His documentary photographs are distinguished by their quiet observation and remarkable insight. “Life as it unfolds in front of the camera is full of so much complexity, wonder and surprise that I find it unnecessary to create new realities,” he writes. “There is more pleasure, for me, in things as they are.”
Released to coincide with Magnum photo agency’s 70th birthday, this is the first book dedicated to Hurn’s photographs from Arizona. In 1979–80 he was awarded a UK/USA Bicentennial Fellowship, a one-year award to photograph in America. He chose Arizona, as “the most right-wing state in America, plus it is the driest state in America. The exact opposite of my home country Wales. The contrasts appealed to me.” Hurn fell in love with Arizona and made several trips back between 1979 and 2001, turning his inimitable eye to ordinary Arizonians in their daily life, their schools, exercise classes, holidays and their landscape.
Published by Reel Art Press. Edited by Tony Nourmand. Introduction by Peter Doggett. Photographs by David Hurn.
This volume is the first anthology dedicated to David Hurn during one of his most iconic periods of the 1960s. As this collection shows, Hurn has “the eye of a compassionate eagle, the skill to entice the best out of his subjects, and the wit to turn everyday images into an enduring legacy.” Hurn’s portfolio is a unique blend of celebrity and anonymity, which provides a far more accurate summary of the decade than an anthology of superstar portraits. His rendering of the 1960s encompasses both Hollywood screen idols and East End sun-seekers; headline news, alongside rituals unchanged for centuries. Included are photo essays from the streets of New York, anti-Vietnam protests, the London Soho scene, the French Riviera, Queen Charlotte’s Ball and the Isle of Wight Festival in 1969. Also featured are portraits of some of the coolest characters of the age--Michael Caine, Quentin Crisp and Julie Christie--and Hurn’s work within the film industry, capturing The Beatles during the filming of A Hard Day’s Night, Sean Connery in From Russia With Love and Jane Fonda in Barbarella. This is a magnificent volume, curated with insight and appreciation for a true master of his art.
David Hurn (born 1934) is one of Britain’s most respected and important documentary photographers. He was first inspired to a life behind the lens after seeing the warmth and humanity in Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photographs of Russian life in 1955. Hurn earned an early reputation as a photographer for his photo essays of the 1956 Hungarian revolution. As a freelance photojournalist, he worked on a series of gritty documentary projects that explored subjects such as strippers and drug addicts in London, while also supplementing his income with fashion shoots. Hurn also worked in the film industry, as a special photographer for films such as El Cid, A Hard Day’s Night, From Russia With Love and Barbaralla. In the early 1970s, Hurn moved back to his native Wales, setting up the renowned School of Documentary Photography in Newport. His book On Being a Photographer, written in 1997 with Bill Jay, is one of the most widely read textbooks on photography. Today, Hurn lives and works from his home in Tintern, Wales, while teaching and exhibiting worldwide.