Monday, June 15, 2009

An Evening with Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry on "Celebrating Multiculturalism Through Photography"
I was checking out something on the 24 KL-ites project and suddenly came across a post, which said Steve McCurry will be presenting on June 15th. Steve McCurry!!! Yeah! I know that name. He took that great portrait called "The Afghan Girl". One of the greatest image makers of our time is here, in KL.. How can I not go??

Before starting the engine, I thought it would be a good idea to tell my photog friend Ripi to reserve a seat for me. McCurry will be presenting in Central Market Annex Gallery which is not a difficult place to go at that hour. But I decided to go early. When I finished parking, Ripi replied, "Dude, no seat can be reserved! House Full!!"

Cursing myself, I rushed to the annex gallery. Indeed the house was full. The organizers were refusing entry. Eventually they had some mercy on me and allowed me to seat on the balcony. Lucky for me, it was the right place for shooting as nothing was blocking my view.

McCurry's talk entitled "Celebrating Multiculturalism Through Photography ". Although the title was a no-joke thing, McCurry presented himself as a very informal speaker and encouraged the audience to shoot him with whatever came to their minds.

He presented a series of photos taken in the last 30 years and revealed the story behind. He expressed his deep affection for South and Southeast Asia. He has been to India roughly 85 times so far and frequently visited the rest of the South Asian countries.

McCurry took most of his shots in Kodachrome 64. He was reluctant to switch to digital. Eventually, 2 years back, he did as he found out digital can stop action even in very low light. He used to carry 5 lenses, but now-a-days he prefers his 24-70mm zoom. It is said that he used a tripod almost always.

When asked about the problems of street photography, McCurry recalled the incident in Delhi where he had to surrender his film to a angry mob.

Before closing, the great image maker retold the story of Sharbat Gula, the famous Afghan Girl.

I was planning to bring a NatGeo to get autographed but decided not to at the last minute. At the end, I found all the guest rushing toward McCurry, each with a copy of NatGeo. I felt like slapping myself. What an idiot I am!!!!

Sharbat Gula (left), McCurry in Afghan Dress (Right)

(ফ্লিকারের জন্য লেখা, তাই ইংরেজিতে)

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