Photo Essay Time Lightbox 2012 Calendar

This month’s Photojournalism Links collection highlights 10 excellent photo essays from across the world, including Stephanie Sinclair's work on child and underage brides in Guatemala in the latest installment of her decade-long project spanning 10 countries to document the issue of child marriage around the world. In Guatemala, over half of all girls are married before 18, and over 10% under 15. Many girls marry men far older than themselves, end up withdrawing from school and become mothers long before they are physically and emotionally ready. Sinclair's powerful pictures and accompanying video capture Guatemalan girls trying to come to terms with the harsh realities of early motherhood, especially for those who have been abandoned by their husbands.

Stephanie Sinclair: Child, Bride, Mother (The New York Times)See also the Too Young To Wed website.

Sebastian Liste: The Media Doesn’t Care What Happens Here (The New York Times Magazine) These photographs capture a group of amateur journalists trying to cover the violence in one of the largest urban slums in Brazil, Complexo do Alemão in Rio de Janeiro.

Ross McDonnell: Inside the Frozen Trenches of Eastern Ukraine (TIME LightBox)The Irish photographer documented the Ukrainian soldiers in the week preceding the most recent, fragile cease-fire.

Sergey Ponomarev: Pro-Russian fighters in the ruins of Donetsk airport (The Globe and Mail) Haunting scenes of the Pro-Russian held remains of Donetsk airport.

Alex Majoli: Athens (National Geographic) The Magnum photographer captures the people of Greece's struggling capital for the magazine's Two Cities, Two Europes feature on Athens and Berlin.

Gerd Ludwig: Berlin (National Geographic) Ludwig documents Germany's booming capital for the magazine's Two Cities, Two Europes feature on Athens and Berlin.

John Stanmeyer: Fleeing Terror, Finding Refuge (National Geographic) These photographs show the desperate conditions facing Syrian refugees in Turkey.

Edmund Clark: The Mountains Of Majeed (Wired RawFile)The British photographer's latest book is the Bagram Airfield U.S. Military base in Afghanistan, which one held the infamous detention facility. Also published on TIME LightBox.

Sarker Protick: What Remains (The New Yorker Photo Booth)This moving, beautiful series documents the photographer's grandparents. The work was recently awarded 2nd Prize in the Daily Life stories category in the World Press Photo 2015 contest.

Muhammed Muheisen: Leading a Double Life in Pakistan (The Washington Post In Sight)The Associated Press photographer captures a group of cross-dressers and transgender Pakistani men to offer a glimpse of a rarely seen side of the conservative country.

Steve McCurry (born April 23, 1950) is an American photographer who has worked in photojournalism and editorial. He is best known for his 1984 photograph "Afghan Girl", which originally appeared in National Geographic magazine.[1] McCurry is a member of Magnum Photos.

McCurry is the recipient of numerous awards, including Magazine Photographer of the Year, awarded by the National Press Photographers Association; the Royal Photographic Society's Centenary Medal;[2] and two first-place prizes in the World Press Photo contest (1985 and 1992).[3]

Life and work[edit]

McCurry attended Penn State University. He originally planned to study cinematography and filmmaking, but instead gained a degree in theater arts and graduated in 1974. He became interested in photography when he started taking pictures for the Penn State newspaper The Daily Collegian.[4]

After working at Today's Post in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania for two years, he left for India to freelance.

McCurry's career was launched when, disguised in Afghani garb, he crossed the Pakistan border into rebel-controlled areas of Afghanistan just before the Soviet invasion.[5] He left with rolls of film sewn into his clothes. These images were subsequently published by The New York Times, TIME and Paris Match[6] and won him the Robert Capa Gold Medal for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad.[7]

McCurry continued to cover armed conflicts, including the Iran-Iraq War, Lebanon Civil War, the Cambodian Civil War, the Islamic insurgency in the Philippines, the Gulf War and the Afghan Civil War.[7] His work has been featured in magazines and he is a frequent contributor to National Geographic. He has been a member of Magnum Photos[8] since 1986.[9]

McCurry focused on the human consequences of war, intending to not only show what war impresses on the landscape, but rather, on the human face. “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.”[10]

In 2001 Steve McCurry exhibited in an international art exhibition organized by the agency Leo Burnett with the Italian painter Umberto Pettinicchio, in Lausanne in Switzerland.

