On color

People often ask about why I shoot primarily in color.

Most of the time I’m not looking for color pictures. I am looking for something interesting, for a vignette that tells a story, something that reveals an element of humanity. Color is secondary.

Often you need just two or three colors. I think there’s a balance between having something completely monochromatic and having over-the-top color that is just too much or has too many different colors.

A red bucket in the background can spoil a color picture. A red bucket in a black and white photograph is a gray object. You have to edit yourself as you shoot. In some ways shooting black and white is easier because you don’t have that extra problem of color to solve.

There must be a flow and a balance not only of color but also of composition. Then there comes a point at which things make sense and come to rest.

3 Responses to “On color”

  1. Mr McCurry, I just wanted to say that I am using you as an artist model for my assignment this year at school! : D
    And your work is just sooooo good! I love it so much! I only found out about it this year, but it has really touched me to the bottom of my heart!
    But yeah, i just wanted to say that, and let you know that you are really making a mark on the generations to come.
    (edited)

  2. I do not totally agree with Mr Soham Gupta. B&W usually tell a story without distraction. It reveal a story with emotion and fact, in it’s essence and with a touch of distance that the storyteller use (like a writer who use the past tense in is text).

    Both are expression of a “vision” as would say David duChemin.

  3. Soham Gupta Says:

    You’re right, Mr. McCurry, shooting in color is definately much, much more difficult. But you should also acknowledge the fact, that there’s also an unique charm in b/w photography. To me, it unifies everything and everyone under a single roof. And that, I find fascinating.

    But I must also say, that color is also very interesting. There are layers and shades of the story, behind the photograph, that you can read, through color. While, on the other hand, the real story behind the photograph, is usually hidden in b/w photography.

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