In 1979-80 David Hurn was awarded a UK/USA Bicentennial Fellowship, which allowed him a year to travel around America, photographing it. With the entire country at his disposal, one state in particular piqued Hurn’s interest the most: “[Arizona is] the exact opposite of my home country Wales. The contrasts appealed to me.” Hurn fell in love with Arizona and continued to make several trips back between 1979 and 2001. The photographer’s recurring subject throughout decades of work has been ordinary people pursuing ordinary pursuits, and in Arizona he turned his inimitable eye to the Arizonians he encountered, in their daily life, their schools, exercise classes, as well as turning his lens towards the landscape they exist within. Pictured here, a retirement group fitness activity, 1980.

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. There is more pleasure, for me, in things as-they-are

David Hurn
© David Hurn | Magnum Photos

A self-taught photographer, David Hurn (b.1934) began his career in 1955 as an assistant at the Reflex Agency. He gained his early reputation through his reportage of the 1956 Hungarian revolution and became a full member of Magnum Photos in 1967. In 1973 he set up the influential School of Documentary Photography in Newport, Wales and remained director until 1989.

His work is held in major collections including British Council, London; ICP, New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Bibliothèque nationale de France and National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, amongst others.

David Hurn continues to live and work from his home in Tintern, Wales.

© David Hurn | Magnum Photos

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