One of my favorite things about traveling around Europe is that it allows me to see a bunch of exhibitions that are ‘on tour’ in the big cities. On my last trip to Europe I was able to take in the Steve McCurry exhibition…not once but twice. And if there’s anyone’s work I don’t mind seeing twice – it’s Steve’s.
You may not know who he is – but I bet you have peered upon his pictures before. He was a National Geographic photographer and shot the famous and haunting photo of the Afghan girl with the piercing aqua eyes. His talent runs deep and his ability to get people to peer into the camera and catch their personality within a still photo is stunning.
I went to his exhibit in Rome when my guide from Rome food tours recommended it to me, and then I found myself at a smaller version of the exhibit again in Girona as part of my Visit Costa Brava Blog trip I was invited on.
However this time it wasn’t Steve’s photography that moved me – it was some simple words from National Geographic photographer Tino Sorriano . Tino came and talked to us about the exhibit and photography and walked us through parts of the exhibition. I loved to hear his story of perseverance and how he started working for National Geographic in addition to his advice regarding photography . And if you haven’t seen his photography, be sure to stop on over at his website as I’m in love with the humor he injects into his photography. Clever wins every time for me.
As we talked about professional photography he walked us through a few of McCurry’s images and then provided us with some general advice from his experiences of trying to woo National Geographic.
“Try to find your own style. Follow 25 people , study them and then find your own style. “
“You need time, money, and someone to push you to be a professional”
I’m not looking to be a professional photographer, I’m quite happy doing my amateur work. However as I took notes and let what he said sink in I realized his message transcended photography and really was the way I strive to live my life in general. In fact it seemed to be so in alignment with what I had just learned on the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage this summer.
“You must be different. Express the things you see in only the way you see it.”
“You don’t need wonderful stuff to take pictures you need a wonderful idea and brain.”
“Never be in a hurry.”
Whether you are a photographer, writer, mother, or a cube dweller I think anyone can benefit from this advice.
And then Tino said something that I could absolutely relate to,
“I don’t like photography – I like traveling. Photography is simply an excuse to travel.”
Most travel writers/bloggers I know got into this lifestyle simply because they like to travel. Do they like sitting up at 2AM in the morning in a stuffy room and uncomfortable hotel chair working on a piece (like I’m doing right now) – no, probably not. But we all want to find a way to be on the road and travel more – it’s an addiction just like any drug.
It was a moving morning to witness such great artistic talent as well as such moving advice. We all need to simply hear what we know sometimes. Tino provided an excellent reminder of why I’m in this, and what I need to do to continue.