steve mccurry

Written by
Kevin LJ, Professional Photographer

Reviewed by
Chris Johnson, TPG Editor

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About Steve McCurry

Nationality: United States

Born: April 23, 1950 -

Steve McCurry is an American photographer. He started working at a local Pennsylvania newspaper after studying film at university. Here be gained enough foundational experience to build a decades-long career.

After freelancing for a few years, McCurry made his first trip of many to India. Eventually, finding his way to Pakistan and to the border of Afghanistan. Here he befriended a group of refugees fleeing the Russian invasion. These new friends smuggled him across the border, which had recently been closed to Western journalists.

His photos brought exposure to the Russian war in Afghanistan when published in Paris Match and the New York Times. These images also won him the Robert Capa Gold Medal for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad.

He continued photographing people affected by conflict. Covering the war in Iran, Lebanon, and Cambodia and insurgency in the Philippines and other countries. He mainly concentrates his lens on capturing what he refers to as the 'human condition.' McCurry says, "Most of my images are grounded in people. I look for the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking out, the experience etched on a person's face. I try to convey what it is like to be that person, a person caught in a broader landscape, that you could call the human condition."

Steve McCurry's most famous photograph is the iconic "Afghan Girl." He captured her portrait in a refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan, in December 1984. The image of the girl, Sharbat Gula, appeared on the front cover of National Geographic magazine in June 1985. This image has touched the hearts of people around the globe. It was the first time she had ever been photographed. She was about 12 years old at the time.

The Afghan Girl portraits and many others are testimony to McCurry's photographic skill. Also, to the connection he makes with his subjects. This enables him to portray the 'human condition in his images with apparent compassion.

McCurry describes himself as a visual storyteller. In his photographs, he captures people, portraying their humanity with dignity, no matter how tumultuous their lives may be.


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