Steve McCurry: The Iconic National Geographic Photographer

Steve McCurry is one of the most well-known photographers in the world. He has been photographing for more than 35 years and his work is iconic to National Geographic magazine. His portrait photography has captivated audiences around the world and his award-winning images have become some of the most recognizable photographs ever taken. In this article, we will explore the life and work of Steve McCurry, one of the most renowned photographers of our time.

Early Life & Career

Steve Mccurry

Steve McCurry was born in Philadelphia in 1950 and began taking pictures when he was just a teenager. He attended Penn State University, where he majored in film and theatre. While at Penn State, McCurry became involved with the student paper and took numerous trips abroad between semesters. In 1976, while on a trip to India, he began taking photographs for his student paper back home; these photographs marked his official start as a professional photographer.

After working for various newspapers throughout the United States, McCurry joined Magnum Photos agency in 1986. It was here that he began shooting for National Geographic magazine and gained attention for his documentary-style photography. Perhaps his most famous photograph, “Afghan Girl” (1984), was featured on their cover page – an image that would later make him world-renowned.

The Iconic “Afghan Girl” by Steve McCurry

Afghan Girl By Steve Mccurry

The iconic photograph of the Afghan girl with piercing green eyes taken by McCurry has become one of the most iconic photographs of all time. Perched in a doorway in a remote village in Pakistan, this striking portrait became an international sensation when it was featured on the cover of National Geographic magazine in 1985. The story behind the photo is as remarkable as the image itself.

McCurry first visited Afghanistan in 1984 and spent six months working for both magazines and newspapers documenting the war between Soviet forces and local Afghan militias. During his travels, he encountered numerous refugees who were searching for a safe harbor from tumultuous home life. While visiting a refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan, he came across a young girl whose unforgettable gaze captured his attention – Sharbat Gula became known as “the Afghan girl”.

McCurry was able to take several photos of her during his visit but would not see her again until 2002 – two years after the Taliban had been overthrown from power. Miraculously, McCurry tracked her down amidst millions of Afghans across several villages and recognized her immediately despite her being 17 years older than when she was photographed. To this day, Sharbat Gula continues to be one of the most recognizable faces in photography and stands as an example of how powerful storytelling through images can be!


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Documentary Style

McCurry’s style is unique yet deeply charismatic; he often takes candid photographs that document everyday life in both remote foreign countries as well as within his hometown of Philadelphia. His work has earned him several awards including 8 World Press Photo Awards, Officer des Arts et Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication (2004) as well as being named an honorary member of Magnum Photos (2005). His projects have included documenting civil wars such as those in Afghanistan and other places like India, China, or Pakistan – but also photographing people from all walks of life within America itself such as truck drivers or small-town churches. He continues to document important cultural events from around the globe even today!

Legacy & Final Thoughts

It can confidently be said that Steve McCurry’s place among history’s most iconic photographers is secure – not only due to his incredible skill behind a lens but also because of how much humanity can be seen through every one of his photos! We may never know what it was that truly drew him to capture such amazing scenes from across global cultures – but surely we can continue to appreciate them all!

Steve Mccurry
by Steve McCurry
Steve Mccurry
by Steve McCurry
Steve Mccurry
by Steve McCurry
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