Art, Photography

Joint Article on “A Night with Steve McCurry”

An article I and my associate editor wrote for The Duster Today. It is a reflection on an event with and the works of one of my idols. Here is a link to the article: http://www.thedustertoday.com/entertainment/story/article/mccurry-shares-photographic-experiences-with-lubbock-fans.html


The Text:

McCurry Shares Photographic Experiences with Lubbock Fans
Steve McCurry is an American photojournalist best known for his photograph, “Afghan Girl” that originally appeared in National Geographic magazine. Mr. McCurry made an appearance in Lubbock last week and Duster editor, Adam Schrader, along with associate editor, Jordan Goings, attended the event and met with the world-class photographer.

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Photojournalist Steve McCurry (center) is pictured with Duster editor Adam Schrader and associate editor Jordan Goings.
Guest of honor, Steve McCurry, spoke to an upbeat, responsive audience that filled the auditorium of the Texas Tech Student Union Building last Friday night. Mr. McCurry spoke with a jokingly, light sense of humor to lighten the darkest, most cruel photographs from around the world. He started off by showing the audience some beloved and influential photographs from history. He then showed us several photos of his own, including photos from 9/11, the recent Japanese tsunami, and a plethora from various Afghani wars – including the infamous “Afghan Girl.” He revealed great insight into every photograph he presented, bringing us to his stories from around the world and other cultural humans traditions. He showed us tragedy, loss, grief – but also hope, love, and joy. The beauty of his photos is that in order to truly experience them, we must feel for those who have lost loved ones to disease, war, terrorism and natural disasters.

We couldn’t help feel our heartstrings being pulled at looking into the eyes of the photographed. His photos showed us how others live under totalitarian and authoritarian rule, live in poverty, live through war, and live through droughts, or any other of the infinite hardships throughout humanity. The audience was moved by his ability to capture the souls of others and the ability to see us in the eyes of another. We wept for the vindictive reality others encounter, the ruthless souls, as well as laughed finding the comical essence captured, and we were awed by the endearing photos that make our hearts smile.

Following the presentation was a short Q&A with the audience. A member from the audience asked Mr. McCurry if he had ever been scared for his life. He smiled and simply replied as if he has told this story many times … “(I was in Yugoslavia) flying in a small two-seater aircraft, the pilot went very close to the water. (The wheel went into the water) and we flipped. It was February, in the Alpine lake. So, you can imagine the temperature. I don’t know how I managed to get out of the aircraft, but I did.”

Another audience member asked McCurry how he separates photography and his emotions.

Mr. McCurry slightly hesitated, shifted his weight, took a deep breath and said, “You have to be … ” as his voice trailed. “Credibility is everything. Try and keep your own, you get emotionally involved …” he continued as he looked down, trying to find the words. “It’s like being a surgeon. It’s life. Things happen and when they do you have to come in the next day and soldier on,” he said profoundly, concluding this response. And with this, we all uneasily understood what he meant.

The call and response between McCurry and his captivated audience continued. One of the final questions, and particularly surprising, was that considering all the places McCurry visited, he was embarrassed to admit he only knew one language – his own.

After a few more questions, he wrapped up. The event concluded with a book signing by Mr. McCurry after the Q&A. He signed posters of his most famous photographs, books, and other miscellaneous objects – such as two gals’ forearms that they were overly proud of. He took pictures, shook hands, and couldn’t have been more delighted to interact with his fans. The signing ended before 9 p.m. as he was off to Fiji at 5 a.m. the next morning. It was an honor to be present and listen to Steve McCurry as he shared with us his wonderful life through pictures around the globe.

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