Becoming Steve McCurry

Afghanistan, 1980, Steve McCurry drinks tea with Afghan men. © Steve McCurry Studios

To inaugurate Photo London’s new series of collaborations with artists and photography professionals, we are delighted to present an exclusive premiere of Steve McCurry’s series of videos from self-isolation.

Being accustomed to travelling most of the year for work, McCurry found himself forced to stay at home and decided to take this unusually long period of stasis to reflect on his career. Over five short films – which will be published every other week on Photo London’s website – McCurry will revisit his career and some of his major projects.

Steve McCurry’s photographs are instantly recognisable. As one writer said, “He has managed to come back with photos that speak of dignity and humanity even in places seemingly devoid of it. A master infiltrator of the human condition, McCurry has a way of finding the ‘us’ in ‘them.’ ” This has helped to make him one of the world’s top photographers who always manages to find and celebrate the universal.

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Steve McCurry has been one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography for over three decades, documenting conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture. His image of a young Afghan refugee with piercing eyes—the June 1985 National Geographic cover—has become one of the most distinctive in photographic history.
Born in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; McCurry studied film at Pennsylvania State University, before going on to work for a local newspaper. After several years of freelance work, McCurry made his first of what would become many trips to India. Travelling with little more than a bag of clothes and another filled with film, he made his way across the subcontinent, exploring the country with his camera.
Since then, McCurry has gone on to create evocative images in over six continents and countless countries, with scores of magazine and book covers, as well as solo global exhibitions. Despite his prolific output his pictures always retain the human element that made his celebrated image of the Afghan Girl so powerful. He has published many books and retrospectives, including Monsoon (1988), The Path to Buddha (2003), Portraits (1999), On Reading (2016), Steve McCurry: A Life in Pictures (2018) and most recently, Animals (2019).
McCurry has been recognised with some of the most prestigious awards in the industry, including the Robert Capa Gold Medal, National Press Photographers Award, and an unprecedented four first prize awards from the World Press Photo contest.