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Steve McCurry, Monks Praying at Golden Rock, Kyaikto, Myanmar, 1994

Steve McCurry, Monks Praying at Golden Rock, Kyaikto, Myanmar, 1994

As the spring arts season awakens, an exhibition of note will be ending its run at the Cavalier Galleries in Chelsea: Now through March 30, take the opportunity to experience work by American photojournalist Steve McCurry. As one of our most celebrated contemporary photographers, McCurry is best known for his unforgettable portrait of 12-year-old Afghan refugee Sharbat Gula, the “Afghan Girl” who gazed from the cover of National Geographic magazine in 1985. The current solo exhibition marks the release of McCurry’s new book, “Devotion: Love and Spirituality” (Prestel, 2024). The show features over 30 photos that span more than four decades, captured during McCurry’s visits to Cuba, Ethiopia, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Tibet. The images are both timeless and current, featuring human struggles and daily lives.

McCurry’s career took flight in the 1980s, when he crossed the Pakistan border into rebel-controlled areas of Afghanistan, dressed in Afghani garb, just before the Soviet invasion. The images he captured revealed the brutality of the Russian invasion and the harsh toll of war to the world outside for the first time.

Sharbat Gula’s luminous green eyes in the iconic “Afghan Girl” portrait became a symbol for the struggle of Afghan refugees newly arrived in Pakistan. The young orphan girl had traveled to that country by foot with her remaining family.

McCurry’s subsequent work covers seven continents and offers a rare, clear-eyed view of conflicts and rituals, and daily expressions of cultures both ancient and modern. His photos always put the human element in full focus in the way that imbued “Afghan Girl” with such power.

In addition to having been inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame in 2019, McCurry has received numerous prestigious industry awards. In addition to the Chelsea exhibition, a simultaneous exhibition will be on view at Cavalier Ebanks Galleries at 175 Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich, Connecticut through March 9.

In an exclusive interview, McCurry shares some insights with 6sqft on ways that his work in war-torn communities resonates just as much–if not more–in today’s world, along with what has changed since he introduced “Afghan Girl” to the world.

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