One of my earliest inspirations as a photographer was Steve McCurry. It was one of his most famous photographs that appeared on the cover of National Geographic in June 1985, the striking portrait of a young Afghan Girl. I have already done a little article on my blog about the photo and it is still one of the most famous National Geographic covers ever. My previous post about this photo can be found HERE
Steve McCurry image for National Geographic of young Afghan Girl
Born in 1950 in the USA, McCurry career really took off when he travelled into Afghanistan from Pakistan just before the Soviet Invasion in the mid 1980’s. His photographs from that time were some of the first to show the world images from within Afghanistan during the conflict. I have travelled to Africa in my previous job, photographing villages in Chad and Liberia as well as United Nations Peacekeeping troops and I always found the images captured by Steve Mc Curry as a guide to what I was trying to capture, get my images to tell a story.
As a photographer with National Geographic, some of the images taken are truly a great inspiration for any budding or professional photographer. With awards the world over Steve McCurry has to be one of the most iconic photographers of the 20th century.
Photographer Steve McCurry
I consider McCurry as one of the leading ‘storyteller’ photographers. A photo journalist, a documentary photographer, a photographer that always tries to get the human side to any job he covers. Reading from the press kit on his own website, one of McCurry’s inspirations was the topic of my first Famous Photographers article – Henri Cartier-Bresson. I can only dream to be in the company of photographic greats like these two men.
This has been one of my favourite photos ever. You can’t help but to be drawn into the photo by the girls eyes. Below is what Steve McCurry (National Geographic Photographer) who took the photo says about it
In the shade of an open tent flap, photographer Steve McCurry immortalized the haunted eyes of a 12-year-old refugee in a camp on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The girl’s piercing green eyes, shocked with hints of blue and fear, gave away her story. Soviet helicopters destroyed her village and family, forcing her to make a two-week trek out of the perilous mountains of Afghanistan. “This portrait summed up for me the trauma and plight, and the whole situation of suddenly having to flee your home and end up in refugee camp, hundreds of miles away,” McCurry says of the photo that became a National Geographic icon after it was published on the cover in June 1985. He had come across her two years earlier, while working on a story about the millions of refugees who fled Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion. That was also the only time he saw this nameless face, despite numerous efforts to relocate her after the camp she stayed in was evacuated. Since then, this raw, untouched image has been used on rugs and tattoos, making it one of the most widely reproduced photos in the world, McCurry says. “I don’t a think a week has gone by for 15 or however many years that I still don’t get requests from people, trying to get information on her,” he says.