McCurry is portrayed in a TV documentary The Face of the Human Condition (2003) by Denis Delestrac.

McCurry switched from shooting color slide film to digital capture in 2005 for the convenience of editing in the field and transmitting images to photo editors. He admitted to no nostalgia about working in film in an interview with The Guardian. "Perhaps old habits are hard to break, but my experience is that the majority of my colleagues, regardless of age, have switched over... The quality has never been better. You can work in extremely low light situations, for example."[11]

However, in June 2010, he was working on a project (a series of portraits) that involved the use of one of the last remaining rolls of Kodachrome transparency film which had been discontinued by Kodak. The roll was processed in July 2010 by Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kansas and was to be housed at the George Eastman House.[1][12] Most of the photos, excluding a few near-duplicates, have been published on the Internet by Vanity Fair.[13] "I shot it for 30 years and I have several hundred thousand pictures on Kodachrome in my archive. I'm trying to shoot 36 pictures that act as some kind of wrap up – to mark the passing of Kodachrome. It was a wonderful film."

In May 2013 McCurry was Pirelli's choice of photographer to shoot the pictures for the 2013 Pirelli Calendar in Rio de Janeiro.

"Afghan Girl"[edit]

Main article: Afghan Girl

McCurry took his most recognized portrait, "Afghan Girl",[14] in December 1984 of an approximately 12-year-old Pashtun orphan in the Nasir Bagh refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan.[15] The image itself was named as "the most recognized photograph" in the history of the National Geographic magazine, and her face became famous as the cover photograph on the June 1985 issue. The photo has also been widely used on Amnesty International brochures, posters, and calendars. The identity of the "Afghan Girl" remained unknown for over 17 years until McCurry and a National Geographic team located the woman, Sharbat Gula, in 2002. McCurry said, “Her skin is weathered; there are wrinkles now, but she is as striking as she was all those years ago.”

Controversy about photo manipulation[edit]

In 2016 McCurry was accused of extensively manipulating his images with Photoshop and by other means, removing individuals and other elements. [16][17]

In a May 2016 interview with PetaPixel, McCurry did not specifically deny making major changes, indicating that he now defines his work as "visual storytelling" and as "art". However, he subsequently added that others print and ship his images while he is travelling, implying that they were responsible for the significant manipulation. "That is what happened in this case. It goes without saying that what happened with this image was a mistake for which I have to take responsibility," he concluded.[18]

When discussing the issue with a writer for Time's Lightbox website, McCurry provided similar comments about being a "visual storyteller", though without suggesting that the manipulation was done by others without his knowledge. In fact, the Time writer made the following statement, "Faced with mounting evidence of his own manipulations, McCurry has been forced to address his position in photography." In neither interview did he discuss when the heavy photo manipulation began, or which images have been manipulated. However, considering the controversy it has created, he said that “going forward, I am committed to only using the program in a minimal way, even for my own work taken on personal trips.”[19] McCurry also offered the following conclusion to Time Lightbox, "Reflecting on the situation … even though I felt that I could do what I wanted to my own pictures in an aesthetic and compositional sense, I now understand how confusing it must be for people who think I’m still a photojournalist."


