Inspiration and Intuition

What inspires me?  Henri Cartier Bresson’s work has been an inspiration to me, but people living their everyday lives inspire me too. 

Fishermen cleaning nets, families sharing meals and celebrations, artisans crafting their wares, nomads continually on the move; even the most seemingly mundane activities can be inspirational when you look beneath the surface.

People ask me how I can identify the best moment to take a photograph.  I tell them that it is intuitive and reflexive.  You’re never sure of the moment because you’re always looking and anticipating.  You’re never quite sure when the moment is right, because it can either peak or evaporate.

11 Responses to “Inspiration and Intuition”

  1. Uwielbiam twojego bloga jest rewelacyjny.Pozdrawiam

  2. Was Henri Cartier Bresson’s the only photographer that inspired you?

  3. Biffie Says:

    Hi Steve, you work has been a massive inspiration to me throughout my first college year, I am now begging my second and I’m planning on doing a large research piece on you and your incredibly inspirational work. Could you please give me the names of more photographers that have inspired you? Thanks so much

  4. Linda Ozag Says:

    I put my camera away. Something happened after looking at your images, an overwhelming sadness. I am returning to cooking until this feeling passes.

  5. Musleh Jameel Says:

    Oh man, every single photo you take–inspires me. I used to repeat what you had said “We photographers say that we “take” a picture, and in a certain sense that is true. We take something from people’s lives, but in doing so, we tell their story.”
    And I’m glad that you have a blog to communicate with you and keep hearing about your news.
    Please stay well and keep doing the good stuff

  6. Dear Steve,
    You are the one who inspires me the most and I think you have started an era in colour photography… Though HCB is great but I get more inspired by your works.

    I have a query, though I am not a journalist, but I do travel a lot around the world…

    1. You know there are situations you might face in your daily life; suppose there’s an incident taken place in front of your eyes and you know that you should capture that moment and let the world know about it, simultaneously at that very moment it will better not to take the pictures and rather help. What should the photographer do?

    2. Currently I am in a Himalayan nation here everyday I feel that I should make a story based of the miseries of the people out here, but my hands are bound and I just can’t do it. What should a photographer do in these kind of situations?

    Expecting your reply:)

    Regards to the Master..


    • stevemccurry Says:

      These are profound questions that need some time to answer. I am on assignment in a remote part of India at the moment, but I will answer these as soon as I can.

      • Thanks Steve… will wait fro your reply eagerly..


      • Steve McCurry Says:

        This hypothetical question really needs to be answered on a case by case basis. It’s impossible to generalize. Obviously if it is a question of saving somebody’s life or taking the picture, you would save their life but the reality is that it’s never that black or white. Clearly though, if there’s a question, put the camera down and help.

  7. Dear Mr. McCurry,

    We have something in common. We both love the good old man Bresson and we both love people living living their everyday lives.

    But you know, sir, what inspires me the most? It’s you and the great website you have. Whenever I want to get happy, whenever I want inspiration, whenever I want some encouragement, and whenever I want a ‘booster’, I just come online and surf your website. It’s a different world, I must say, and that’s because of the photographs you have taken. I love HCB sure, may his soul rest in peace, but I’ll tell you one thing: to me, you’re the greatest photographer I’ve seen.

    You inspire me. Thank you so much.


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