Steve McCurry's 1984 photograph of a Pakistani refugee Sharbat Gula - dubbed 'Afghan Girl' - has been compared to Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.
The National Geographic cover image of the 'Afghan Girl', arguably one of the most famous photographs of our time, will be among the works exhibited at St James Cavalier, Valletta this month, during an exhibition of photographs by the award-winning Steve McCurry, entitled Odyssey.
The American photographer, working within the documentary tradition, captures the essence of human struggle and joy.
Member of Magnum Photos since 1986, McCurry has searched and found the unforgettable; many of his images have become modern icons. Born in Philadelphia, McCurry graduated cum laude from the College of Arts and Architecture at the Pennsylvania State University. After working at a newspaper for two years, he left for India to freelance. It was in India that McCurry learned to watch and wait on life. "If you wait," he realised, "people will forget your camera and the soul will drift up into view".
McCurry's career was launched when, disguised in native garb, he crossed the Pakistan border into rebel-controlled Afghanistan just before the Russian invasion. When he emerged, he had rolls of film sewn into his clothes and images that would be published around the world which were among the first to show the conflict there.
His coverage won the Robert Capa Gold Medal for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad, an award dedicated to photographers exhibiting exceptional courage and enterprise. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including Magazine Photographer of the Year, awarded by the National Press Photographers' Association. This was the same year in which he won an unprecedented four first prizes in the World Press Photo Contest. He has won the Olivier Rebbot Memorial Award twice.
His work has been featured in most major magazines in the world and frequently appears in National Geographic magazine with recent articles on Tibet, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and the temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
McCurry is driven by an innate curiosity and sense of wonder about the world and everyone in it.
He has an uncanny ability to cross boundaries of language and culture to capture stories of human experience.
"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."
Odyssey will be on display at St James Cavalier, Valletta until June 24. A meet and greet with the photographer will also be organised - strictly by invitation - on June 19. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org, 99 263626.