Photo: Steve McCurry
You may not recognize his name, but if you're familiar with National Geographic, you know his photography. At least this photo...
Steve McCurry is an award winning American photojournalist who's covered a number of armed conflicts in the Middle-East and Asia. He is by far one of my favorite photographers, and one of the best known today.
His unique style and technique can be more easily broken down when you look at his portraiture.
McCurry spent his formative years as a photographer in India, where he saw vibrant colors in festivals all year around. Because of his exposure to all these colors he developed an excellent sense of the way colors interact and complement one another. This can be seen in many of his portraits.
Secondly, McCurry utilizes perspective in much of his photography. This perspective is almost always accompanied by a shallow depth of field (blurry backgrounds) in his portraiture. You can tell that he's a photojournalist because of this detail. In photojournalism you capture the parts of the scene that are most relevant to tell the overall story. Here he captures and entire theater with something playing in the background, which provides the association with the man in the photo. This is an important tool in the arsenal of the photojournalist and one of the main reasons perspective is so important in story telling.
One of my favorite elements in McCurry's photography is the amount of human connection that he's able to convey in his photos. It requires you to capture a feeling or an emotion, at just the right moment. This is by far one of the hardest things to do as a photographer. My cousin's brother-in-law Peter Hurley, is a professional head shot photography in NYC, and he's constantly saying that he is "10% photographer and 90% therapist". Capturing a human connection in photo, requires you to connect with them as well.
There are so many things that make his photography great, take a look bellow and ask yourself why it is that you like it.