Steve McCurry – First Steps

Steve McCurry, New Delhi, India, 1979. © Steve McCurry Studios

In the second instalment of Steve McCurry’s autobiographical series of videos from self-isolation, which premiered on Connect on May 20th, the great photographer retraces the first steps of his career.

He tells us about his admiration for Henri Cartier-Bresson and how they grew closer as the years went by. We learn about his travels and adventures before college, his first journey to India upon graduation, how he found himself covering the Afghan War and the fortuitous encounter to which he attributes the success of his entire photographic career.

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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.