Inspiration form the Masters

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    The photographer that inspires me the most is Steve McCurry.

    Steve McCurry (born April 23, 1950) is best known for his photograph, “Afghan Girl”. Mr. McCurry began studying film history cinematography and film-making at Penn State in 1968, but ended up getting a degree in theater arts and graduating Cum Laude in 1974. He became very interested in photography when he started taking pictures for the Penn State newspaper called The Daily Collegian.

    Although, he has been recipient of many awards and his work is seen in exhibitions around the world he continues to photograph for his passion of the art. His works are featured in numerous magazines around the globe. Going to the most dangerous places, which many would shy away from, is in my opinion a true token of dedication to his work. McCurry has covered many areas of international and civil conflicts, to include conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, Beirut, Cambodia, the Philippines, the Gulf War and continuing coverage of Afghanistan. His reporting for National Geographic has included Tibet, Afghanistan, Burma, India, Iraq, Yemen, Buddhism, and the temples of Angkor Wat.

    Steve McCurry has the ability to capture the essence of people in the most turbulent times or the most peaceful moments of their lives. McCurry’s most admirable talent (in my opinion) is keen ability to take the most mundane of tasks and transform them, turning it into works of art that jumps out and tells the personal pride or the cultural identity of the work being done.

    As a child in school I remember the first time I seen the photograph, “Afghan Girl”, which was taken during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. I had gone to the library just to peruse around some books of interest. As I walked by the magazine stand this picture stood out from all the others, even with some of the others that had some much corporate designed flash. It is this piece of art that started it all for me and continues to inspire me. Even today, National Geographic claims that it is still the most recognized photograph in the world. Since then I have had a camera of some sort with me.

    I have had some luck being in the military to travel to places around the world that few others have a chance to see, some of these places are remote and some are not. My only regret is not having the opportunities to document as much as I would like to. But even if I did or could have I am not sure that I would have been able to accomplish the same effects as Mr. McCurry. That is why I have chosen to further my education in photography. So that one day I too can be able to have the ability to capture life in the purest of moments, both good and bad. This is what I think has set Steve McCurry apart from others. This ability is what tells the story of his subject’s joy, sorrow, doubt, confidence, or pain. It is this ability that I aspire to achieve in my photographs. Included are a few photographical arts of my inspiration.

    Duncan Rawlinson

    Thank you for submitting your piece.

    How spectacular is this photograph?!

    Sharbat Gula, Afghan Girl, Pakistan 1984

    It’s hard to believe how much impact one single photograph can have on people?!

    I appreciate that you’ve submitted a thoughtful piece about photography. The fact that you can remember seeing that photograph as a child in school really shows just how much it has affected you. Not many people can pinpoint one single work of a single artist that has had that impact on them.

    I too remember seeing this work. My family has a subscription to national geographic and this image also effected me.

    Have you checked out his website?

    Maybe you could try contacting him and asking him to be your mentor? Crazier things have happened!

    I hope you understand this assignment wasn’t to get you to just write a piece for no reason. The goal was to force you to think about what inspires you. What motivates you?

    Having a clearer focus on where your passion for photography started will allow you to grow as a photographer and progress with a clearer focus on what you want to achieve.

    When you get a chance can you update your forum signature, maybe your name/website or facebook.


    See you on the next assignment.

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