Steve McCurry's One-Minute Masterclass #6

Legendary photographer's advice for happy snappers and shutterbugs: #6: ‘How to fit in and shoot on the street'


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How many times have you visited a less economically developed nation than your own, marvelled at the exotic street life then tried to photograph it and come a cropper? Either you felt too self-conscious to pull out a camera, or the photos you took didn’t have anything like the flavour and colour you experienced. Or, worse still, maybe the locals reacted angrily to your presence and an altercation ensued. 

In our latest Steve McCurry One-Minute Masterclass, the legendary Magnum photographer reveals how to go about shooting in such situations and make sure you come away with ‘artistic integrity’ (and bodily functions) intact.

Steve McCurry, Kabul (1992), AfghanistanSteve McCurry, Kabul (1992), Afghanistan

McCurry, of course, is no strange to shooting in challenging situations and coming back with photos where most others would have held back for fear of how to handle things. One of his most famous photographs, Widow, Vrindavan, India (1995) is a great example.

Steve McCurry, <em>Widow, Vrindavan, India</em> (1995)Steve McCurry, Widow, Vrindavan, India (1995)

“I was walking down the street in this town called Vrindavan. And I caught sight of this lady hunched over. I started following her and eventually she saw us and we started talking. She explained that she was a widow and had been living in this town for the past 70 years in this ashram. Her family had abandoned her because she was a child bride. I found her to be such an inspiration - someone who’d had such bad luck in her life and this disorder but with a wonderful sense of humour and a very giving personality.” 

Steve McCurry, <em>Child Holding Hands</em> (1999), Hajjah, YemenSteve McCurry, Child Holding Hands (1999), Hajjah, Yemen

It’s about having that kind of confidence coupled with the practical local knowledge of a guide that Steve talks about in the masterclass - “somebody who knows the culture - then you’re a little more free. Somebody to watch your back and see the scene as it unfolds.”

Watch the remainder of the series here:

McCurry's One-Minute Masterclass #1
McCurry's One-Minute Masterclass #2
McCurry's One-Minute Masterclass #3
McCurry’s One-Minute Masterclass #4
McCurry's One-Minute Masterclass #5
McCurry's One-Minute Masterclass #7
McCurry's One-Monute Masterclass #8
McCurry's One-Minute Masterclass #9
McCurry's One-Minute Masterclass #10

For a closer look behind the photographs follow the link to Revealed - the true story behind the Afghan 'Mona Lisa'.

For more from Steve McCurry view his memories of 9/11 and follow the link to buy Steve McCurry’s Iconic Photographs.

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