Steve McCurry - biography
Steve McCurry, recognized universally as one of today’s finest image-makers, has won many of photography’s top awards. Best known for his evocative color photography, McCurry, in the finest documentary tradition, captures the essence of human struggle and joy. Member of Magnum Photos since 1986, McCurry has searched and found the unforgettable; many of his images have become modern icons. Born in Philadelphia, McCurry graduated cum laude from the College of Arts and Architecture at the Pennsylvania State University. After working at a newspaper for two years, he left for India to freelance. It was in India that McCurry learned to watch and wait on life. “If you wait,” he realized, “people will forget your camera and the soul will drift up into view.” His career was launched when, disguised in native garb, he crossed the Pakistan border into rebel-controlled Afghanistan just before the Russian invasion. When he emerged, he had rolls of film sewn into his clothes and images that would be published around the world as among the first to show the conflict there. His coverage won the Robert Capa Gold Medal for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad, an award dedicated to photographers exhibiting exceptional courage and enterprise. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including Magazine Photographer of the Year, awarded by the National Press Photographers’ Association. This was the same year in which he won an unprecedented four first prizes in the World Press Photo Contest. He has won the Olivier Rebbot Memorial Award twice. Steve McCurry has covered many areas of international and civil conflict, including Beirut, Cambodia, the Philippines, the Gulf War, the former Yugoslavia, and continuing coverage of Afghanistan and Tibet. He focuses on the human consequences of war, not only showing what war impresses on the landscape, but rather, on the human face. McCurry’s work has been featured in every major magazine in the world and frequently appears in National Geographic magazine with recent articles on Tibet, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and the temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodia. McCurry is driven by an innate curiosity and sense of wonder about the world and everyone in it. He has an uncanny ability to cross boundaries of language and culture to capture stories of human experience. “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.” A high point in his career was the rediscovery of the previously unidentified Afghan refugee girl that many have described as the most recognizable photograph in the world today. When McCurry finally located Sharbat Gula after almost two decades, he said, “Her skin is weathered; there are wrinkles now, but she is as striking as she was all those years ago.” McCurry returned from an extended assignment in China on September 10, 2001. His coverage at Ground Zero on September 11 is a testament to the heroism and nobility of the people of New York City. “You felt the horror and immediately, instinctively understood that our lives would never be the same again.”
2007 - In the Shadow of Mountains, Phaidon Press Limited
2006 - Looking East, Phaidon Press Limited
2005 - Steve McCurry, Phaidon Press Limited
2003 - The Path to Buddha: A Tibetan Pilgrimage, Phaidon Press Limited
2002 - Sanctuary: The Temples of Angkor, Phaidon Press Limited
2000 - South Southeast, Phaidon Press Limited
1999 - Portraits, Phaidon Press Limited
1988 - Monsoon, Thames and Hudson
1985 - The Imperial Way, Houghton-Mifflin Company,
Photographs by Steve McCurry and Text by Paul Theroux
2006 - Lowell Thomas GOLD
2006 - National Press Photographers Association 1st Place,
Buddha Rising, National Geographic, Dec. 2005
2006 - Honorary Fellowship, New Zealand Institute
of Professional Photography
2005 - Honorary Fellowship, The Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain,
2005 - Photographic Society of America, Photojournalism
Division-International Understanding Through Photography Award
2003 - International Photography Awards, CA, the Lucie Award
2003 - Distinguished Alumni Award, Pennsylvania State University, PA
2003 - Co-recipient of the NY Film Festival Gold for documentary,
“Afghan Girl: Found”
Distinguished Visiting Fellow, College of Creative Studies,
University of California
2002 - Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa,
Fairleigh Dickinson University, NJ
2002 - Photographer of the Year, PMDA Professional Photographer Award
2002 - Photographer of the Year, American Photo Magazine
2002 - United Nations International Photographic Council: Special
Recognition Award, In recognition of his ceaseless devotion
and outstanding achievement in photography.
2002 - French Art Directors Association, Award of Excellence for
“Women of Afghanistan”
Photography Annual, Communication Arts
Award of Excellence, Book Series, South SouthEast
2000 - Picture of the Year Competition
Book of the Year, South SouthEast
Magazine Picture Award of Excellence: ‘Women in Field, Yemen’
1999 - Pennsylvania State University, PA, Lifetime Fellow Award
1998 - Life Magazine: 'The Eisenstaedt Awards'-
Our World Photo Winner,'Red Boy'
Life Magazine: 'The Eisenstaedt Awards'-
Our World Essay Finalist,'India'
1998 - Picture of the Year Competition, Award of Excellence,
SAJA, Southern Asian Journalistic Award,
Outstanding Special Project
National Geographic Story, India: 50 Years of Independence
SAJA, Southern Asian Journalistic Award,
Outstanding Photograph:'Red Boy'
1997 - Picture of the Year Competition
Magazine Feature Picture Award of Excellence: 'Fishermen'
1996 - Picture of the Year Competition
Magazine Feature Picture Story Award: 'Beggar'
Magazine Feature Picture Story Award: 'Burma: The Richest
of the Poor Countries'
1994 - Pennsylvania State University, Arts and Architecture
Distinguished 1Alumni Award
1993 - National Press Photographers Association, Award of Excellence for
'Rubble of War'
1992 - Oliver Rebbot Memorial Award, Overseas Press Club
Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad on Gulf War Coverage
1992 - Picture of the Year Competition
Magazine Feature Picture Award of Excellence: 'Fiery Aliens'
First Place, Magazine Science Award:
'Camels under a Blackened Sky'
First Place, Gulf War News Story: 'Kuwait: After the Storm'
1992 - World Press Photo Competition
First Place, Nature and Environment: 'Oil-Stricken Bird', Kuwait
First Place, General News Stories: 'Kuwait After the Storm'
Children's Award: 'Camels under a Blackened Sky'
1990 - Award of Excellence, White House News Photographers Association,
1987 - Medal of Honor, Philippines, for coverage of the 1986
1986 - Oliver Rebbot Memorial Award, Overseas Press Club
Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad for work
done in the Philippines
1985 - World Press Competition, Four First Prize First place,
Nature and Nature Series;
First place, Daily Life and Daily Life Series
1985 - Oliver Rebbot Award Citation: 'Monsoons' and
'The New Faces of Baghdad'
1984 - National Press Photographers Association:
Magazine Photographer of the Year
1980 - Robert Capa Gold Medal Award, for coverage of the war in
Afghanistan for Time Magazine