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A conversation with Steve McCurry

Join the Center for a very special evening with photographer Steve McCurry. McCurry will be featured in conversation with CCP Director Anne Breckenridge Barrett.

Steve McCurry has been one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography for more than 30 years, with scores of magazine and book covers, several books, and countless exhibitions around the world to his name.

Born in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania McCurry studied film at Penn. State University before going on to work for a local newspaper. After several years of freelance work, McCurry made his first of what would become many trips to India. Traveling with little more than a bag of clothes and another of film he made his way across the subcontinent, exploring the country 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 was closing the country to all Western journalists. Emerging in traditional dress with a full beard and weather-worn features after weeks embedded with the Mujahedeen, McCurry brought the world the first images of the conflict in Afghanistan, 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 image of the Afghan Girl such a powerful image.

McCurry is the recipient of 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 also appointed McCurry a Knight of the Orders of Arts and Letters, and recently the Royal Photographic Society in London awarded McCurry the Centenary Award for Lifetime Achievement. Steve McCurry has published sixteen books of his photographs among them: Afghanistan (2017); On Reading (2016); India (2015); From These Hands: A Journey Along the Coffee Trail (2015); Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs (2013); and The Iconic Photographs (2011).

This lecture is in conjunction with Etherton Gallery's exhibition The Unguarded Moment, featuring photos by McCurry of Asia and the Middle East. 

Image: Steve McCurry, Afghan Girl (Sharbat Gula), 1984, digital chromogenic print ©Steve McCurry, courtesy Etherton Gallery