Steve McCurry Reveals Afghanistan and its People Through his Lens



Steve McCurry, a Magnum photographer, has spent several years traveling around the world for his career. And oftentimes, he disguises as a native to blend in with groups of people in places suffering from war.

Although his name is unfamiliar to many, his portrait, which featured a green-eyed Afghani girl, has already been featured in the cover of National Geographic in 1985. It has since become one of the most popular photographs in history.

Now, the photos he took in Afghanistan is being displayed in an art exhibition at Pictura Gallery and it is called “In the Shadow of Mountains”.

After a couple of visits to Afghanistan in over 30 years, McCurry came up with this magnificent collection.

Looking back at his experience, this photographer stated that launched his career in the long-troubled country of Afghanistan. Garbed in native clothing, he crossed the Afghanistan border to get into the country in 1979.

He hid himself within a group of Mujahedeen fighters. And then, he began photographing them. He was able to smuggle a couple rolls of film out of the country by simply sewing them into his clothes. After which, he distributed his photos to various publications around the world. The photos he took were among the first photos to reveal the ongoing conflict within the country.

But, McCurry didn’t just capture the conflict in Afghanistan. He also took snapshots of street scenes, humble abodes, picturesque landscapes, grand mosques, and lovely people.

In the photograph he captioned, “Afghan Women at Shoe Store, Kabul, Afghanistan (1992)”, four women wearing bright colored burqas stand with their backs to the camera.

There was also another portrait captioned “Portrait Photographer, Kabul, Afghanistan (1992)” in which McCurry focuses on a clever reflection of himself through a dignified depiction of an Afghan photographer seated beside his camera.

Obviously, McCurry’s love for his work and his sympathy for those who inspire him, are shown in all his photographs. He once described his approach as:

“It’s about observation and curiosity about the world we live in, wanting to document and report a face that has an incredible story on it. That to me is such a wonderful way to spend your time. Take your time and walk out the door with an agenda. It’s a free flow.”


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