  • 1980: Robert Capa Gold Medal for coverage of the war in Afghanistan for Time[20]
  • 1984: Magazine Photographer of the Year National Press Photographers Association
  • 1984: Daily Life Series, First Place, World Press Competition
  • 1984: Daily Life Category, First Place, World Press Competition
  • 1984: Nature Series Category, First place, World Press Competition
  • 1984: Nature Category, First Place, World Press Competition
  • 1985: Oliver Rebbot Award Citation: Monsoons and The New Faces of Baghdad
  • 1986: Oliver Rebbot Memorial Award: Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad for work done in the Philippines, Overseas Press Club
  • 1987: Medal of Honor for coverage of the 1986 Philippine Revolution, Philippines
  • 1990: Award of Excellence, Spanish Gypsy, White House News Photographers Association
  • 1992: Children's Award: Camels under a Blackened Sky, World Press Photo Competition
  • 1992: First Place, General News Stories: Kuwait after the Storm, World Press Photo Competition
  • 1992: First Place, Nature and Environment: Oil-Stricken Bird, Kuwait, World Press Photo Competition
  • 1992: First Place, Gulf War News Story: Kuwait: After the Storm, Picture of the Year Competition
  • 1992: First Place, Magazine Science Award: Camels under a Blackened Sky, Picture of the Year Competition
  • 1992: Magazine Feature Picture Award of Excellence: Fiery Aliens, Picture of the Year Competition
  • 1992: Oliver Rebbot Memorial Award: Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad on Gulf War Coverage, Overseas Press Club
  • 1993: Award of Excellence for Rubble of War, National Press Photographers Association
  • 1994: Arts and Architecture Distinguished Alumni Award, Pennsylvania State University
  • 1996: Magazine Feature Picture Story Award: Burma: The Richest of the Poor Countries, Picture of the Year Competition
  • 1996: Magazine Feature Picture Story Award: 'Beggar, Picture of the Year Competition
  • 1997: Magazine Feature Picture Award of Excellence: Fishermen, Picture of the Year Competition
  • 1998: Our World Photo Winner, "Red Boy", Life Magazine: 'The Eisenstaedt Awards'
  • 1998: Our World Essay Finalist, India, Life Magazine: 'The Eisenstaedt Awards'
  • 1998: Award of Excellence, Portraits: Red Boy Picture of the Year Competition
  • 1998: Southern Asian Journalistic Award: Outstanding Special Project: National Geographic Story, India: 50 Years of Independence
  • 1998: Southern Asian Journalistic Award: Outstanding Photograph: Red Boy
  • 1999: Lifetime Fellow Award, Pennsylvania State University, PA
  • 2000: Magazine Feature Picture Award of Excellence: Women in Field, Yemen, Pictures of the Year International, Picture of the Year Competition
  • 2000: Book of the Year: "South SouthEast", Pictures of the Year International, Picture of the Year Competition
  • 2001: Award of Excellence, Book Series: South SouthEast Photography Annual, Communication Arts
  • 2002: 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, PMDA
  • 2002: Photographer of the Year, American Photo Magazine
  • 2002: Special Recognition Award, United Nations, International Photographic Council
  • 2002: Award of Excellence for "Women of Afghanistan", French Art Directors Association
  • 2003: Co-recipient of the New York Film Festival Gold for documentary, Afghan Girl: Found, New York Film Festival
  • 2003: Distinguished Alumni Award, Pennsylvania State University
  • 2003: The Lucie Award for Photojournalism,[21] International Photography Awards
  • 2005: Photojournalism Division-International Understanding through Photography Award, Photographic Society of America
  • 2005: Honorary Fellowship, Royal Photographic Society, London[22]
  • 2006: Honorary Fellowship, New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP)
  • 2006: First Place, Buddha Rising, National Geographic, Dec. 2005 National Press Photographers Association
  • 2006: Lowell Thomas GOLD
  • 2009: Ambrogino D’Oro, Milan, Italy
  • 2011: Prix LiberPress, Girona, Spain
  • 2011: Leica Hall of Fame Award, St. Moritz, Switzerland[23]
  • 2014: Photography Appreciation Award,[24]Hamdan International Photography Award

Exhibitions (selected)[edit]

  • 2015-2016: Steve McCurry: India,Rubin Museum of Art, New York[25]
  • 2016: Steve McCurry: The Iconic Photographs, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, Hong Kong[26]


