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.

All works are available for purchase – please click on an image for further information.

Works

Afghan Girl, Peshawar, Pakistan, 1984

Steve McCurry

Woman at a Horse Festival, Tagong, Tibet, 1999

Steve McCurry

Fishermen, Weligama, South Coast, Sri Lanka, 1995

Steve McCurry

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

Steve McCurry

The Blue City, India, 2010

Steve McCurry

Boy In Mid-Flight, Jodhpur, India, 2007

Steve McCurry

Mingun Pagoda, Mandalay, Burma, 1994

Steve McCurry

Rabari Shepherd, Rajasthan, India, 2009

Steve McCurry

Flower Seller, Kashmir, India, 1998

Steve McCurry

Camels in Dust Storm, India, 2010

Steve McCurry

Taj and Train, Agra, India, 1983

Steve McCurry

Train Station at Old Delhi, India, 1983

Steve McCurry

Train Station, Agra, India, 1983

Steve McCurry

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

Steve McCurry

Three Men on Steps, Jodhpur, India, 1996

Steve McCurry

Girl with Green Shawl, Peshawar, Pakistan, 2002

Steve McCurry

Monk at Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet, 2000

Steve McCurry

Holi Festival, Rajasthan, India, 1996

Steve McCurry

Procession of Nuns, Rangoon, Burma, 1994

Steve McCurry

Lux Soap, Rangoon, Burma, 1994

Steve McCurry

Man beneath Stairs, Jodhpur, India, 2005

Steve McCurry

Rooftops, Rajasthan, India, 2009

Steve McCurry

Stepwell and Birds, India, 2012

Steve McCurry

Man Covered in Powder, Rajasthan, India, 2009

Steve McCurry

Farmer in Jalalabad, 1992

Steve McCurry

Portrait Photographer, Afghanistan, 1992

Steve McCurry

Rabari Tribal Elder, Rajasthan, India, 2010

Steve McCurry

Rajasthan Shadows, Rajasthan, India, 2009

Steve McCurry

Ship Breaking Yard, Mumbai, India, 1996

Steve McCurry

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

Steve McCurry

Ship Breaking Yard, Karachi, Pakistan, 1985

Steve McCurry

Camels and Oil Fields, Al Ahmadi, Kuwait, 1991

Steve McCurry

Flower Seller, Dal Lake, Srinagar, Kashmir, 1996

Steve McCurry

Shaolin Monks Training, Zhengzhou, China, 2004

Steve McCurry

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

Steve McCurry

Intha Fisherman, Burma, 2011

Steve McCurry

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

Steve McCurry

A Pilgrim in Drango Monastery, Tibet, 1999

Steve McCurry

Family Rides Donkey, Afghanistan, 2003

Steve McCurry

Young Man Walks Behind an Elephant, Sri Lanka, 1995

Steve McCurry

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

Steve McCurry

Bicycles on Side of Train, India, 1983

Steve McCurry

Mud Mosque in Djenne, Mali

Steve McCurry

Boy with Banana Leaf, Nepal

Steve McCurry

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

Steve McCurry

Moonrise in Mumbai, India, 1994

Steve McCurry

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

Steve McCurry

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

Steve McCurry

Boats on the Sulu Sea, Philippines, 1985

Steve McCurry

Russian Car in Old Havana, Cuba, 2010

Steve McCurry

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

Steve McCurry

Geisha in Subway, Kyoto, Japan, 2007

Steve McCurry

Stepwell, India, 2002

Steve McCurry

A Decorated Elephant and Sleeping People, India, 2012

Steve McCurry

Blue Mosque, Mazar-E-Sharif, 1992

Steve McCurry

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

Steve McCurry

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

Steve McCurry

Pedicabs in a Flooded Street, Varanasi, India, 1983

Steve McCurry

Pigeon Feeding near Blue Mosque, 1991

Steve McCurry

Kumbh Mela Festival, Allahabad, India, 2001

Steve McCurry

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival, India, 1994

Steve McCurry

Man in Bamiyan Mosque, 2006

Steve McCurry

Woman in Canary Burqa, 2002

Steve McCurry

Mujahid Prays, 1980

Steve McCurry

Teeth Maker in Kandahar, Afghanistan, 1998

Steve McCurry

Jodhpur Fruit Vendor, Jodhpur, India, 1996

Steve McCurry

Calcutta, India, 1996

Steve McCurry

Afghan Women at Shoe Store, Kabul, Afghanistan, 1992

Steve McCurry

Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan, 2007

Steve McCurry

Mujahideen Fighters watch Convoy, Nuristan, Afghanistan, 1979

Steve McCurry

Father and Son in Helmand Province, 1980

Steve McCurry

An Afghan Refugee in Balochistan, Pakistan, 1981

Steve McCurry

Bird Seller, Afghanistan, 2002

Steve McCurry

Afghan Girl hiding her Face, Peshawar, Pakistan, 1984

Steve McCurry

Girl in a New Coat, Xigaze, Tibet, 2001

Steve McCurry

Mujahideen Stand atop a Mountain in the Hindu Kush, 1984

Steve McCurry

Chand Baori Stepwell, Rajasthan, India, 2016

Steve McCurry

Flower Vendor on Dal Lake, 1999

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.