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Portraits Hardcover – June 17, 1999
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'these beautiful and often uplifting images ... cross the boundaries of language and culture to capture the significant and the smaller stories of mankind.' Daily Telegraph 'McCurry can make the hellish look heavenly ... incredible photographs that change the way we look at our world' The Sunday Times Magazine
From the Publisher
Magnum photographer Steve McCurry never set out to take portraits. Critically acclaimed and recognized internationally for his classic reportage, over the last 20 years he has worked for the "National Geographic" and other publications on numerous assignments: along the Afghan border, in Baghdad, Beirut and the Sahel. McCurry's coverage of the monsoon won first prize in the World Press Awards, and was part of his portfolio when he was named Magazine Photographer of the Year in 1984. In 1985, McCurry photographed an Afghan girl for the "National Geographic". The intensity of the subject's eyes and her compelling gaze made this one of contemporary photography's most celebrated and best-known portraits. McCurry is now equally famous for his other portrayals of memorable faces that he has encountered while travelling throughout the world. Compelling, unforgettable and moving, McCurry's images are unique street portraits: unstylized and unposed snapshots of people that reveal the universality of human emotion.
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Portraits is filled with other remarkable photos of people. Ordinary people from ordinary places. The color schemes and balance in the photographs are mesmerizing. As one pages through the book, the clear oneness of humankind shows through. Many of the photos of children defy description. McCurry says in the prologue that faces stare back at him from places he will never forget. The book's message to me is that there are people all over the world whom we should never forget.
- There is no theme, no "thread" in this book; just a compilation of images. Surely each of them was chosen for a reason and - I assume - put in its place in the book for a reason as well. Sorry but the reasons were lost on me.
- The story behind the shot is completely missing.
- The size somehow did not work with me. The lack of a border or a frame, some breathing space around the image does not help either.
- Quality of print and reproduction is very bad; in some instances the need for re-touching and pre-press work is so obvious that it hurts.
- Body and binding quality is really inferior for a book like this.
- Finally, amazon delivered a copy in such poor shape that someone along the delivery chain should be ashamed (torn back, damaged covers at the corners etc etc).
Overall, a great concept that got lost in execution
It is strictly a book of portraits. The only words are the geographic region and date of each photo which are printed on the page opposite the photo. Therefore, the photos are 'pure' w/ no writing on or around them.
My only complaint is that the book should be larger. Although each photo takes up a complete page, at 5x7 they could stand to be a little larger.
I would still highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in human faces. It is a fascinating study of humans and a real feast for the eyes.