The photos are vintage McCurry: the delicate low light, his preferred wide frame and, most importantly, each containing a story within. A young Brazilian boy with vivid eyes looks out of the window of a truck as he sits beside his father. Ethiopian children playing football on a coffee estate, cows obstructing the field of play.
Coffee is a multi-billion dollar global industry at the heart of many of our morning routines, but the images remind us of the communities behind it, of the generations bound up in the Arabica bean.
The combination of the demise of foreign bureaus, dwindling editorial budgets and the expansion of the middle classes in regions like China, India and Brazil mean the era of the intrepid Western photographer documenting foreign communities is on the wane. Packaging ‘exoticism’ for First World consumption is a trope modern photographers are more wary of than before, but McCurry bats away the notion of cultural tourism.
“I was at the Kumbha Mela at Allahabad the year before last and the Indian photographers there were as curious as I was. I remember somebody saying there’s an Indian way of photographing, but I don’t agree with that at all.