Reflections on Portraiture

 What could be more simple and more complex,
more obvious and more profound than a portrait.
– Charles Baudelaire 


Los Angeles, California, USA, 1991, USA-10023Portraits_BookPORTRAITS_BookLos Angeles, California, United States

As human beings we are fascinated with how we and others look.
Diane Arbus talked about the gap between intention and effect as revealed in portraiture.
People put on make-up and adorn themselves because they want to create an effect and
give a certain impression, but often other people look at them and say it’s tragic or comical or curious or funny or odd.
Portraiture can be that kind of sharp critique.


00008_11, Kabul, Afghanistan, 2002Kabul, Afghanistan

A good portrait is one that says something about the person. 
We usually see parts of ourselves in others, so the
good portrait should also say something about the human condition.

01512 031Mizoram, India


Most of my portraits are not formal situations;
they are found situations. 

Restaurant, Kunduz, Afghanistan, 2002, final book_iconicBamiyan, Afghanistan

The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and
the eyes mark its intentions.
– Marcus Tullius Cicero




There is no single form or style of portraiture.
Portraiture means individualism and as such means diversity,
self-expression, private point of view.

The most successful images seem to be those which exist on several planes at once …
– Peter Bunnell


ETHIOPIA-10235 (1)Ethiopia

A true portrait should today and a hundred years from today, be the
testimony of how this person looked and what kind of human being he was.
 Philippe Halsman





INDIA-11525 (1)India

Photography and the genre of portraiture have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship.
From the beginning of depiction, the portrait has invited its audience to recognize the
identity of the subject and then to remember.
– Anthony Bannon


Portraits reveal a desire for human connection;
a desire so strong that people who know they will never see me again

open themselves to the camera,  all in the hope that at the other end
someone will be watching,

someone who will laugh or suffer with them.


The most difficult thing for me is a portrait. You have to try and
put your camera between the skin of a person and his shirt.
– Henri Cartier-Bresson

FRANCE-10028, France, 1989France

Upcoming Exhibitions

Alex Del Piero Gallery
Torino, Italy
16 May 2014 through 31 August 2014

Juminkeko Foundation
Kuhmo, Finland
21 March 2014 through 6 June 2014

 Beetles & Huxley Gallery
London, UK
 May 2014

Frederic Got Fine Art Gallery
Paris, France
May 2014

Theatre de la Photography et de l’Image
Nice, France
27 June 2014 through 28 September 2014

138 Responses to “Reflections on Portraiture”

  1. […] Steve McCurry talking about them on his blog. […]

  2. […] Steve McCurry talking about them on his blog. […]

  3. […] What could be more simple and more complex, more obvious and more profound than a portrait. – Charles Baudelaire Ethiopia Los Angeles, California, United States As human beings we are fascinated with how we and others look. Diane Arbus talked about the gap between intention and effect as revealed in portraiture. People put on make-up…  […]

  4. […] Steve McCurry talking about them on his blog. […]

  5. Beautiful pics!

  6. Ze Carrapichano Says:

    When is your next exhibition in London?

  7. Reblogged this on Suivez Mon Regard… and commented:
    magnifique …

  8. No words to say speechless…

  9. portrety dzieci to wyjatkowo wdzięczny temat fotografii. ich szczrość i piękno gwarantują udne zdjęcie. portret dziewczynki z Afganistanu wyjątkowy! ale i cała kompozycja interesująca.

  10. Thank you for sharing these portraits. You can capture human beauty in all its various facets, and it is extraordinary. Thank you.

  11. Excellent photos

  12. Just watched a short documentary on your beautiful work on sbs australia, I had to stop by and let you know I love your work it is stunning, real and captivating!

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Amazing , Speechless…..

  14. Amazing photography, like in all your posts

  15. Stunning images as always..thanks for sharing

  16. Love your pictures,,keep up the good work, lots of happiness to you

  17. Thanks for sharing your extraordinary photos! You’ve always been one of my favorite photographers. I especially love the little Tibetan boy . . . and the eyes of the girl from Yemen . . . and . . . well, I love just about all of them.

  18. Reblogged this on Aves and commented:
    Steve McCurry delineando la vida

  19. Anirban Bhattacharya Says:

    Steve as usual awesome work. I follow your work a lot and love them a lot. I am really moved by your work and want to learn. I tried to see youtube vedios where you gave some lectures. Do you have any online tutorial /DVD ?

  20. All these portraits are wonderful, you are a master photographer..but the two Ethiopian shots are truly extraordinary. thank you for posting

  21. […] wonderful. Reflections on Portraiture by Steve McCurry “What could be more simple and more complex, more obvious and more profound than a […]

  22. Really awesome and rare pictures,Great work!!!

  23. This is how it’s done! Amazing!

  24. […] A little inspiration […]

  25. Russell Carpenter Says:

    Hi Lehar,

    Here are some reflections by Steve McCurry on portraiture

  26. Reblogged this on The Roaming Geographer and commented:
    From a stunning photographer!

  27. Awesome set of portraits, you really know how and when you can capture life. bravo !

  28. […] Steve McCurry zeigt diesmal eine beeindruckende Serie zum Thema Porträtfotografie, aufgenommen in den unterschiedlichsten Kulturen. […]

  29. Guido De Felice Says:

    Steve thanks for the gifts that you do with your wonderful images

  30. Simply incredible work. Difficult to look at because it makes me look at my work and realize I have so much to aspire too. Thank you for sharing these, beautiful and candid portraits.

