13Witness on Photographs, Instagram and Chasing the Unknown


by Stephanie Sporn
March 16, 2017


NEW YORK – Whether he’s wading into the East River or dodging punches in the subway while attempting to document passersby, Timothy McGurr never shies away from a challenge in pursuit of the perfect photo. Better known professionally as 13thWitness, the born-and-raised New Yorker has amassed more than 700,000 followers on Instagram, where he posts intimate portraits, landscapes from his frequent global travels, stylised commercial work for Nike, Converse and other brands, and concert shots for some of today’s most illustrious musical artists: Kanye West, John Mayer and Beyoncé, to name a few. As the son of legendary artist Futura, 32-year-old McGurr has been surrounded by art and culture all of his life, but he remains remarkably humble. “As much as I’ve been able to accomplish so far, I still look at myself as a student in the grand scheme of things,” McGurr told Sotheby’s. When we asked the self-taught photographer to select some of his favourite works from our upcoming Photographs sale, McGurr noted just how much there is to learn from the masters. “Isn’t it amazing how you look at photos that are over 100 years old, and they’re better than anything today?” Self-assured but always looking to better his craft, McGurr spoke to us about the state of photography in social media, his most inspiring travels and why when it comes to shooting, almost no subject is off limits. 

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Moses Aipa13thWitness