Even if you’re not an avid fan of photography, you’ve probably seen some of photographer Steve McCurry’s work. He’s the same photographer who took the legendary Afghan Girl photograph that appeared on the June 1985 issue of National Geographic magazine. Throughout the years, the photographer has published many books and now he’s back again with a new one simply titled “Animals”. In his latest publication, Steve explores the complex relationship between humans and animals, and some of the photos look simply magical.
“The idea of photographing animals and people may have been planted in my mind since I was first starting out as a young photographer. My sister gave me my first photo book, Son of Bitch, a collection of pictures of dogs and their humans by the great photographer and friend Elliott Erwitt. It was the first time I saw a book on animals with humor, pathos, and wonderful storytelling,” said the photographer in a recent interview with Bored Panda. He says animals are one of his favorite subjects to shoot as they are completely unpredictable. “Animals are in constant motion, have a mind of their own and rarely pay any attention to directions from a photographer,” added McCurry.
The photographer shared some of his experiences working in Kuwait after the first Gulf War. He says it was a surreal and unforgettable experience. “There were 600 oil fields burning, panicked and starved animals were wandering about, and the landscape was dotted with dead Iraqi soldiers. It was heartbreaking to see these animals, which we were supposed to be guardians of. Those animals that escaped slaughter were abandoned and left to wander the streets looking for food and shelter,” said McCurry. He says the photograph he took there is his best work in the entire book.
Altai Region, Mongolia
Another one of the photographer’s favorite shots is the one he took in Thailand. “I photographed this novice monk studying Buddhist writings in the late afternoon at a monastery in Aranyaprathet, Thailand, near the border with Cambodia. I watched the changing light as the monks went about both the mundane and sacred duties of their day,” recalled the McCurry. “With the simple use of wood and fabric, of shades of saffron from mustard gold to deep orange, their environment was serene. The patient cat completed the scene of contemplation and peace.”
McCurry says it is his hope that people will see animals as intelligent beings that deserve our love and respect. “In most cases, our pets are totally dependent on us for their survival and safety. It’s our duty to protect them like our own children. Since we often create a special bond with certain animals, I would hope people should treat them with the care they deserve,” concluded the photographer.
Tonle Sap, Cambodia
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Kham Litang, Tibet
Omo Valley, Ethiopia
Al Ahmadi, Kuwait
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Near Samyr, Tibet
Bentota, Sri Lanka