McCurry – Steve the star at Nordic Light


I guess a lot of you fellow bloggers are well known with the work of Steve McCurry, not the least his very beautiful blog. The American photojournalist is one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography, having done a lot of magazine covers, over a dozen books, and countless exhibitions around the world. Last weekend he was in Norway, participating at the Nordic Light International Festival of Photography. I was there, both at the exhibition and his lecture in the evening. And it was very interesting to listen to the famous photographer.



One of the most interesting things McCurry told was that he is usually travelling light. Only one camera on the street, one lense, no flash, carrying a tripod but rarely using it. Having an extra camera of course, but not carrying two of them around. McCurry is famous for how he uses light and colours, and not the least for his portraits. At Nordic Light he told us he usually works very fast. He is looking for the moment, and they don’t last long. He is not pushing people around, directing them, but makes people feel relaxed and trusting him, and he works with intuition. He also admitted this might not do on the streets of New York, “You want to take my picture? But who the hell are you?”. In this short video McCurry tells about his portraits and that he nows prefer digital to the old rolls of film:


Quite a lot of photographers wanted their pictures taken with McCurry. Or getting a signed book or poster.



Steve McCurry told about the Afghan Girl, the young refugee who was on the cover for National Geographic in 1985. He found her again after 17 years, and life had been tough for Sharbat Gula. Both he and the National Geagraphic have since been helping the woman financially, but even that is tricky, since the people surrounding her thought that made her something of a millionaire.

Anyway, it was great to see this exhibition and listen to what McCurry had to say. I also was fortunate to take his picture, but I had to work very fast, with a lot of people pushing around for attention… More photos on this link.



85 thoughts on “McCurry – Steve the star at Nordic Light

  1. Bellissimo, eccezionale…stupendo!!
    McCurry riesce a catturare l’attimo; lo sguardo, la ruga, la luce…quello che noi si guarda distrattamente….e poi ha una buona, buonissima tecnica fotografica.
    Lui nelle “foto” che incontra ci si tuffa!

    Bel post! grazie!


  2. Awesome Bente. The photo of the Afghan girl is one of my all-time favourites. Always good to hear how these recognised photographers work. Thanks for sharing the moment with us.


  3. Lucky you to see Steve in person. I have admired his work for a very long time. One thing I know I lack is that ability to make people comfortable to have their picture taken. He does that so spectacularly well.


  4. How fortunate you are that you got to meet him, see his work, and listen to him speak! And then you got wonderful photos, too. My favorite is the large black and white. You captured him very well – and fast, just the way he works. Nicely done.


  5. His work is so amazing. So are your images here! I especially love the last portrait you took of him with the Afghan girl’s beautiful eyes behind him.


  6. Those penetrating gazes of the women are fascinating, almost as though they themselves are there with you in the crowd . . . what a wonderful evening for you all and your shots are so good. I love the understated look you have caught in Steve MCCurry’s demeanor.


  7. Åh vad roligt att läsa om mötet med honom. Nu vet jag lite till och hur känd han är och hur han ser ut. Spännande och roligt. Tack!


  8. Wow, Bente, I am so envious.
    I admire Steve McCurry’s images tremendously. He captures the wonderful light and emotion of his portrait subjects. I re-watched his National Geographic documentary of Tracing the Afghan Girl only last weekend.
    Love your post and summary of his visit to your country.

    Your photos of the visit and talk are excellent too.

    I agree with him (about having to be quick at capturing the moment). I waste too much time thinking about the shot before I take a street photograph these days.


  9. Thanks for sharing, his work is absolutely stunning, no wonder he is so well known worldwide! I love the shots you took, they present the man himself really well 😀


  10. That is a super shot Bente!
    I adore Steve’s work and his blog.and would give an arm and a leg to meet him in person! Lucky you 🙂


  11. How lucky you are! Jag blir inte lite avundsjuk…Mycket fint sista foto av honom. Hans porträtt är fantastiska och ditt reportage från eventet är flott. Skönt att höra att han försökt hjäpa flickan från Afghanistan.


  12. I love this post Bente. I didn’t know this photographer’s name, but I’m familiar with the image that he is autographing. I love your portrait of him. You truly captured his personality and intensity. Now I’m waiting for your gallery show like this one. 🙂


  13. Tak for dette indlæg, Bente. Jeg er bekendt med noget af McCurry’s arbejde. Super billeder og meget spændende.
    Mange hilsner


  14. What a terrific opportunity. I bet this was a very exciting afternoon for you and the other photographers there. He is like a celebrity among photo journalists. A marvelous display of his portraits!


  15. That is really cool, I remember seeing a documentary about him on CNN and the line that really stuck out for me: “I have taken more pictures than the afghan girl but thats what people know me for!”. He actually didn’t look comfortable speaking for some reason or is it just me? some people are just not comfortable with fame 🙂


  16. Reblogged this on Zeebra Designs & Destinations and commented:
    Returning home from a short road trip, I found this page still on my computer screen. I was surprised that no one reblogged Bente’s post – how often does one see Steve McCurry on the other end of the lens? Bente, this black and white portrait captures an amazing exchange between the two of you, and all the while those bewitching eyes watch from afar! That portrait is your finest!


  17. I remember the National Geographic with the Afghan Girl on the cover – there was something very striking and riveting about her eyes… What a great experience you had to meet Steve McCurry at the photography festival!


  18. That’s inspiring, thanks Bente. In the video he comes across as a man with much warmth and charisma, and there in your photos his eyes really engage. Your shot in bnw of him with his Afgan Girl is a classic …. get drawn into the narrative.


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