Not only did he take one of the most powerful images of recent times, “Afghan Girl”, but Steve McCurry has been an iconic voice in contemporary photography for more than 30 years. He has scores of magazine and book covers, over a dozen books and countless exhibitions around the world to his name. And now his work is on display in Budapest.
Born in 1950 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 he made his first of what would become many trips to India. Travelling with little more than a bag of clothes and another of film, he made his way across the subcontinent, exploring it with his camera.
It was after several months of travel that he found himself crossing the border into Pakistan. There he met a group of refugees from Afghanistan, who smuggled him across the border into their country, just as the Russian Invasion from 1979 on was closing the country to all western journalists.
Emerging in traditional dress with full beard and weather-worn features after weeks embedded with the Mujahideen, McCurry brought the world the first images of the Afghan conflict, putting a human face to the issue on every masthead.
Since then, McCurry has gone on to create stunning images over six continents and countless countries. His work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture alike – yet always retains the human element that made his celebrated 1984 image of the “Afghan Girl” such a powerful photograph.
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. The Minister of French Culture has appointed McCurry a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, and most recently the Royal Photographic Society in London awarded him the Centenary Medal for Lifetime Achievement.
McCurry has published books including The Imperial Way (1985), Portraits (1999), South Southeast (2000), Sanctuary (2002), The Path to Buddha: A Tibetan Pilgrimage (2003), Steve McCurry (2005), Looking East (2006), In the Shadow of Mountains (2007), The Unguarded Moment (2009), The Iconic Photographs (2011), Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs (2013), From These Hands: A Journey Along the Coffee Trail (2015) and India (2015).
Steve McCurry: Iconic Photographs
Dózsa György út 37, District XIV
10am-6pm except noon-8pm on Thursday and closed on Monday
Until April 3
Further information: mucsarnok.hu