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Tuesday, 23 April 2019


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This one for me please!


I have a few of his books and will just have to be happy with that given my economic reality. Really enjoy his work.

So many good things. I find your pick a little cluttered. I can't decide between "Taj and train" and "Kabul".

Ronnie loses and you’re writing about photography?

[DON'T TELL ME THE OUTCOME OF SNOOKER MATCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! #$@%@#%^!!!!!!!!! --Mike]

Magnum certainly has been on a mass marketing binge in the last year. My inbox gets frequent updates on their workshops and rehashed articles promoting their shooters.

Nowadays McCurry reminds me of one of those blond "hard rock" bands my generation used to heard when we were teenagers (I went to highschooll in the 80s), believing that was rock and roll (don't shoot me, music information was scarce at the time, specially in a little town in the mountains of Chiapas). Nice voice, well lit, well produced, sugar coated, exotic (I'm paraphrasing Teju Cole :P ).

I don't even believe his story about crossing the border to Afghanistan on his own when he was nobody is the whole truth. Obviously his work there was very useful to the US Government during the end of the cold war.

I don't even like the Afghan girl picture anymore, I don't think is great. Would it have been such a hit if the girl have had dark brown eyes? Western eyes in a little refugee, oppressed by the other Evil Empire, a recipe for success.

Please. Front webpage of THE GUARDIAN, sir. No way you could have missed it, either.

I expected an asterisk on the Taj and train. I own a big poster ordered from his studio as a gift. I thought it was an extraordinary capture - what set him apart from the likes of me. Only later as part of the expose did I learn it was a setup.

Yes, very nice but I bet that elephant was really a Tuk Tuk, the driver didn't have an umbrella and the man walking behind wasn't really there at all.

If I had the money, I would get Pakistan, 1983.

Re. Mike's pick: Great, no bokeh! (Yes, another parallel with paintings & drawings, without trying to imitate them. Though almost forgotten in the silly 'Who has the widest ...?' -competition, it is a very basic photographic property - remember the pinhole?)

I also like the Kolkata pic - but it's interesting that the content is very complex and detailed - goes against the current orthodoxy all over YouTube instructional videos, to simplify, simplify, simplify your composition, excluding all redundant detail. In that Indian shot, it's all the redundant detail that makes it absorbing.

Can't argue with your choice. I also like "Procession of Nuns", have always liked "Taj and train" (though I don't think I'd choose that one for a large print) - I think I'd choose "Mandalay, Burma, 1994".

Still worth watching, especially closing stages. It is remarkable to see an amateur so talented and composed against the greatest, in the World Championship. While Ronnie looked to be suffering to keep his concentration and appeared to be more aggressive in his approach that normal, the ability of the amateur to make difficult choices and skill to close out the match is remarkable. The game needs new talent and this might be such a talent.

Sorry I remember the scandal of massive manipulation in an Indian print last year. I moved my Cuba McCurry to the bathroom. The photos just do not look real.

Good choice, Mike. I, too, am drawn to wall prints that offer depth of detail such as this street scene. Looking at a portrait each day, such as several of the prints offered, gets monotonous (and sometimes unnerving) if you have no attachment with the subject. But scenes with multiple dimensions of life details offer new rewards for years. This scene is so lively you can almost hear and smell (ugh) it.

My pick would be “Camels and Oil Fire” maybe because I live in the region. I don’t know, but it is both beautiful and terrible, and has an ironic quietness. It just speaks to me.

I saw this one in Dublin about 10 years ago when there was a McCurry retrospective. It blew me away. Mind you that'd be the $10k blown in one ..

FWIW, I was told this was Steve’s original image before he did minor editing to create Young man walks behind elephant.


Meh, with the credible revelations about Steve McCurry (and Robert Capa, as well), I no longer enjoy the work. The first things I think looking at the elephant picture is whether he positioned the barefoot man behind, gave him the leaf to hold or took off his footwear, or cloned out a car. It's a bit like looking at new reportage from a journalist previously caught making up stories or plagiarizing: hard to get past wondering about its credibility. You know: fool me once...

This is strictly a personal preference, mind you, but retroactively calling him a photo illustrator doesn't help. If McCurry had been upfront and honest from the start that his images were set-up or altered rather than "found", my perception of his images would have been different, but that's not what happened.

