There is nothing like walking to get the feel of a country. A fine landscape is like a piece of music; it must be taken at the right tempo.
-Paul Scott Mowrer
Steve McCurry is an American photojournalist best known for his photograph, “Afghan Girl” that originally appeared in National Geographic magazine.
His career was launched when, disguised in native garb, he crossed the Pakistan border into rebel-controlled areas of Afghanistan just before the Soviet invasion. When he emerged, he had rolls of film sewn into his clothes. Those images, which were published around the world, were among the first to show the conflict. His coverage won the Robert Capa Gold Medal for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad, an award dedicated to photographers exhibiting exceptional courage and enterprise.
McCurry continued to cover armed conflicts, including the Iran-Iraq War, Lebanon Civil War, the Cambodian Civil War, the Islamic insurgency in the Philippines, the Gulf War and the Afghan Civil War. His work has been featured worldwide in magazines and he is a frequent contributor to National Geographic. He has been a member of Magnum Photos since 1986.
He is the recipient of numerous awards, including Magazine Photographer of the Year, awarded by the National Press Photographers Association. The same year, he won an unprecedented four first-place prizes in the World Press Photo contest.
McCurry focuses on the human consequences of war, not only showing what war impresses on the landscape, but rather, on the human face. “Most of my images are grounded in people. I look for the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking out, experience etched on a person’s face. I try to convey what it is like to be that person, a person caught in a broader landscape, that you could call the human condition.”
Steve McCurry is portrayed in a TV documentary The Face of the Human Condition (2003) by French award-winning filmmaker Denis Delestrac.