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Nikon Owner Issue 16

NIKON OWNER GALLERY – Steve Hughes

Steve Hughes

Steve Hughes has been an enthusiastic photographer for over twenty years; he purchased his first Nikon, an F3, in the early nineteen-eighties when he was with the Armoured Regiment at Windsor. He served in the Household Cavalry in London for many years, pursuing his photographic interests while working at the Royal Mews, juggling ceremonial duties, the training of carriage horses and his growing passion for photography.

Steve’s love-affair with Nikon grew out of a personal interest in the Vietnam War and the photographers who covered it, such as Larry Burrows, Robert Capa and Taizo Ichinose, whose bullet-pierced Nikon is preserved in a family shrine in Kyushu, Japan. For Steve, these eminent photographers with their astonishing insight and vivid clarity brought the reality of war home through the lens of either a Leica M or Nikon F. His growing interest in photography and the Nikon brand was further strengthened by sharing a coffee (and a mutual love of Harley Davidson motorbikes) with Richard Young in Picasso on the Kings Road in London. This was finally cemented by his friendship with Gray Levett and Gillian Greenwood from Nikon Owner as well as the team at Grays of Westminster, from whom he purchased an F5, a D70, an F6 and, more recently, a D2X.

He has been semi-retired since a serious equine accident in October 2000, but this has not stopped him from pursuing his photographic interests. In fact, he approached photographic projects with increased vigour, attending a Black & White developing course at Westminster College, followed by several exciting photographic trips to Canada, South Africa, Kenya, Australia and India. For Steve, each visit to a new continent and the intrinsic potential of capturing the images of many different cultures is, in essence, a fresh new photographic adventure.

The Photograph

Taj Mahal

“I specifically did not want to take a photograph of the Taj Mahal from the ubiquitous tourist angle. I recalled the shots taken by Steve McCurry1 from the opposite side of the river behind the mausoleum. So I made my way by tuk-tuk2 to the bank behind the Taj Mahal with my D70 and a 17-35/2.8 lens. The journey was mayhem, crossing the river over an iron bridge built by the British, and the procession of tuk-tuks, camels, oxen, cars, rickshaws, bicycles and pedestrians baying for a pathway across was almost biblical. When I reached the bank, I noticed a boatman ferrying the odd person across to the other side. The picture was taken just before the sun finally set, the feeling of peaceful serenity totally at odds with the mayhem which had just surrounded us.”

1 Steve McCurry’s images won him the Robert Capa Gold Medal for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad, an award dedicated to photographers exhibiting exceptional courage and enterprise. In the nineteen-eighties, disguised in native garb, he crossed the Pakistan border into rebel-controlled Afghanistan just before the Soviet invasion. When he emerged, he had rolls of film sewn into his clothes. He is perhaps most famous for the stunning National Geographic cover shot of the young refugee girl with the piercing green eyes, published in June 1985.

2 Tuk-Tuks: little half scooter/half buggy vehicles with a full back seat. (Pronunciation: took-took.)

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