustle, agricultural toil and the peaceful isolation of the wilderness in an unforgettable collection that spans an exceptional career.

Steve McCurry (b.1950) launched his career as a photojournalist when, disguised in native garb, he crossed the Pakistan border into Afghanistan thirty years ago. His remarkable coverage won him the Robert Capa Gold Medal, which is awarded to photographers who exhibit exceptional courage and enterprise. Famous also for his work in Southeast Asia, McCurry’s photographs are beautiful, uplifting and affecting. McCurry is a regular contributor to many international journals including National Geographic magazine. He is a member of Magnum Photos.

here is a link to their page about the book

There are also links to a video where Steve talks about one of his most appreciated pictures Steve McCurry shares the story behind his iconic photograph: ‘Beggar Girl, Bombay, India’ (1993) and on the same page many other links to stories and videos about this master photographer

Talking of Steve McCurry…

You may not know the name but you will know his most famous image.

Steve McCurry is one of the greatest photographers working today, his website is full of the most amazing images

Steve’s biography starts….. “Steve McCurry, recognized universally as one of today’s finest image-makers, has won many of photography’s top awards.  Best known for his evocative color photography, McCurry, in the finest documentary tradition, captures the essence of human struggle and joy.  Member of Magnum Photos since 1986, McCurry has searched and found the unforgettable; many of his images have become modern icons.  Born in Philadelphia, McCurry graduated cum laude from the College of Arts and Architecture at the Pennsylvania State University.  After working at a newspaper for two years, he left for India to freelance. It was in India that McCurry learned to watch and wait on life. “If you wait,” he realized, “people will forget your camera and the soul will drift up into view.”…more here

Steve also runs expeditions, I guess photographic workshops, what more could you ask for than to trail a master of photography around somewhere fascinating and take pictures, his website says the next is

MYANMAR EXPEDITION  13 DAYS, 12 NIGHT TOUR  January 23-February 4, 2012

Steve writes a blog also which is worth following as much as ours

What more can I say, one of the truly great photographers with a beautiful website where you can see and buy his pictures