Photographer Insight: Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry is an American Photojournalist, best known for his photograph of the Afghan girl that appeared in the National Geographic. He had not studied photography but rather did his undergraduate studies in theatre and became more and more interested in photography in his university days as a photographer for the Penn State University Newspaper, The Daily Collegian. 

He spearheaded his career by first moving to India as a freelancer. Many of his photographs capture a depth in the subcontinent and in many ways, no account of India in photography can be complete without some of his works. He has won numerous prizes including the Robert Capa Gold Medal award for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad. 

In 1986, he joined the prestigious photo agency, Magnum and is still a frequent contributor to the National Geographic. He has covered several conflicts including the  Iran-Iraq Warthe Cambodian Civil WarLebanon Civil War, the Gulf War and the Afghan Civil War among others. 

Any photographer that wishes to work with and understand the power of colour photography must take to the works of McCurry. As Salgado captures depth in his black and white images, McCurry works with the simplicity of portraiture and captures the beauty in colour. McCurry serves as an inspiration to scores of photographers and to this day he serves as a judge to the photocrati awards for amateur photographers in the field of photojournalism. 

Our students are given the task of critiquing the works of great photographers like McCurry. What I am particularly drawn towards is the colours, intensity and intimacy with which he takes his photographs. They are always full of life and stories, giving people an urge to travel and explore the world. Despite covering several wars, McCurry's photographs differ a great deal to people such as James Nacthwey that portray the world around them in a completely different light. Nachtwey captures depth of another type, the sort that leaves you feeling rather depressed at times. McCurry on the other hand finds beauty everywhere, even in the face of extreme poverty.