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Masters of Photography

Lesson 20 of 25


Steve McCurry

Masters of Photography

Steve McCurry

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Lesson Info

20. Landscape


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Meet Your Master Duration:00:47
2 The Early Years Duration:08:30
3 Going To War Duration:08:03
4 Influences: Cartier-Bresson Duration:08:29
5 Other Influences Duration:08:06
6 Tell A Story Duration:12:04
7 Conflict Zones Duration:14:13
8 Finding Subjects And Stories Duration:13:16
9 Choosing The Light Duration:12:55
15 Portraiture - 9 Key Tips Duration:08:27
17 Photographing Children Duration:12:37
18 The Afghan Girl Duration:05:59
19 Using Juxtaposition Duration:06:37
20 Landscape Duration:10:14
21 Composition Duration:06:52
22 Cityscapes Duration:08:20
23 Shoot In All Weather Duration:06:39
25 Making Pictures For A Living Duration:02:20

Lesson Info


(bright music) (bright music) (bright music) There's many different ways to approach landscape photography. There's many great landscape photographers who don't include people or animals or any living thing, and that's a very valid wonderful approach. My approach is more people on how they relate to the environment. How they interact with the landscape. So for me that's really what I'm looking for. Not so much just the mere rendition of a place to our landscape or a sunset or whatever. I really am more interested in how people relate to their environment. And to me, that's the best landscapes. So don't feel that you have to define yourself as a landscape photographer any more than you would a port photographer or wildlife photographer. I think that you can shoot anything that you want and in any way you want. Whatever interests you. You may see some incredible situation where people are playing or working or whatever with us in a broader landscape. And that's a great landscape photog...

raph. It's the people interacting with their environment. I think it's kind of a way of showing not only the landscape but also human activity. It's also maybe a way of making a portrait of somebody in an environment. So follow your intuition, follow your instincts, let your imagination and your creativity take you where it will. And don't feel encumbered to photographing this way or that way. There should be no rules and there should be no restrictions you should be free to follow your own intuition, your own instincts and let that take you where it will. (bright music) As I made this picture in Burma of what the world's largest pagoda. But what really interested me was the monastery which was just out of sight behind me and these novice monks going up to the pagoda to do some ceremony or some activity and what caught my eye was this enormous difference in scale of size between this enormous, the enormity of the the pagoda and these small little novice monks in that environment. So that this is what really intrigued me. It wasn't really so much that the landscape itself, but was how people were interacting with their space, with their environment. They happened to be wearing these maroon robes which is traditional in much of that Buddhist world. And it was a nice contrast, was a nice accent or it was a way to draw your eye to these three novice monks. so I was kind of a lucky serendipitous moment, where you had this sort of it was actually create a very nice color palette between the pagoda and then these monks kind of walking through the landscape. (bright music) This picture I made on the Afghan-Pakistan border, It's of a camel caravan kind of winding its way through this mountainous region. But to me it's really more about persistence because I had followed this caravan for more than an hour. I didn't know where they were actually going. I saw them passed by the house I was staying in, and I ran after them and I followed them. And they were on a very flat plane. And after about an hour this sort of Valley opened up, and it was getting dark and rather than continue to follow them, I just let them continue on ahead and that there's this man and the camels and the this sort of s-curve which went through which turned out to be a really wonderful picture. And what I love particularly about it, is the the man at the end with this sort of white robe which really draws your eye and the picture really kind of is the anchor. A visual anchor for the picture. I made this picture on Kodachrome which I think in my view was the best film ever made. I think the important point about this picture for me, was that I saw an interesting situation unfold and I decided to stay with it and keep photographing and that kind of the payoff was when they went down in this small valley and created this really wonderful shape I think the lesson to be learned is that persistence pays off. And if you have an instinct, if you feel something, it could possibly be interesting it's best to stay with it and to follow your instincts. (bright music) This picture of some people in Bangladesh walking along a railway track. I made on Kodachrome film during a story I was working on about the Monsoon. And what was interesting about this particular situation was that as you can see in the picture the area to the left and the right was completely flooded and the only way these villagers could get around was by using walking on the railway tracks. So I actually followed walked with them from one village to the next. As we walked by I photograph them and this was a rainy afternoon. It was raining intermittently and they had their umbrellas open, and I thought it really was a nice graphically interesting picture with them kind of silhouetted against the sky. What works in this picture for me is the simplicity of the background and the fact that the one person sort of trust in color happens to be sort of separate from the group. And your eye source tends to go to him dressed in his colorful shirt and the umbrellas are up above the horizon. So graphically, I think there's a simplicity to it. I think the shapes of the people are kind of you know have a nice contrast with the background but you know the simplicity the color palette, I think is important. Sometimes when there's too much color, your eyes gets confused and you can't kind of follow the picture. (bright music) I think this gives a good sense of place. I think we see the pier and the fisherman at the end of the day. You know this sort of mudflats out there. I think it's quite a nice scene. (bright music) (bright music) So he was coming onto this pier with his nuts and there's all these sticks coming out of the water, and I thought if I waited until he cleared their sticks that was it sort of the background is clean here so his shape would be distinct as opposed to kind of lost in all those that graphic chaos all that noise. So right in this area is a nice clean background. so I was gonna waiting for him to come into that view. (bright music) So we're here with the fishermen. This is a incredibly old fishing boat. So right now it's at low tide, so the this boat is kind of sitting on the mud. It's like I want to get a picture of him through the glass of this old boat. (camera shuttering) Yeah I like the colors. The colors are kind of red, white and blue. It's kind of an interesting. And this is a great face. Trying to show something more than just the face. Some kind of a something to do with the environment. That's really wonderful But this guy has a great face, so I'm just going to shoot a few more pictures.

Class Description

Steve McCurry has been one of the most important voices in contemporary photography for more than thirty years. Masters of Photography is bringing Steve’s class to CreativeLive to share the learnings from his iconic career. Steve will teach how to:

  • Find a subject to photograph
  • How to shoot in all types of weather condition
  • Understand the light at different times of day
  • Improve your compositional skills
  • Blend into the environment so that you can capture impactful street images
  • Use his 8 key tips in order to capture the best portraits

Watch and learn with Steve as you accompany him through the fishing villages of Portugal and in the vibrant streets of Havana. See for yourself how he creates images, as he shares ideas and experiences, and explains how to make great photographs. Steve will also suggest some projects for you to try for yourself.

You can use any device from camera phone to’s all about the image and storytelling.


Adriana L-G

For me this is not a class, is more the photographer talking about his photos and his experience. It is a little repetitive but I enjoyed. From Masters of Photography I loved Joel Meyerowitz's class and I recommend it strongly. In case you need to choose.