  31. just… thank you ❤

  32. Sheela.U Says:

    Absolutely outstanding. The eyes are most certainly the windows to the soul. I am so inspired by your work. Thank you

  33. Extraordinarias y bellas imágenes, captas con gran naturalidad a la persona

  34. Reblogged this on Myriad of Fantasy and commented:
    Some fabulous portraits from the master himself Steve McCurry!!

  35. Robert Allan Says:

    Wonderful work, Steve! This is the kind of portraiture that I long to do. In my opinion, you are the portraitist of this age. As always, truly remarkable!

  36. What’s this talent! Each picture is a canvas. I love Steve’s job since long time ago. Whit Don, it’s the perfect duet.

  37. I wish there were a love instead of a like button. Love this post!

  38. […] I am a big fan of Steve McCurry. I am always staggered by the number of images that he produces that I find stunning. Reflections on Portraiture | Steve McCurry's Blog […]

  39. Very close and intimate portraits – fantastic work!

  40. Your photography is proof of what I have always felt…Eyes are the channel to the soul. Thank you for such beautiful and wonderful pictures.

  41. You have seen a lot and shared some of it. Whatever you have shared has been an inspiration for me . Thank you for choosing ‘ a life with camera ‘ rather than something else.

  42. Anonymous Says:

    Bellissime! Grazie Steve

  43. Rob Standard Says:

    What is the found situtation in the following pictures?
    The LA (US) picture of the lady with the blue body paint.
    The Italy picture of the lady with the head clothing.

    • Door-Elske Cazemier Says:

      Bless you, Steve, such beuatiful pictures, every time I see new ones I am happy that I follow your blog!

  44. Reblogged this on peacegreenriver and commented:
    Love Steve as always

  45. Psycho! Says:

    Reblogged this on Thrum.

  46. Siddharth Jain Says:

    As usual, peeking into the soul.

  47. johnrf2 Says:

    Reblogged this on Fine Photographic Images by John R Franco and commented:
    A fabulous body of work by a true photographs master.

  48. Steve:

    Your work is absolutely stunning. I hold you as one of my inspirations in the art of photography. Beyond your facility with light and composition, you seem to have such a knack for capturing that inner spirit that beams from the eyes of your subjects.

    Delighted that you’ve launched the blog and will look forward to your updates.

  49. Reblogged this on Oxford School of Photography and commented:
    Steve – the man – at it again

  50. What a show! how many stories, how many moods …

  51. Another great collection from you Steve !

  52. […] sono abbonato trovo una novità nel blog di Steve McCurry, uno dei miei fotografi preferiti, trovo questa bella carrellata di ritratti ripresi in giro per il mondo; la terza foto mi colpisce subito, non tanto per l’indubbia […]

  53. […] Reflections on Portraiture | Steve McCurrys Blog. […]

  54. I love your blog. You are an artist with a camera.

  55. Un admirateur sans limite!!!

  56. Connie Jensen Says:

    Thank you So much– especially striking portraits from Ethiopia. As always one feels this momentary connection – the penetrating eyes, direct gaze. Well well done as always.

    best Connie

  57. Italy does it for me… So simple and so beautiful… What else ?

  58. These are amazing. My heart is touched by your work. Thank you.

  59. Extraordinary work as always. I am deeply humbled.

  60. This is so incredible!!

  61. Reblogged this on Ideas_R_Bulletproof and commented:
    classic environmental portraits by Steve McCurry…..

  62. Reblogged this on stevefranck and commented:
    More beautiful portraits from a true photo hero of mine

  63. Steve, I am a new subscriber to your post and amazed and humbled by your eye…….Is there a place where your photos can be purchased?

    Thank you for your sense of being.

    Terry Engle

    Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2014 18:39:33 +0000 To:

  64. Reblogged this on trevcole's Blog and commented:
    Steve McCurry’s portraiture. Capturing inimitable moments at their best. Superb photography to immerse yourself in

  65. meravigliose, come sempre

  66. great job! love them all

  67. Absolutely wonderful.

  68. Amazing pictures. Loved everyone of them!

  69. I am totally impressed of this touching portraits.

  70. as usual, very nice photos !!! congratulations

  71. Extraordinaire!! Et plus encore!

  72. airfreeport Says:

    I have started this reply a number of times. I can’t find the words. Steve, you are very special. A gift to humanity..

  73. uditadailymusings Says:

    Reblogged this on Pandora's Box and commented:
    The most beautiful of captures are of people. For we don’t capture people, we attempt to capture their souls and emotions.

