“I enjoyed shooting what the others would never shoot – those unexpected moments of levity in the everyday world,” says David Hurn. His work in the 1960s provides a detailed chronicle of the decade. During this time Hurn says many different photographers or friends stayed at his studio. Two women stayed while they were in-between apartments, and one evening he walked in on the couple making love, pictured here. In a later interview, he said: “I come from a very chapel background and my first reaction to this was incredible embarrassment, but they just looked up and laughed. It was a wonderful thing for me to learn, this difference between uptightness and the reality of the people involved who couldn’t care a damn.”

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.

In 1997 he collaborated with Professor Bill Jay on the landmark book On Being a Photographer. Hurn’s self-initiated book Wales: Land of My Father most reflects his style and creative impetus, drawing upon observations of the changes taking place in Wales from 1970 until the book’s publication by Thames & Hudson thirty years later in 2000. 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 in Tintern, Wales.

© David Hurn | Magnum Photos

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