Archive: Art in Asia and by Asian artists
Glamorous and worrying: Steve McCurry’s magic India moments

Glamorous and worrying: Steve McCurry’s magic India moments

Steve McCurry - Holu, a festival that welcomes spring, is celebrated with public spraying of colorful powders. Rajasthan, India, 1996
Steve McCurry – Holu, a festival that welcomes spring, is celebrated with public spraying of colorful powders. Rajasthan, India, 1996

Photographer Steve McCurry has been traveling to various parts of the globe photographing and capturing different subjects and people. His photography has led him down hidden pathways and streets searching for what he calls the magic moment, which is when color, light, and emotion work together in perfect harmony to create a beautiful picture. His search is usually long and could take him weeks. However, of all the places in the world that McCurry has traveled to and resided in, none fascinates him more than India. According to the artist, India has supplied him with more opportunities and magic moments than he has ever experienced in any part of the globe.

Visually, India is an incredibly rich and diverse country, which means that there is no shortage of beautiful things and people to capture. Additionally, as there is a huge disparity between the rich and the poor, there are a lot of societal issues to uncover and highlight. McCurry’s images of India cover almost 30 years of work.

His images of India strive to cover the large country and its massive numbers of people, as well as the different cultures of its people. McCurry always returned to India because the country remained mostly unchanged regardless of the endless technological advancements that have occurred through the years. The ancient spirit in India is what helped the photographs to come alive because, without it, most of his images would have been generic at best in any other location.

His photographs are well varied from unknown winding staircases to sandstorms in the Rajasthani desert. McCurry’s colorful photographs helped to show India in a new light. In tandem with his book Steve McCurry: India, the artist has managed to leave a lasting impression on the world that will inspire thousands of new photographers to travel to unexplored lands.

One signature element of McCurry that makes his works stand out is his portrait-like style. His subjects seem to stare unashamedly at the camera as if they have had a lasting relationship with the photographer. For this reason, his photographs are candid and appear to have some close intimacy that obviously does not exist between the photographer and his subjects. The images that McCurry has collected over the last thirty years have continued to grow in popularity probably because they represent a genuine panorama of the often misunderstood state. Both glamorous and worrying, McCurry’s images have forced people to truly question their role in society as well as their contributions to it.

Steve McCurry - Tailor carries his sewing machine through monsoon floodwaters
Steve McCurry – Tailor carries his sewing machine through monsoon floodwaters

Steve McCurry - Mother and Child at Car Window, Bombay:Mumbai, India, 1993
Steve McCurry – Mother and Child at Car Window, Bombay:Mumbai, India, 1993

Steve McCurry - India
Steve McCurry – India

Steve McCurry - Camels in dust storm, India, 2010
Steve McCurry – Camels in dust storm, India, 2010

Steve McCurry - Cluster of women during a dust storm, Rajasthan, India, 1983
Steve McCurry – Cluster of women during a dust storm, Rajasthan, India, 1983

Steve McCurry - Dust storm, Rajasthan, 1983
Steve McCurry – Dust storm, Rajasthan, 1983

Steve McCurry - A villager participating in the festival of Holi, Rajasthan, India, 1996
Steve McCurry – A villager participating in the festival of Holi, Rajasthan, India, 1996

Steve McCurry - Villagers participating in the Holi Festival, Rajasthan, India, 1996
Steve McCurry – Villagers participating in the Holi Festival, Rajasthan, India, 1996

Steve McCurry - Rajasthan, India 2
Steve McCurry – Rajasthan, India

Steve McCurry - Rajasthan, India
Steve McCurry – Rajasthan, India

Steve McCurry - Bicycles hang on the side of a train traveling from Dacca to Peshawar, West Bengal, India. April 1993
Steve McCurry – Bicycles hang on the side of a train traveling from Dacca to Peshawar, West Bengal, India. April 1993

Steve McCurry - Agra, India
Steve McCurry – Agra, India

Steve McCurry - Taj Mahal and train, Agra, 1983
Steve McCurry – Taj Mahal and train, Agra, 1983

Steve McCurry - Stepwell, India, 2002
Steve McCurry – Stepwell, India, 2002

Steve McCurry - Stepwell and birds, India, 2012
Steve McCurry – Stepwell and birds, India, 2012

Steve McCurry - Ganesh Chaturthi Festival, India, 1994
Steve McCurry – Ganesh Chaturthi Festival, India, 1994

Steve McCurry - Kumbh Mela Festival, Allahabad, 2001
Steve McCurry – Kumbh Mela Festival, Allahabad, 2001

Steve McCurry - Pedicabs in a flooded street, Varanasi, India, 1983
Steve McCurry – Pedicabs in a flooded street, Varanasi, India, 1983

Steve McCurry - Blue City, India, 2010
Steve McCurry – Blue City, India, 2010

Steve McCurry - Boy in mid flight, Jodphur, India, 2007
Steve McCurry – Boy in mid flight, Jodphur, India, 2007

Steve McCurry - Man carrying statue of Ganesh into the Indian Ocean, Mumbai, India, 1993
Steve McCurry – Man carrying statue of Ganesh into the Indian Ocean, Mumbai, India, 1993

Steve McCurry - An elderly man from the Rabari Tribe, Rajasthan, India, 2010
Steve McCurry – An elderly man from the Rabari Tribe, Rajasthan, India, 2010

Steve McCurry - A grandson takes orders to fetch water, Jodhpur, India, 1996
Steve McCurry – A grandson takes orders to fetch water, Jodhpur, India, 1996

