Steve McCurry

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Steve McCurry (born 1950) is best known for his evocative colour photographs that document both human struggles and joy. Having travelled the globe for over thirty years, McCurry has photographed warzones, burning oil fields, refugee camps, ship breaking yards and monsoons all over the world. A member of Magnum Photos since 1986, many of his images have become modern icons.

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Works

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Sharbat Gula, Afghan Girl

Afghan Girl, Peshawar, Pakistan, 1984

Steve McCurry

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Woman at a Horse Festival, Tagong, Tibet, 1999

Steve McCurry

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Man Covered in Powder, Rajasthan, India, 2009

Steve McCurry

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Mother and Child at Car Window, Bombay, India, 1993

Steve McCurry

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Holi Festival, Rajasthan, India, 1996

Steve McCurry

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Shaolin Monks Training, Zhengzhou, China, 2004

Steve McCurry

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Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan, 2007

Steve McCurry

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Villagers Participating in the Holi Festival, Rajasthan, India, 1996

Steve McCurry

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Boy In Mid-Flight, Jodhpur, India, 2007

Steve McCurry

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Fishermen, Weligama, South Coast, Sri Lanka, 1995

Steve McCurry

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The Blue City, India, 2010

Steve McCurry

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Mingun Pagoda, Mandalay, Burma, 1994

Steve McCurry

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Rabari Shepherd, Rajasthan, India, 2009

Steve McCurry

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Flower Seller, Kashmir, India, 1998

Steve McCurry

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Camels in Dust Storm, India, 2010

Steve McCurry

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Taj and Train, Agra, India, 1983

Steve McCurry

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Train Station at Old Delhi, India, 1983

Steve McCurry

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Train Station, Agra, India, 1983

Steve McCurry

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Procession of Nuns, Rangoon, Burma, 1994

Steve McCurry

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Lux Soap, Rangoon, Burma, 1994

Steve McCurry

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Man beneath Stairs, Jodhpur, India, 2005

Steve McCurry

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Rabari Tribal Elder, Rajasthan, India, 2010

Steve McCurry

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Rajasthan Shadows, Rajasthan, India, 2009

Steve McCurry

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Camels and Oil Fields, Al Ahmadi, Kuwait, 1991

Steve McCurry

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Intha Fisherman, Burma, 2011

Steve McCurry

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Clover Gatherers in Wadi Hadramawt, Near Shibam, Yemen, 1999

Steve McCurry

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Family rides donkey

Family Rides Donkey, Afghanistan, 2003

Steve McCurry

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A Pilgrim in Drango Monastery, Tibet, 1999

Steve McCurry

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Boat Covered in Snow in Sankei-En Gardens, Japan, 2014

Steve McCurry

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Bicycles on Side of Train, India, 1983

Steve McCurry

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Flower Vendor on Dal Lake, 1999

Steve McCurry

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Moonrise in Mumbai, India, 1994

Steve McCurry

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Geisha in Subway, Kyoto, Japan, 2007

Steve McCurry

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Stepwell, India, 2002

Steve McCurry

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A Decorated Elephant and Sleeping People in India by Steve McCurry

A Decorated Elephant and Sleeping People, India, 2012

Steve McCurry

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Salat at Blue Mosque in Mazar-E-Sharif, 1992

Steve McCurry

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Man in Bamiyan Mosque, 2006

Steve McCurry

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Jodhpur Fruit Vendor, Jodhpur, India, 1996

Steve McCurry

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Chand Baori Stepwell, Rajasthan, India, 2016

Steve McCurry

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Afghan Girl Hiding her Face

Afghan Girl hiding her Face, Peshawar, Pakistan, 1984

Steve McCurry

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Smoking Coal Miner, Pol-E-Khomri, Afghanistan, 2002

Steve McCurry

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Monk at Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet, 2000

Steve McCurry

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Three Men on Steps, Jodhpur, India, 1996

Steve McCurry

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Girl with Green Shawl, Peshawar, Pakistan, 2002

Steve McCurry

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Flower Seller, Dal Lake, Srinagar, Kashmir, 1996

Steve McCurry

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Mujahideen Stand atop a Mountain in the Hindu Kush, 1984

Steve McCurry

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Girl in a New Coat, Xigaze, Tibet, 2001

Steve McCurry

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Photographer in Kabul sitting next to camera

Portrait Photographer, Afghanistan, 1992

Steve McCurry

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Ship Breaking Yard, Karachi, Pakistan, 1985

Steve McCurry

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‘Dalits’ Sweeping the Streets, Mumbai, India, 1996

Steve McCurry

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Pedicabs in a Flooded Street, Varanasi, India, 1983

Steve McCurry

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Kumbh Mela Festival, Allahabad, India, 2001

Steve McCurry

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Ship Breaking Yard, Mumbai, India, 1996

Steve McCurry

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Pigeon Feeding near Blue Mosque, 1991

Steve McCurry

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Herat after Ten Years of Bombing, Herat, Afghanistan, 1992

Steve McCurry

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Afghan Women at Shoe Store, Kabul, Afghanistan, 1992

Steve McCurry

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Boats on the Sulu Sea, Philippines, 1985

