Steve McCurry

Works for Sale

Boy In Mid Flight Jodhpur India, 2007 Steve McCurry
View Artwork

Steve McCurry is best known for his evocative colour photographs that document social issues in wider global geopolitics. His work spans conflict, ancient traditions, vanishing cultures, and contemporary culture; retaining a human element throughout.

Steve McCurry Prints

Artist Biography

Steve McCurry

United States

B. 1950


Steve McCurry was born in 1950 and grew up in Philadelphia. Before applying to the College of Arts and Architecture at Pennsylvania State University, McCurry spent several months traveling in Stockholm, Amsterdam and the Middle East. Whilst studying, he started taking photographs for the college newspaper, The Daily Collegian.

Having worked as a staff photographer at the Philadelphia newspaper Today’s Post for several years, McCurry left his job in 1978 and travelled to India. In May 1979, a group of Afghan refugees managed to smuggle McCurry into Afghanistan, just as the invading Russian forces were closing the country to all Western journalists. McCurry spent months travelling with the Mujahideen and documenting the human cost of the Afghan-Soviet War. He brought the images of the conflict to the world by exporting rolls of film sewn into his turban and stuffed in his underwear. His photographs of the conflict were amongst the first to present the true brutality of the Russian invasion, and were subsequently published in The New York Times and Time magazine. His haunting images garnered worldwide attention, eventually winning him the Robert Capa Gold Medal for the Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad.

Steve McCurry Portrait
Steve McCurry

In 1984 McCurry was approached by National Geographic to photograph the refugee camps along the Afghan-Pakistan border. In the Nasir Bagh camp McCurry found a tent that had been set up as a girls’ school. He noticed one girl with particularly startling green eyes. He recalls ‘she had an intense, haunted look, a really penetrating gaze – and yet she was only about twelve years old… I guess she was as curious about me as I was about her. After a few moments she got up and walked away, but for an instant everything was right – the light, the background, the expression in her eyes.’ That crucial moment resulted in McCurry capturing the most widely-recognised photograph of the twentieth century. The portrait featured on the National Geographic cover in June 1985. The following year, McCurry became a contributing member of Magnum Photos, an international photographic cooperative founded by a group of leading 20th century photographers including Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Over the next three decades Steve McCurry travelled the world, seeking the most important places from which to report picture stories. McCurry has covered many areas of international and civil conflict, including Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Beirut, Cambodia, the Philippines, the Gulf War, and the former Yugoslavia. Instead of photographing combat, McCurry focusses on the human cost of war, often producing arresting portraits and figure studies.

Returning from an extended assignment in China, McCurry’s coverage of the September 11th attacks in 2001 have since become a key document of the events, and is a testament to the heroism and nobility of the people of New York City.

Steve McCurry is the recipient of numerous awards, including Magazine Photographer of the Year, awarded by the National Press Photographers’ Association in 1984. In the same year, he won an unprecedented four first prizes in the World Press Photo Contest. He has also twice won the Olivier Rebbot Memorial Award. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the world, including Germany, Italy, Mexico and the United States of America. McCurry 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 In Search of Elsewhere (2020).


Join Our Mailing List

Stay up-to-date and in-the-know with all the latest from our community.

By continuing to use this site you consent with our cookie policy.