David Hurn: photographing the things that should be appreciated

Forums All About Photography David Hurn: photographing the things that should be appreciated

This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Ian McNab 1 year, 7 months ago.

Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • Author
  • #15360

    Ian McNab



    Arizona Trips, 1980  © David Hurn / Magnum


    There was a long interview in L’Oeil de la Photographie yesterday with Magnum photographer, and founder of the prestigious Documentary Photography course at Swansea, David Hurn, on the occasion of the publication of his new book, Arizona Trips. Hurn was being interviewed by Sir Christopher Frayling, the broadcaster, writer, educationalist and cultural historian. (The article may be transferred to the ‘subscription only’ archive in a few days’ time.)


    Arizona Trips, 1997  © David Hurn / Magnum


    Here’s a small section where Hurn says some particularly interesting things about photography:

    David: Lewis Hine said a wonderful thing a long time ago, I used to have it on my wall when I was teaching. It said “We should be photographing two things. The things that should be put right and the things that should be appreciated”. Now I’m in the appreciation field. I just love it all. I love people touching each other. I think it’s a very nice thing to do. Togetherness. The second thing is that I don’t really want to set up anything or stage things. Photography has all sorts of genres… but one of the things that I think it does better than anything else is to record life as it is.

    Christopher: Capture a moment.

    David: Capture a moment. Now how you analyse that afterwards is a whole debate of course. But I do think it’s possible to capture, and not only that but most people looking at a picture can get an enormous amount of detailed information that they can’t normally get out of any of the other communication forms. I don’t need to analyse what that information means.

    Christopher: Roland Barthes wrote in Camera Lucida about the accidental things, the personally touching things—the things that make an emotional connection that even the photographer may not notice but they stand out in retrospect when you look at a frozen moment. He calls these details the “punctum”.

    David: Yes. Well the debate is does the photographer know it – or notice it – or not? Undoubtedly for me the greatest pictures are those that not only have that information but they have that information within a sort of pattern or geometry, or whatever you’d like to call it, which projects so that you see what is the point of the picture. That’s the point to me: that it has projected what you want it to project. Photography can never be anything other than a box with a hole in the front and light comes through that hole and records things on the back. It cannot do anything else but that. Therefore, in theory we should all take the same bloody pictures. But the answer is that in the same way as there is Rembrandt and we don’t muddle him up with Matisse… to me the extraordinary thing about photography is that great photographers are [also] recognisable from their work.


    Arizona Trips, 1980  © David Hurn / Magnum





    There is just one day left to view the David Hirn film broadcast recently, link on the front page.


    There were also two interviews on Ffoton at the beginning of the year. https://www.ffoton.wales/interviews/2016/1/david-hurn-1

    He is extremely interesting to listen to and has such a wealth of anecdotes from his long career to draw on.


    Ian McNab

    Today’s online Guardian has a larger selection of photographs from Hurn’s Arizona Trips. (Includes a photograph of David Hurn with 2 Olympus OM1 cameras.)

    Worth a look.

Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Skip to toolbar