Among all species, our human hands are unique – not only in what they can accomplish,but also in how they communicate. Human hands can paint the Sistine Chapel, plunck a guitar, maneuver surgical instruments, chisel a David, forge steel, and write poetry. They can grasp, scratch, poke, punch, feel, sense, evaluate, hold and mold the world around us.
– Joe Navarro
With a commitment to his photographic art that includes donning native garb in order to sneak into war-ravaged lands, then sneaking back out with film sewn into clothes, Steve McCurry has become a master craftsman of iconic imagery.
Steve’s dedication and skill have earned him numerous awards, including the prestigious Robert Capa Gold Medal for “Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad.” The Capa award—named in honor of the daring war photographer, who was killed on a World War II battlefield at the age of 40—was given to Mr. McCurry for his images recording the destructive impact the Soviet occupation (1979–89) had upon the people of Afghanistan.
People the world over, of course, are familiar with Mr. McCurry’s portrait of the “Afghan Girl,” which, after it appeared in 1985, became one of the most-celebrated covers in National Geographic history. And he is esteemed throughout his industry for focusing on the consequences of war, not merely upon the physical environment but upon the human face.
As Mr. McCurry—who has also been honored with the National Press Photographers Association “Magazine Photographer of the Year” award—puts it: “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 the broader landscape, that you could call the human condition.”
In addition to Afghanistan, his pursuits have taken him over the past few decades to such hotspots as Cambodia, Iraq, Lebanon and Pakistan.
For more of Steve McCurry’s striking and heart-rending imagery, please visit his website, especially his recent blog post, “The Silent Language of Hands.” There, his timeless, finely wrought photographs can be found intertwined with passages from the great poets, philosophers and thinkers of many centuries.