No man has ever brought the face of Afghanistan to the world better than Steve McCurry. His fascination with the cultures of the world and its people sets him apart from others in the field.
His presentation was held in no better place but the Crescent Club on the ninth floor of the Vaughn Center.
McCurry started by talking about his education.
“I nearly flunked out of High School,” he said.
From high school he moved on to a college in West Virginia and eventually transfereed to Penn State University where his involvement in the school newspaper led him to love still photography.
When he got out of school he started working for a local newspaper in Philadelphia, but soon quit and began his travels around the world.
He bought a ticket to go to India and only planned to stay for a couple of months but he stayed for two years.
That lead him to where he is today. He is a photo journalist handling assignments from National Geographic.
“Find something that you love, so that you don’t feel like you are working,” McCurry advised to future photographers.
“Write! For the writers, and travel of course.”
After his brief background and advice the lights dimmed and his priceless photos were projected on the screen.
As he explained the pictures he took which were from India, Afghanistan, Burma and other countries, he couldn’t but help express his sense of humour.
He came back home from one of his trips on September 10, 2001 and the next moring was something he will never forget. He watched the Twin Towers fall and could do nothing else but go shoot some pictures.
As the implications of the attacks led back to Afghanistan, he went back to find “The Afghan Girl” which he had taken pictures of several years earlier.
He found her, and he repayed her for the use of her photograph by granting her request to make a pilgrimage to Mecca and payment for the education of her daughters.
During the question segment he was asked if he ever experienced culture shock when he returned to the states. He replied that he never did. He realizes how much we waste and our attraction to sports.
“We have lost our way,” he said.
Some future places he would like to travel would be Cuba, Mongolia and Vietnam.
“What makes a good photograph?” he was asked.
“A good photo tells some story about the human condition or life on the planet,” McCurry replied.
This is what he did for Afghanistan and this is what he will continue to do for the world.