Steve McCurry’s Legacy – Witch Hunt? Form your own opinion. I have formed mine


There has been a great deal of controversy concerning Steve McCurry’s Legacy which you can read about at this link.  You will see at the bottom of the article that the comments are not in favor of the author.

The author as far as I am concerned is properly named and you can find his name in the article.  His credentials in the world of photo journalism are pretty minor and it seems to me that there is a whole lot of jealousy on his part in an attempt to destroy the reputation of a rather high-ranking photo journalist.  It almost appears that the writer is on a quest for self-importance which more than likely find him less readers in the future.  He has played his very weak hand and he will have to pay up eventually.  I for one have banned him from my reading list.  You should too. Just my opinion.

I am a photographer and for many years I was a true advocate feeling that any image had to be terrific out of the camera to ever get published.  I firmly believed that parts of an image and most certainly those done for journalism should never be altered in such a way for artistic purposes by removing content.

For as long as I can remember, and I am 73 years old, photographers either in a darkroom or on a computer have enhanced tones and color which the camera with film or the camera with a sensor could not get quite right.  In the digital world software alters a small amount of distortion because of their physical makeup.

It seems to me that there is a concerted effort on the part of the linked article to demean the excellent work of Steve McCurry.  Somehow the act of discovery and critique have become a very unfortunate WITCH HUNT on the part of the writer.

I am not for or against Mr. McCurry’s portfolio of excellent work.  I do not know him personally, and I have not really followed his career but I do read a lot on the internet and having viewed his so called “altered works” as shown in the linked article I can not see in any way, shape or form that he did anything to his images that good in camera processing of jpegs by a cameras own software does.

I do not see anything so radically changed in Photoshop or Lightroom that the software might do on its own.  All images one way or another might get changed.  Even now and for many years images were altered in the darkroom by burning and dodging and in some instances using poly contrast papers and filters to either enhance or diminish certain parts of the image on paper.

I still believe that to remove or add content to an image is wrong when it involves photo journalism which should show the truth, the whole truth. Photo journalism is a reporting mechanism and not an artistic endeavor. I have not yet seen any conclusive evidence to date that Mr. McCurry did anything but enhance color, detail, and tonal ranges to make the image be more eye-catching to the viewer.  It may well be that some of his gallery work for the purpose of artistic expression had parts of an original image removed or altered, but the key word here is artistic expression and not photo journalism story telling.

To trash Mr. McCurry’s reputation in an attempt to make his photo reporting irrelevant and untruthful is a disgrace in my opinion.  Those who continue to harass him and demean him are the real phony, untrustworthy journalists looking for the next hot headline to make THEIR WORK MORE IMPORTANT.

Perhaps those blog sites, editors, writers, should come under more scrutiny for some of the damning things they write with no facts to back them up.


2 thoughts on “Steve McCurry’s Legacy – Witch Hunt? Form your own opinion. I have formed mine

  1. Another article from a Jealous and phony was written here. His work is extremely not impressive at all which explains his feeling on someone who comes to his country to story tell through photographs and is more popular and famous than he is. Shame Shame.

    My name is Elliot Stern and I have been involved in many ways in the photography industry since 1968 as an adult, and for many years as a photographer’s offspring. I have read several articles in regards to McCurry and while you state you are not bashing him, actually you are.

    I have to ask you a question. If you are shooting digital, do you take the image straight out of camera in the Jpeg format and put it immediately on your site, in your galleries, as well as any other media. When you shoot video, do you present it as it was shot or do you edit it in some kind of video editing software.

    Are you aware, that your digital camera manipulates the image you viewed in your viewfinder or on your LCD screen. So it is not as it appeared. It is what the camera thinks it should be. That said, different films give a subject different looks. So a decision on the choice of film does represent a form of manipulation. As an example, Fuji Velvia vs. Fuji Astia.

    In the same way you can also alter the way a digital camera processes an image. Over expose, under expose, choose the dynamic range, the color rendition, etc.

    Putting all these things together you are manipulating all of your images in one form or another to achieve a look you want. So even if you only used an unaltered jpeg image, in truth it has been altered by your hand.

    If you edit a video are you not changing the story to fit your needs? Or are you simply dropping your video into the media as shot. If you are not dropping it as shot then you are manipulating the video to suit your personal needs.

    So where are you different. You are story telling, and even if you say it is factual, it is not.

    So you are really on your personal witch hunt because perhaps McCurry’s work is more accepted in India as opposed yours.

    One of the most famous photographers in the world is Ansel Adams. Did he not alter the images he shot in his darkroom. He burned and dodged and cropped all of his beautiful work. Does that make him an untruthful person in the world of images.

    Shame on you. I am sure if I investigate your work under a very careful eye I shall come up with things you would prefer not be told.


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