Magnum photographer David Hurn documented the iconic Isle of Wight festival in 1969 and 1970 and though the line-ups included Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, The Doors and Joni Mitchell, it was the people, rather than the pop stars, who captured his attention.

“The majority of the photographers concentrated on those on the stage and I did it slightly differently because I focused on the enjoyment of the people watching the people on the stage,” says Hurn. “That’s reality as one sees it.”

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

Born in England but of Welsh descent, David Hurn is a self-taught photographer who began his career in 1955 as an assistant at the Reflex Agency. While working as a freelance photographer, he gained his early reputation with his reportage of the 1956 Hungarian revolution.

Hurn eventually turned away from coverage of current affairs preferring to take a more personal approach to photography. He became an associate member of Magnum in 1965 and a full member in 1967.

In 1973, he set up the famous School of Documentary Photography in Newport, Wales. In 2016, David Hurn was awarded an honorary fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society.

He continues to live and work in Tintern, Wales.

© David Hurn | Magnum Photos

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