McCurry: Procession of Nuns, Burma
18th March 2020
Steve McCurry is a renowned photographer, creating poignant images in over six continents and throughout numerous countries. In 1994, McCurry travelled to Myanmar, then Burma, to encapsulate its rich and varied culture. Procession of Nuns, Rangoon, Burma, 1994, was taken on this trip, picturing a common sight in South East Asia. Encapsulating a poetic note, McCurry composes a single file procession of nuns silently walking around the city of Rangoon.
Procession of Nuns, Rangoon, Burma, 1994, presents an image inundated with vibrant colours of orange, pink, yellow and blue to contrast a serene and still moment. There is also a juxtaposition of colour with the darker pavement, allowing a contrast that further enhances the image’s potency. Framing the four figures, the composition is balanced. The nuns hold rice bowls for the locals to offer them food with which they will return to the nunnery. The blue door in the background acts as a focal point, drawing the viewers gaze to the centre of the image. Our eye is then led around the work by the linear formation created by the procession and their opened umbrellas, encouraging us to survey every aspect of the work.
Speaking about the photograph, McCurry said, ‘pictures can offer themselves up to you – but only if you have patience. I asked these nuns if I could follow them on their daily walk around the city. I trailed them for several days until, with rain falling and a brightly coloured building as a fitting backdrop, I captured this graceful image.’ Like much of the colonial architecture in Burma, the building in the background has since been demolished, making the photograph a memento of a lost culture in the country’s history. As explored in many of his works, here McCurry imbues a unique beauty, recording the world as it changes.
The ArtistSteve McCurry (born 1950) is best known for his evocative colour photographs that document both human struggles and joy. Having travelled the globe for over thirty years, McCurry has photographed warzones, burning oil fields, refugee camps, ship breaking yards and monsoons all over the world. A member of Magnum Photos since 1986, many of his images have become modern icons.Artist Page