Perhaps one of the most iconic images of the 20th Century, Steve McCurry’s Afghan Girl captures the haunting green-eyed gaze of Sharbat Gula, a young woman who McCurry encountered in a refugee camp in Peshawar, Pakistan in 1984, during the Soviet occupation of her home country of Afghanistan. The portrait covered the June 1985 edition of National Geographic, and brought attention to Western audiences regarding the plight of refugees across the world. McCurry, an American photojournalist from Philadelphia, has been concerned with depicting humanity from all strata of life throughout his artistic career. Notably, the photographer has concentrated on the effects of war on people – what it does to their psyches, their lifestyles. McCurry strives to evoke empathetic connections between his subjects and his viewers.
On exhibit in Pavia, Italy until June 3, 2018, The Visconti’s Castle Stables project presents a grand exhibition of McCurry’s career in retrospect titled “Steve McCurry – Icons”. Curated with over 100 pieces of the photographer’s most iconic work, viewers have the chance to engage with a multitude of diverse cultures, societies, and circumstances captured by McCurry. In a world where many people have experienced technological alienation and ideological contention, Icons offers the opportunity to shed these pressures by connecting individuals to the greater network of humanity. Viewers can empathetically engage with McCurry’s subjects, who through the photographer’s dignified lens reflect the complexities of the human condition and the state of the world.
Curator Biba Giacchetti states that McCurry’s photos
“allow us to cross borders and get to know a world that is destined for great change. The exhibition begins, in fact, with an extraordinary series of portraits and develops between images of war and poetry, of suffering and joy, of amazement and irony”.
Witness for yourself the legacy of one of humankind’s greatest photographers – a legacy that presents both ancient and contemporary ways of life, vanishing cultures, and the humanity behind it all.
Article by Cheyenne Cunning