Vacheron Constantin announced at the fair today a brand new partnership with legendary photographer Steve McCurry, along with its refresh of the Overseas line of timepieces. The National Geographic photographer, who was propelled to fame with his image of the “Afghan girl”, worked on a series of images that will be presented by the brand, for the new timepieces.
Juan-Carlos Torres, president of Vacheron Constantin, selected the photographer to collaborate. “Overseas is for sure linked to travel, freedom, to the outside. We decided to organise a tour, in six different locations in the world, in the first part of the year, and six in the second half of the year, with photos done by Steve. These will eventually be presented in an exhibition held at the manufacture. The idea was to not shoot landscapes, but parts of the world where people have built, created something. Naturally, we asked him to be responsible for the project, to discover the world through his eyes.”
Torres confessed that he had a love of photography that extended to part of his earlier career before he joined Vacheron Constantin. He opined, “It’s the work of passion and frustration, of encounters and sad moments. I know exactly that. I respect Steve because he’s not a photographer, not a journalist but an artist. Each photo is done as a piece of art, something more than a painting, that expresses life.”
The first location is the Vacheron Constantin manufacture. In fact, Vacheron Constantin will also engage several journalists in expanding this project, sending them a camera to produce images which will be delivered to the manufacture. In the meantime, McCurry will be shooting around the world, along with a video team which will chart his progress and give us a glimpse of how he works behind the scenes.
“I spent 20, 30 years telling stories for magazines and travelling the world nine months of the year. At the highest level, pictures can be so profound and memorable and can dig deep into the human soul. At the highest level, they do become great art. At some level, they present my view of the world,” he said. “These locations we have selected represent the delible presence of the human race, of things we have created and made with our bare hands.
“What motivates me and sustains a career is having fun and being creative. It becomes fulfilling and satisfying. What my process will be, although I’ve had a thorough tour of the manufacture, will be to take one more tour and consider how I can present this visually, of watchmaking at the absolute highest level. It will be about people and it’s kind of a cliche, but I’ll know the picture when I see it and it will somehow be about the intensity of the activity.
“We have a structure and we have a schedule for how we will plan and shoot this. In each location, we have some time in each location to research, and I’ve never been to any of them, it’s just places that we’ve researched. But each of them represents something about human endeavour and they are inspiring, beautiful. Sometimes things are made in a functional manner and now it takes our breath away because of how they are constructed. They are places that are made by men and women in the past or present. There’s always a human element, most of my life has been photographing people and how we relate to each other, to the world and to other creatures.”
The series, available in steel and rose gold, comes with a special plan. Those ordering the bracelet edition will receive a leather strap and rubber strap, designed for easy strap swaps through a convenient slide. With one watch, you have three looks, designed for three purposes. We definitely like that.
UPDATE: We now have images from the exhibition work that McCurry is carrying out. Check them out here.