As written in my last post, The Significant Other and I spent last weekend in Zurich. We used the occasion to visit the exhibition “The world of Steve McCurry” in the Maag Halle. Those of you who have the opportunity to see this exhibition, either in Zurich or elsewhere, go! All others can join me for a quick glimpse of this awesome presentation of McCurry’s work and see some colors in the dark.
Steve McCurry is one of the greatest contemporary photographers. He is especially known for his striking, intense portrait work. But also his travel images taken on six continents portray a colorful world of experiences and emotions. His work spans war and conflict, ancient traditions, vanishing as well as contemporary cultures in equal measure. At the center of his photographs, however, is always the human being, which is what made his famous image of the Afghan girl such a powerful work.
The exhibition, conceived by the Italian Biba Giacchetti, is like an extended journey through the world of Steve McCurry. From Afghanistan to India, from Southeast Asia to Africa, from Cuba to the United States, from Brazil to Italy. The extraordinary retrospective shows, in addition to McCurry’s most recent works, his most famous images photographed during his forty-year career.
Each of his striking portraits radiates the relationship that McCurry built with his subjects prior to pressing the shutter. As in his famous portrait of the Afghan girl, it is often the eyes of the subjects that draw you into the scene and makes you feel you are right there as well, opposite of the person portrayed.
And each of his images tells a story of life, makes you longing to discover the true story behind the scenes. The exhibition comes with an audio guide, and the original, English language version is narrated by Steve McCurry himself. And he does exactly that, gives the visitor the story behind the image, how he approached the scene and photographed it. I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn from one of the masters of street-, travel- and documentary photography.
Via the audio guide, the visitor learns how Steve McCurry cumbersomely works the scene. When he sees a setting, a scene he likes, he waits patiently, until something happens that brings life, a story into the image. During his travels he comes back to the same locations many times, working with the changing light during different times of the day, or even during different seasons.
Or, as in this example, he walks for hours around famous buildings to find the fresh new view we haven’t seen before, like this shot of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.
The photographs of Steve McCurry are radiating colors, and are beautifully presented presented and lighted in this exhibition. Glowing colors in the dark. I have quite a few books from McCurry and even own a signed print of his. But seeing his work live in those beautifully illuminated big prints was something I truly enjoyed.
All photos taken with my iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Have a great Tuesday!