David Hurn, photographer and founder of the celebrated documentary photography course at Newport in Wales, has told EPUK that a lecture he is giving in the town this week will probably be his last public talk in the UK. The free lecture, which takes place on Thursday evening at the University of South Wales Faculty of Creative Industries, has already sold out.
‘‘If we are truly curious in our subjects then we are less tempted to interfere’‘: David Hurn at his home in Wales in 2007. Photo © Graham Harrison
David Hurn, a full member of Magnum Photos since 1967, wrote the book On Being a Photographer with his close friend, the writer and academic Bill Jay in 1997. The book remains one of the best practical guides for the working photographer.
In 1973, Hurn, who is of Welsh descent, founded the School of Documentary Photography at the Gwent College of Higher Education in Newport. He channelled what he learnt from Henri Cartier-Bresson, Renne Burri and the other great photographers at Magnum into the ‘Docphot’ curriculum. Hurn’s practical diploma course at Newport became recognised as one of the best photography courses ever in Britain.
In 1990, Hurn retired from teaching to return to full-time photography. His retirement took place at a time of change in higher education in the UK. It was when practical courses like Hurn’s fell out of favour with a growing bureaucracy that sought government funding by acquiring degree status.
In On Being a Photographer Hurn wrote, “We should trust the peculiarities of our medium. And if we are truly curious or fascinated or profoundly interested in our subjects then we are less tempted to interfere, to control, to change, to improve.”
David Hurn told EPUK that he intends to concentrate on, “shooting pictures, looking at pictures and talking to friends.” He was 80 in July.
• David Hurn Lecture is at University of South Wales, Faculty of Creative Industries, Newport on Thursday, 27 November 2014 from 19:00 to 21:00pm
Text © 2014 Graham Harrison.
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