Steve McCurry

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Russian Car in Old Havana, Cuba, 2010

Steve McCurry

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Wreckage at Ground-Zero, New York, 12 September 2001

Steve McCurry

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Times Square, Manhattan, New York City, New York, 1994

Steve McCurry

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Rooftops, Rajasthan, India, 2009

Steve McCurry

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Stepwell and Birds, India, 2012

Steve McCurry

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Welder in a Ship Breaking Yard, Mumbai, India, 1994

Steve McCurry

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A Villager Participating in the Festival of Holi, Rajasthan, India, 1996

Steve McCurry

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Street View of Calcutta by Steve McCurry

Calcutta, India, 1996

Steve McCurry

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Ganesh Chaturthi Festival, India, 1994

Steve McCurry

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Blue Mosque, Mazar-E-Sharif, 1992

Steve McCurry

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Mujahideen Fighters watch Convoy, Nuristan, Afghanistan, 1979

Steve McCurry

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Bird Seller, Afghanistan, 2002

Steve McCurry

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Mud Mosque in Djenne, Mali

Steve McCurry

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Boy with Banana Leaf, Nepal

Steve McCurry

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Teeth Maker in Kandahar, Afghanistan, 1998

Steve McCurry

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Father and Son in Helmand Province, 1980

Steve McCurry

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Woman in Canary Burqa, 2002

Steve McCurry

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Farmer in Jalalabad, 1992

Steve McCurry

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Mujahid Prays, 1980

Steve McCurry

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An Afghan Refugee in Balochistan, Pakistan, 1981

Steve McCurry

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Young Man Walks Behind an Elephant, Sri Lanka, 1995

Steve McCurry

Early Life

Steve McCurry was born in 1950 and grew up in Philadelphia. During a gap year, McCurry spent several months in Stockholm, Amsterdam and the Middle East before going to the College of Arts and Architecture at Pennsylvania State University to study filmmaking. Whilst studying he started taking photographs for the college newspaper, The Daily Collegian. He graduated with a degree in theatre arts in 1974.

Early Photographic Career

Having worked as a staff photographer at the Philadelphia newspaper, Today’s Post, for several years, in 1978 McCurry left his job and bought a one-way ticket to India with only a bag of clothes and film. After spending months travelling around India, he crossed the border into Pakistan and met a group of Afghan refugees in Chitral who told him about the devastating consequences of the civil war in Afghanistan. In May 1979 McCurry crossed the border into Afghanistan, disguised in native garb. Travelling with the mujahideen, McCurry documented the human cost of the Afghan-Soviet War. He smuggled his rolls of film out of Afghanistan by sewing them into his clothes. His photographs of the conflict were published in The New York Times and Time magazine. They were some of the first images of the conflict to emerge from the country and won him the Robert Capa Gold Medal for the Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad, an award dedicated to photographers exhibiting exceptional courage and enterprise.

In 1984 McCurry was approached by National Geographic to photograph the refugee camps along the Afghan-Pakistan border. In the Nasir Bagh camp McCurry found a tent that had been set up as a girls’ school. He noticed one girl with particularly startling green eyes. He recalls ‘she had an intense, haunted look, a really penetrating gaze – and yet she was only about twelve years old… I guess she was as curious about me as I was about her. After a few moments she got up and walked away, but for an instant everything was right – the light, the background, the expression in her eyes.’ That moment when ‘everything was right’ resulted in arguably the most widely-recognised photograph of the twentieth century.

Recent Work

Over the next three decades McCurry travelled the world, seeking the most important places from which to report picture stories. McCurry has covered many areas of international and civil conflict, including Burma, Sri Lanka, Beirut, Cambodia, the Philippines, the Gulf War, and the former Yugoslavia. His coverage of Afghanistan and Tibet has been on going throughout his career. Instead of photographing combat, McCurry tends to focus on the human cost of war, often producing arresting portraits and figure studies. He focuses on the human consequences of war, not only showing what war impresses on the landscape, but also on the faces of its victims.

McCurry’s work has been featured in every major magazine in the world and frequently appears in National Geographic magazine with recent articles on Tibet, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and the temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodia. A high point in his career was the rediscovery of the previously unidentified Afghan refugee girl. When McCurry finally located Sharbat Gula. ‘After almost two decades,’ he said, ‘her skin is weathered; there are wrinkles now, but she is as striking as she was all those years ago.’

Returning from an extended assignment in China, McCurry’s coverage of the September 11th attacks in 2001 have since become a key document of the events, and is a testament to the heroism and nobility of the people of New York City. McCurrry’s photographs of Ground Zero were published in New York September 11th, by Magnum Photographers. His photograph of the collapse on the North Tower was used as the front cover.

Having shot on Kodachrome for thirty years, Kodak asked McCurry to shoot the last roll of the famous transparency film, the product of which is housed at the George Eastman House.

Exhibitions and Awards

McCurry is the recipient of numerous awards, including Magazine Photographer of the Year, awarded by the National Press Photographers’ Association in 1984. In the same year, he won an unprecedented four first prizes in the World Press Photo Contest. He has also twice won the Olivier Rebbot Memorial Award. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the world, including Germany, Italy, Mexico and the United States of America.

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