  • The Imperial Way. Text by Paul Theroux.
  • Monsoon. London: Thames and Hudson, 1988; 1995. ISBN 978-0500278505.
  • Portraits. London: Phaidon, 1999; 2012. ISBN 978-0714838397.
  • South Southeast. London: Phaidon, 2000. ISBN 978-0714839387.
  • Sanctuary: The Temples of Angkor. London: Phaidon, 2002. ISBN 978-0714845593.
  • The Path to Buddha: A Tibetan Pilgrimage. London: Phaidon, 2003; 2012. ISBN 978-0714863146.
  • Steve McCurry. Phaidon 55 series. London: Phaidon, 2005. ISBN 978-0714862590.
  • Looking East. London: Phaidon, 2006. ISBN 978-0714846378.
  • In the Shadow of Mountains. London: Phaidon, 2007. ISBN 978-0714846408.
  • The Unguarded Moment. London: Phaidon, 2009. ISBN 978-0714846644.
  • The Iconic Photographs. London: Phaidon, 2011. ISBN 978-0714865133.
  • Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs. London: Phaidon, 2013. ISBN 978-0714864624.
  • From These Hands: A Journey Along the Coffee Trail. London: Phaidon, 2015. ISBN 978-0714868981.


External links[edit]

  1. ^ abMatthews, Katherine Oktober (November 13, 2013). "It's All Mixed: An Interview with Steve McCurry". GUP Magazine. 
  2. ^"Centenary Medal". Royal Photographic Society. Retrieved 20 September 2015. 
  3. ^"Steve McCurry". World Press Photo. World Press Photo. 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2016. 
  4. ^ Biography on Magnum Photos
  5. ^Wallis Simons, Jake (June 29, 2015). "The story behind the world's most famous photograph". CNN. able News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Retrieved June 7, 2016.  
  6. ^Iqbal, Nosheen (June 28, 2010). "US photographer Steve McCurry: Go with the flow". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved June 7, 2016.  
  7. ^ ab Biography on National Geographic Website
  8. ^"Steve Mccurry". Magnum Photos. Magnum Photos. 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2016. 
  9. ^"Steve McCurry: Portraits". Phaidon. Phaidon Press Limited. 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2016.  
  10. ^McCurry, Steve. "Steve McCurry Masterclass: 8 Ways to Improve Your Photography". Eyevoyage. Eyevoyage. Retrieved 24 February 2015. 
  11. ^Iqbal, Nosheen (June 28, 2010). "US photographer Steve McCurry: Go with the flow". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved June 7, 2016.  
  12. ^Last Kodachrome roll processed in Parsons, The Wichita Eagle
  13. ^Friend, David (6 January 2012). "The Last Roll of Kodachrome—Frame by Frame!". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  14. ^A Life Revealed- Afghan Girl, National Geographic
  15. ^Wallis Simons, Jake (June 29, 2015). "The story behind the world's most famous photograph". CNN. able News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Retrieved June 7, 2016.  
  16. ^Sanders IV, Lewis (May 31, 2016). "'Ethical lapse': Photoshop scandal catches up with iconic photojournalist Steve McCurry". DW Made for Minds. Deutsche Welle. Retrieved June 6, 2016.  
  17. ^Cade, DL (May 6, 2016). "Botched Steve McCurry Print Leads to Photoshop Scandal". Peta Pixel. Peta Pixel. Retrieved June 7, 2016.  
  18. ^"Steve McCurry's Rickshaw". PetaPixel. May 31, 2016. May 31, 2016.  
  19. ^Laurent, Olivier (30 May 2016). "Steve McCurry: I'm a Visual Storyteller Not a Photojournalist". Time Lightbox. Time. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  20. ^"Steve McCurry". Worldpress Photo. 
  21. ^"steve mccurry 2003 honoree: achievementment in photojournalism". Lucie. 
  22. ^"Honorary Fellowships (HonFRPS)". Royal Photographic Society. Retrieved 8 March 2017. 
  23. ^"LEICA HALL OF FAME". Leica Camera. 
  24. ^Padley, Gemma (17 March 2014). "HIPA announces prize winners at grand ceremony". British Journal of Photography. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  25. ^"Steve McCurry: India". Retrieved 10 January 2016. 
  26. ^"Images by Famed Photographer Steve McCurry on View at Sundaram Tagore Gallery Pop Up". Sundaram Tagore Gallery. Retrieved 26 April 2016. 

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