Those McCurry images are outstanding, and if I were given the money and had to buy one it would be "Jodphur, India. 2007" (The photo with the running boy and foreground wall with many painted handprints). The thing is, though, even with free money I'd never buy a McCurry photograph because I'd always think he had gun decked it by adding or taking away something.

I'm sorry I feel this way, but McCurry's now widely known history of engaging in deceptive practices killed dead my interest in all of his photos.

Which is a shame, because I really liked a lot of them.

But today, I find it's impossible for me to look at any of his photos and not also wonder if, as a viewer, I am being played somehow...

"I don't even like the Afghan girl picture anymore, I don't think is great. Would it have been such a hit if the girl have had dark brown eyes? Western eyes in a little refugee, oppressed by the other Evil Empire, a recipe for success."

Western eyes??? Do you know that for millennia many Asians have had green and blue eyes?

One of the greatest photogs ever. Period.

Magnum has realized they are nearing the precipice of irrelevancy. They are bringing into their fold non PJ photographers who have a "name" to help bolster their brand. Magnum is now just a marketing machine with the soul of a Don Draper from Mad Men. McCurry's fall from grace is a sad story brought about by those I am sure are jealous of his fame. I am sure in the old days of PJ many iconic images were staged in some degree. Certainly the suffering of others was found to be a profit centre for the news media, then and now.

I only purchase images that "touch" me. I could care less who took them. I am sure there are photos of busy Indian streets just as beautiful as McCurry's that could be had for a faction of the price with the funds going to a local who probably needs it more than McCurry.

My problem is that I don't really have the room for a 20x24 or larger print in my current place. So in addition to allowing myself the luxury of a budget large enough to buy a McCurry print (I'd get Taj and Train, btw), I'd also need to get a budget for a place large enough to display it properly because it's a picture I'd want to see everyday. So I kind of wish that there were some smaller options, even if they were at the same price point.

I made the mistake of printing a 20x30 once. As much as I love the picture I printed that size, it's just too big for my single bedroom apartment. Since then, I've been content with producing 12x18 prints on my Epson P800. Indeed, I find that I've really come to love the 6x9 proof prints that I make before printing larger. Mat those to 11x14 and it's a lovely little size that looks good in small nooks and invites the viewer to come close and really ponder the detail.

Aside from my beef about the sizes offered, I'm glad that Magnum is offering this sale for those that have the budget and the wall space for this. Steve's photos have a bit of magic to them. Despite all of the recent controversies (you forgot to mention the kerfuffle stirred by Tony Northrup), he's still one my favorite photographers. Visiting the places he's been and seeing the people he's met is one of the best vicarious experiences I've had. Even if the pictures have been a bit doctored, the effect is, as you said, akin to taking in a painting. Most enjoyable.

Seems nobody can be a virgin twice.

Whether he did/does manipulate later is neither here nor there: colour and news reportage make for uncomfortable bedfellows, so best forget all hopes of some truth that, at best, depends on both angle and individual thought patterns and the inevitable results of subjectiveness. Belief in anything else is naïve at best.

Anybody who has lived in India can hardly be surprised by these photographs: they are what it is: unplanned chaos, and therein its attraction to the westerner who can leave and go home somewhere else. There is little real beauty in daily poverty, and tourist brochure atmospherics all seem to concentrate on the same few elements: the wild colours, the clothes or lack thereof and the faces of a resilient and often battered people.

I am somewhat shocked, that for the money, they are C prints, rather than pigment, (at least "Tram, Kolkata, India" is).



Is that elephant and young man picture posed? Maybe it's a decisive moment kinda shot.

OTOH, perhaps one can say, "If a picture is too perfect to be true, then it may not be true."

I'm sure they are great photos (at least in their current states).

But there has been too much negative publicity about him, some of it really unsavory, for me to be interested in owning or seeing any of his work (supposing of course, that I wanted to spend that much on a photograph- which I definitely don't).

I've had my copy of The Book sitting on my counter since the day it arrived.
The reproduction is so bad that I can't stand to look at his wonderful images.
(Incidentally, Mike, my copy of MOMA's little book "Migrant Mother" arrived yesterday after a Loooong wait. I think that you'll be pleased that I'm gifting it to a special photographer friend, along with the superb digital print that I purchased from you several years ago.)

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