15 February, 2018
Drawn back to Southeast Asia time and time again, photojournalist Steve McCurry's lushly coloured reportage of the region is transportative and enduring.
Lured by the thousand-year-old temples, vibrant colours of religious rites and festivals, the pungent spices that pepper the air and the overwhelming sense of history that permeates an area so unchanged over centuries, southern Asia's exoticism is relentlessly fascinating. But it is the people - from Afghanistan to Indonesia - who have captured McCurry's imagination.
Featuring portraits of children, monks, pilgrims, wanderers and migrants, Looking East exemplifies McCurry's thought-provoking work. Capturing the essence of both human struggle and joy, the series portrays a passion for visual storytelling.
In searching for a new portrait I always look for a fleeting, unguarded moment and attempt to capture the personal experiences that are indelibly etched on a face, and in South and Southeast Asia the multitude of experiences and lives is astounding.he says.
Exploring his dynamic and emotive work, a whole world is impressed on the faces of those photographed. Portraits cover a wealth of experiences and emotions, from a soot-covered coal miner in Afghanistan to the solemn pride of a Tibetan monk. Seeming to capture the soul of the people he photographs, each image reflects a sense of trust and openness towards the camera and, by association, the viewer.
These pictures are about connectedness, revealing stories of human experience that transcend boundaries of language and culture. Closeness to the subject is imperative to McCurry's storytelling; his penetrating gaze an insight into another life.
Looking East by Steve McCurry, published by Phaidon.