Last Thursday [November 3rd] we had the chance to take part to an informal talking with Steve McCurry in Madrid at the Ivorypress Gallery. No doubts that McCurry is a true legend of photography and he’s still working: a book titled On Reading has just been published.
During an hour spent in his company, McCurry talks about Sharat Gula, the Afghan girl of his absolutely-most-known portrait he made in 1984: she’s just been imprisoned and her medical conditions are critical.
He admits that he keeps on shooting, with any cameras, and with his mobile too, that has never enough space! And he’s always travelling, for example last year he probably spent at home 6 weeks.
Somebody asks him if he’s never missing the film, and McCurry answers that the film has been a priceless tool in that moment, but honestly, “I love digital”! Laughing, he admits he had missed so many photos during his film years, shots taken in specific light conditions that he considered perfect at that moment, but the final print resulted out of focus. He says: “Today with the digital I do not run this risk anymore”.
He mentions a reportage made in Italy some years ago, Sensational Umbria, and recalls the small city of Norcia, today a victim of the heart quake.
At the end somebody asks the “frequently asked” question: “Any advice for the aspiring photographers?”. McCurry answers, with his typical friendly mood: “If you’d wanna be a writer, I’ll suggest you to read and write a lot. If you’d wanna be a musician, I’ll suggest you to attend to as may concerts as possible, and to exercise everyday. So, if you’d wanna be a photographer, study the pictures of the great photographers, learn, and then shoot, shoot and shoot again. And don’t forget to print the pictures you take because you can learn a lot watching them outside a monitor.”