  74. Awe inspiring!! The subjects , the artist, the contexts, the stories…….I reallyappreciate your deep insight into the human condition thankyou Trees

  75. Stunning images.
    Those eyes from Yemen are so compelling, they make a simple composition reveal the very soul of the subject.

  76. truly inspirational, your images take my breath away

  77. amazing combination of portraits. all portrayed s unique story. Keep it up steve

  78. Claudia Pèrez Says:

    Bellìsimos retratos, muy conmovedores. Las miradas…

  79. Reblogged this on A Second Time Around and commented:
    It’s amazing how everyone’s eyes tell a different story…

  80. Wonderfully done.

  81. Reblogged this on MikeGreenslade's Blog and commented:
    Always an inspiration …….

  82. Anonymous Says:

    viewing your soul and the souls of your subjects is the blessing in this day.

  83. My favorites……..the little boy sitting with the stone blocks/ Ethiopia, and plaid pants in the doorway/Bangladesh. I would gladly open myself to your camera. Thank you for these remarkable photos.

  84. Reblogged this on Expat Toscana and commented:

  85. Very nice selection of pictures, and very nice quotes. Thanks for sharing:-)

  86. Fantastic portraits great photographer i really like your work

  87. Claudette Says:

    Je ne trouve pas de mots assez forts pour exprimer mon admiration. Merci pour arriver à nous émouvoir avec ces très beaux portraits.

  88. Amazing work, I could look at these pictures for hours.

  89. Anonymous Says:

    Unbelievable images. No one, absolutely no one, does it better. Outstanding.

  90. Thank you for sharing these wonderful photographs and thought provoking quotes! I just shared your link with my photography class!!!

  91. Exceptional. So glad to see you on a WordPress blog I can follow in my Reader. There’s a reason you’re the portrait master—in fact here are several of them.

  92. Reblogged this on UN ESPRIT SAIN DANS UN CORSAGE and commented:

  93. Splendide. Quelle pureté des traits !

  94. Reblogged this on PhoToph30 and commented:
    Encore du lourd avec de superbes portraits !

  95. wowww , what beautiful photos ! great master Steve !!!!!!!

  96. Golda Kocubej Soriano Says:

    How beautiful and sad is the human being.

  97. I have done a series of portraits from around the world although they are not as good as yours!

  98. Wow. Steve, would it be possible for you to take everyone’s selfies as well?

  99. Sisyphus47 Says:

    Reblogged this on ThisCornerOfTheWoods and commented:
    An extraordinary reflection…

  100. What a subject!

  101. Yes, to do a portrait it’s very difficult, and to find the soul, not just clic. You’ve wonderful pictures from kids in India. Congrats!!!!!!!

  102. Just when you think you can’t be affected any more by a photograph your next one appears…exquisite.

  103. Fantastic portraits and accompanying words… always look forward to seeing you work!

  104. Reblogged this on Through the Looking Glass and commented:
    Another great post from Steve… This one on portraits

  105. Pritam Bandyopadhyay Says:

    No word to say…..your pictures are more than 1000 wards……

  106. Liberty Says:

    Powerful pictures. Strong looks. Congrats!

  107. As always, perfection. You inspire me!

  108. Your photographs are amazing Steve,thank you.

  109. As always, I’m amazed by the beauty of your photographs. And that you share them on your blog — it’s the highlight of my day, when I find an email notification for a new gallery of touching, thought-provoking art! Thank you!

  110. These photos are an amazing tribute to our fellow brothers and sisters on this planet, and a wonderful showcase of your talent, Steve. I’m in awe of your photos, which always bring me to tears for the connection I feel to humanity. Thank you for sharing your unique vision of the world.

    • Creo exactamente como tú , sentimos que tenemos una bendita hermandad con todos. Steve captas la intimidad de su ser. Te lo agradesco profundamente. Que Dios te bendiga.

  111. Words fail me.

  112. Reblogged this on PGS – The Way and commented:
    Steve McCurry, in my mind, is one of the greatest portraitists of all time (photographically.) His ability to capture the soul of a person through their eyes is unsurpassed. Bill

  113. Micke Pettersson Says:

    Fantastic pictures.

  114. Incredible portraits Steve. You have moved my heart and mind in the spirit of the individuals you so eloquently captured. I am in awe of your talent and grace behind the camera. It is humbling to follow your body of work. Thank you for sharing! Blessings, Robyn

  115. The strongest portrait is the woman with the black niqab in Yemen, her eyes knocked me off my chair and the second one must be the two women with blue burqa in Afghanistan, very beautiful and powerful photos

  116. Reblogged this on blogagaini and commented:

  117. Barbara D Says:

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Steve, your work never ceases to amaze me; breathtaking works of art.

  118. Great pictures!
    I especially like the look in the eyes of Yemen girl.

  119. gratiela Says:

    amazing pictures…..stories…..speechless !!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 37,272 other followers

%d bloggers like this: