Steve McCurry has been one of the most iconic figures in contemporary photography for more than thirty years. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, McCurry studied cinematography at Pennsylvania State University, before going on to work for a newspaper. After two years, McCurry made his first of what would become many trips to India. Traveling with little more than a bag of clothes and film, he made his way across the subcontinent, exploring the country with his camera.
It was after several months of travel that he crossed the border into Pakistan. In a small village he met a group of refugees from Afghanistan, who smuggled him across the border into their country, just as the Russian invasion was closing the country to Western journalists. Emerging in traditional dress, with full beard and weather-worn features after months embedded with the Mujahideen, McCurry made his way over the Pakistan border with his film sewn into his clothes. McCurry’s images were among the first to show the world the brutality of the Russian invasion.
Since then, McCurry has gone on to create unforgettable images over six continents and numerous countries. His body of work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture alike – yet always retains the human element that made his celebrated image of the Afghan Girl such a powerful image.
McCurry has been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards including the Robert Capa Gold Medal, National Press Photographers Award, and an unprecedented four first prize awards from the World Press Photo contest amongst dozens of others.