Steve McCurry and Valentino

Valentino by McCurry

Image: Steve McCurry

The venerable photojournalist Steve McCurry has turned his hand to Fashion. You will know his work….if only “Afgan Girl”,but if that is all you know, do yourself a favour and hit the link below to his website, his, is an extraordinary body of work.

To Piccioli and Chiuri, the Valentino designers Mc Curry was the natural choice. “Our emotions about African culture, the idea of beauty [achieved by] the interaction different cultures, the idea of tolerance, this is the message we wanted to deliver,” Piccioli says. “That’s why we wanted to shoot in Africa with Steve McCurry. He’s not a fashion photographer; he’s a culture reporter…we wanted to shoot not a fashion vision [of Africa], but more of a cultural vision — and not in a studio with an elephant.”

McCurry, who currently has solo shows running in New York; Hickory, North Carolina; Forli, Italy, and Singapore, with another opening in London next month, finds fascination in fashion, drawn to its narrative possibilities. “It’s style and elegance and beauty and creating a feeling, taking, taking someone on a journey,” he says of what attracted him to the project.

For the shoot, the designers and McCurry decided upon a Maasai village between Kenya and Tanzania, a location that filled several requirements. It is visually spectacular, with ample natural diversity. The Maasai people, many of whom appear in the pictures, project a strength and dignity manifested in their regal appearance, and their native attire had influenced the collection. The location met practical criteria as well. Those involved in the production deemed it safe (not all areas under consideration were), with sufficient resources (such as number of hotel rooms) in the vicinity to support the crew. And, as an oft-used location, permits and professional cooperation would be easily secured.

A lone creative wolf while working for himself — his entourage typically limited to a translator, driver and perhaps assistant or production person/troubleshooter — McCurry was drawn to the team aspect of photographing fashion. “Models, designers, and hair and makeup, the lighting. Literally, the crew often rivals the size of a small movie production. It all goes into creating this impression, this feeling,” he says.

He also embraced the notion that change lies at fashion’s core, both the clothes themselves and their photographs. “When it comes to advertising in general, it is about new approaches and new ways of showing things and surprise and working outside the box. That’s basically what we were trying to do,” he says.


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