A Life in Pictures

Photographs by Steve McCurry


  Kashmiri Man with Henna Beard























Steve McCurry, famous for his cover photos on National Geographic, will be returning to the Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography for the second time, on September 6, 2019. In conjunction with his latest book, A Life in Pictures, written by sister, Bonnie McCurry, Steve McCurry will be available to sign copies from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Books will be made available at the gallery.

Steve McCurry, a native of a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania suburb, began his studies in film, at Pennsylvania State University. It was then that he discovered his passion for still photography. Upon graduation, he joined the local newspaper staff, shooting assignment photographs, after which he moved on to perform freelance work. With only the necessities, McCurry made his first trip to India, in 1973.

Steve McCurry has travelled the planet over, many times. In his earlier years, he worked mostly without a daily agenda, greeting each day by letting it come to him. He walked out into the world allowing the day to unfold, remaining open to "serendipitous moments". McCurry has come to learn that "If you wait, people will forget your camera and the soul will drift up into view." He claims that there is no better life, and considers himself to be an artist or storyteller, rather than a photojournalist.  




McCurry has won an impressive amount of prestigious awards including the Robert Capa Gold Medal Award in 1980, for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad, for the images he captured while in rebel-controlled Afghanistan, for Time magazine. He collected six more awards in 1984 including Magazine Photographer of the Year, by the National Press Photographers Association, and five first prize places in the World Press Competition.

In 1985, McCurry won his first Olivier Rebbot Award Citation for "Monsoons" and "The New Faces of Baghdad" and in 1986, for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad in the Philippines, the same year he became a member of Magnum Photos. Magnum makes its own selections, regarding photographers who become a part of this co-operative agency. McCurry went on to win his third Olivier Rebbot Award in 1992, for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad on Gulf War Coverage.




Over the years, he has been arrested and chained, nearly drowned and almost killed. He has also survived a plane crash, all for the sake of photography. It is because of his curiosity, patience, courage, tenacity and sense of wonder that we have the luxury of roaming the world, without taking a single step. For most, this is the opportunity to travel the globe.

Having established himself in the photographic community, McCurry was honored with obtaining the very last roll of Kodachrome film from Eastman Kodak. According to him, "This was probably the greatest film ever made." Kodachrome was unique in that the dyes that comprised the film's image weren't incorporated into the emulsion until the film had been developed. Kodak exclusively made the chemistry to process this film, which resulted in its trademark, brilliant colors. Without nostalgia, McCurry has since then successfully made the transition to shoot digital photography.

It's not surprising that National Geographic has employed Steve McCurry for nearly 40 years, since 1981. He encapsulates the photographic process by stating "Good pictures are made up of interesting situations, good light, (a) particular moment, the element of composition (and) design that comes into it."

To learn more about this humble photographer, visit the Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography, at 520 Cleveland Avenue N.W., Canton, Ohio, on Saturday, September 7, 2019, for an interview, and question and answer segment, from 1:00-2:30 p.m. The exhibit will remain on view, through February 29, 2020.