Video: Steve McCurry On Following Your Nose

Steve McCurry 1 Minute Master Class

Magnum photographer Steve McCurry is best known for his photograph “Afghan Girl” which was featured on the cover of National Geographic magazine and quickly became one of the most famous faces of all time. In this one minute master class video, Steve talks about what it takes to find your next shot and he has excellent advice for street photographers. Hit the jump for the video.

Steve McCurry One Minute Master Class

On the surface it seems he’s talking about travel photography but it’s easy to apply this advice street photography. His message reminds me of Daido Moriyama who wanders the streets like a stray dog. Letting the people and events on street guide you without a specific destintaion. If you see something shiney go check it out. If your gut says turn left then go with it. Let the world present itself to you and always be prepared to capture the moments you see along the way.

Here’s the full text of the video:

One of the most important attributes a photographer can have or develop is a sense of curiosity about the world and the place where he or she is in at the moment. If you’re in the market or on the street in a place, you really just kind of follow your nose. Do I go left? Do I go right? What does it look like? What’s the light look like? And you just kind of go, you kind of follow your nose and kind of wander around. It’s sort of like an adventure just walking through the souks of Marrakech, or through Cairo or Delhi or Hong Kong. And the first thing you should do is just to have fun. And to really just explore a place out of your own sense of what’s interesting and what’s fun.

It’s a lot like the way a Jazz musician might navigate an improvised solo, utilizing the skill and intuition he/she has gathered through the years and letting the notes happen in a way that is neither planned or random. The street has many treasures that are undiscovered by people who travel in a straight line to their destination. But if you let the notes of the street be your guide, there’s no limit to what you can discover!

Do you wander aimlessly when you shoot on the street? Or do you set a course and stick to it no matter what? Post your ideas in the comments below and keep the conversation going!

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