Steve McCurry - Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, 1999
Steve McCurry – Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, 1999

Steve McCurry - Banana Cart, Bombay, India, 1993
Steve McCurry – Banana Cart, Bombay, India, 1993

Steve McCurry - Delhi, India
Steve McCurry – Delhi, India

Steve McCurry - Mahouts sleep with their elephant
Steve McCurry – Mahouts sleep with their elephant

Steve McCurry - Man covered in powder, Rajasthan, India, 2009
Steve McCurry – Man covered in powder, Rajasthan, India, 2009

Steve McCurry - Man dries fabric near the Taj Mahal
Steve McCurry – Man dries fabric near the Taj Mahal

Steve McCurry - Mumbai, India
Steve McCurry – India

Steve McCurry - Painted Boy, Bombay, India, 1996
Steve McCurry – Painted Boy, Bombay, India, 1996

Steve McCurry - Three men, Jodhpur, India, 1996
Steve McCurry – Three men, Jodhpur, India, 1996

Steve McCurry Portrait
Portrait of Steve McCurry


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Homelessness and the sense of having a home

Homelessness and the sense of having a home

I-Hsuen Chen – Still Life Analysis II - The Island 1
I-Hsuen ChenStill Life Analysis II – The Island, Taipei, Taiwan

I-Hsuen Chen is a photographer, artist, and filmmaker that was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan but is now based in Brooklyn, New York. As a photographer, Chen is well known for surveying and photographing foreign objects such as garbage as the main subjects of his photographs. In Still Life Analysis II: The Island, I-Hsuen Chen continues his survey of garbage and unfamiliar objects, which started in his first exhibition titled The Still Life Analysis. In both series, Chen concentrates on collections of typical household objects that a homeless person would have beneath the Civic Boulevard.

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Chinese artist in suit made from raw meat (video)

Chinese artist in suit made from raw meat (video)

Zhang Huan - My New York, 2002
Zhang HuanMy New York, 2002, Whitney Biennial, New York

Zhang Huan (张洹) is one of China’s best known conceptual and performance artists. In his sculptures and paintings he references the history of his home country. As such, his pieces contain components of political, religious and intellectual messages as well as anonymous portraits and landscapes scenes. Most of his works have mainly been used to promote Chinese culture and to spread a message with the intention of sanitizing the city. In particular, the issue of toilets is very dear to him and it has helped him create one of his most famous performance pieces.

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This video got banned from the Guggenheim Museum

This video got banned from the Guggenheim Museum

Sun Yuan and Peng Yu - Dogs Which Cannot Touch Each Other, 2003
Sun Yuan and Peng YuDogs Which Cannot Touch Each Other, 2003, 8 Bull Terriers, 8 Running Machines Without Drive

The video work titled Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other has only recently been removed from Guggenheim Museum’s exhibition series known as Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World. The video series has been met with disapproval and disparagement not only by some art critics but animal lovers and welfare organizations as well. Critics claim that the exhibition would have featured a series of various distinct video presentations depicting instances of unmistakable and unacceptable animal cruelty in the name of art.

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Pumpkins & Tulips – Yayoi Kusama’s most outstanding public sculptures

Pumpkins & Tulips – Yayoi Kusama’s most outstanding public sculptures

Yayoi Kusama - Pumpkin, 1994, Benesse Art Site, Naoshima, Japan
Yayoi KusamaPumpkin, 1994, Benesse Art Site, Naoshima, Japan

Celebrating her 90th birthday in 2019, Yayoi Kusama is a leading Japanese artist and legend as far as art is concerned. While she deliberately makes unique pieces that can withstand the wear and tear of the outdoors, she is renowned for reproducing her art in monumental scale when need be. Her career spans over 6 decades and during this time her works have managed to enter the collection of museums such as the New York MoMA, LACMA, Tate Modern and others.

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Impressive photos of massive industrial landscapes show China’s transformation

Impressive photos of massive industrial landscapes show China’s transformation

Edward Burtynsky - Manufacturing #17, Deda Chicken Processing Plant, Dehui City, Jilin Province, 2005
Edward BurtynskyManufacturing #17, Deda Chicken Processing Plant, Dehui City, Jilin Province, China, 2005

For Edward Burtynsky, photography is much more than immortalizing a scene; while his focus is on taking photos, he is keen on sharing his point of view with the rest of the world. One of the most outstanding aspects of his works is his ability to connect to the real world. China for instance is a massive country, comprised of 3.7-million-square-miles of manufacturing landscape and that means people are busy all the time. What is a picture of China without a hint of humanity? The many pictures Burtynsky has taken of China appear to be carefully thought out; each one makes use of a location that not only captures what is happening on a large-scale, but also the people who make it happen.

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Walking the length of the Great Wall of China only to break up

Walking the length of the Great Wall of China only to break up

 Marina Abramovic - The Lovers - The Great Wall Walk
Marina AbramovicThe Lovers: The Great Wall Walk (still), 1988/2008, performed for 90 days along The Great Wall of China. 16mm film transferred to two-channel video

Artists Marina Abramovic and Ulay are known in many parts of the world as the lovers whose relationship ended at the Great Wall of China. Initially, when the couple planned the trip, they intended to get married at the center of the wall. However, it was years later when the couple finally acquired all the authorization required from the Chinese government and were able to raise funds for the projected. Sadly, by then, the couple’s 12-year relationship has crumbled and what started out as a marriage celebration turned into last goodbyes for the couple. The couple had planned to be the first people to walk the entirety of the Great Wall, however, they were beaten to the punch by a Chinese railway clerk.

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