Steve McCurry’s magic India moments – Glamorous & worrying

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

Why Steve McCurry is fascinated with India

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 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.

Different aspects of India

Visually, India is an incredibly rich and diverse country, meaning 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 many societal issues to uncover and highlight. McCurry’s images of India cover almost 30 years of work.

India’s ancient spirit

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

What makes his work special

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.

Steve McCurry Portrait
Steve McCurry during flood

Video: Interview with Steve McCurry

24 min 56 sec

Steve McCurry’s style

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.

Photos

Dust storm
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

Video: Steve McCurry unpacks Dust Storm, Rajasthan, India

1 min 50 sec
Festivals
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 - 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
Monsoon
Steve McCurry - Tailor carries his sewing machine through monsoon floodwaters
Steve McCurry – Tailor carries his sewing machine through monsoon floodwaters
Steve McCurry - India
Steve McCurry – India
Steve McCurry - Pedicabs in a flooded street, Varanasi, India, 1983
Steve McCurry – Pedicabs in a flooded street, Varanasi, India, 1983
Steve McCurry - Banana Cart, Bombay, India, 1993
Steve McCurry – Banana Cart, Bombay, India, 1993
Portaits
Steve McCurry - Rajasthan, India 2
Steve McCurry – Rajasthan, India
Steve McCurry - Rajasthan, India
Steve McCurry – Rajasthan, India
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 - Man covered in powder, Rajasthan, India, 2009
Steve McCurry – Man covered in powder, Rajasthan, India, 2009
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 - Mother and Child at Car Window, Bombay:Mumbai, India, 1993
Steve McCurry – Mother and Child at Car Window, Bombay/Mumbai, India, 1993
Steve McCurry - Portrait Photographer, 1992
Steve McCurry – Portrait Photographer, 1992
Trains
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 - Delhi, India
Steve McCurry – Delhi, India
Others
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 - 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 - 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 - Mahouts sleep with their elephant
Steve McCurry – Mahouts sleep with their elephant
Steve McCurry - Man dries fabric near the Taj Mahal
Steve McCurry – Man dries fabric near the Taj Mahal

All images by Steve McCurry unless otherwise noted.

 

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