Is it harder to photograph a foreign country than your own?
Sometimes I find it often more difficult to photograph things that are familiar to me, such as my neighborhood. I find foreign countries and new places to be more inspiring; I always want to learn from new surroundings. However, I think it’s your frame of mind, you can always examine your immediate environment and find inspiration if you put your mind to it.
You recently referred to yourself as a visual storyteller – could you explain your focus as a photographer?
For me, photography is literally about wandering, observing and telling stories. Whether it’s portraiture, human behavior, or how we live on this planet. From my early days of photography, I’ve always felt the influence of André Kertész, Walker Evans, Henri Cartier-Bresson, whose work demonstrates that profound and universal storytelling is considered art. It’s always about the feel of the place and the emotion; it’s my personal point of view.
You started using the Leica SL earlier this year, and now you’ve been the first to test the new SL2. Why did you decide to move from DSLR to mirrorless, and why did you decide to choose a Leica?
Mirrorless is the future. No doubt about it. Being able to see the photos true exposure made my process of photographing even quicker.
What makes the Leica SL2 so special? Why would you recommend the camera?
I tried many cameras and decided to adopt the SL system for several reasons that were immediately evident. First of all, the image quality. It’s unbelievable; I’ve never seen anything comparable. Then the EVF screen is very bright, large, and of exceptional quality. This was the only mirrorless camera that looked right and felt right when I put my eye to the viewfinder. Second, the quality of the optics. I had no doubts about this, but personally testing the files allowed me to understand its full potential. And finally, the camera usability. After a few days of use, the feeling with the SL2 was exceptional.
What would you consider a successful day?
A successful day for me would be spending time in a place that I’m curious about, even without my camera. I love to wander and explore new places, learn about the history and culture and get inspired to tell new stories through my photographs.
Steve McCurry. Born in 1950, the photographer has been one of the most iconic figures in contemporary photography for more than three decades. He has created unforgettable images over six continents and numerous countries. His body of work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture alike. McCurry has been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards, including the Robert Capa Gold Medal, National Press Photographers Award, and an unprecedented four World Press Photo awards, amongst many others.
A portfolio with his pictures from China will be published in the upcoming issue of LFI magazine.