When McCurry began as a photographer, he was greatly influenced and inspired by the works of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Eugene Smith, Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and André Kertész. He adopted their technique of wandering, exploring, and waiting, or as McCurry himself put it, "watching life as it unfolds." He realized his calling as a photographer in Mexico when he took this picture.
He found the irony and juxtaposition profound. This moment and the time following greatly influenced his decision to travel and take pictures. He gives this advice to beginning photographers: "When you start looking and slowing down, there are all sorts of wonderful things that you see which you would miss otherwise."