Skip to content

Book: Steve McCurry The Iconic Photos

Reading Time: mins

This collection of renowned photographer Steve McCurry’s photographs brings together some of the most iconic photos from his travels around the world.

McCurry has an incredible ability to capture people in intimate moments, giving us little glimpses into his subjects lives.

“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.” Steve Mc Curry

McCurry has a wonderful feeling for colour, creating beautiful images that read like stories.

I like too that his compositions are close enough to capture something revealing about his subject, but also far enough away that he can bring in the surroundings to enhance the story and understanding of the location they are in.

In this great interview with McCurry by travel photographer Oden Wagen there were some excellent points that McCurry makes that we can bring into our photography. First:

“A picture of a guy in the street in New Guinea, with a bone through his nose is interesting to look at. But for it to be a really good photograph; it has to communicate something about what it is like to live with a bone through your nose. It is a question of the moment to reveal something interesting and profound about the human condition.”

When Wagen asked McCurry the question of how you can create original work in this heavily photographed world, his answer really struck me –

“In time, you start to develop your own way of seeing and then it’s your own personality coming through the camera. We are all unique individuals; we all have our personalities. We all have our own voice and our own style. If you look at the photographers whose work we admire, they’ve found a particular place or a subject, dug deep into it, and carved out something that’ll become special.”

Ultimately – we shoot what we are. So it doesn’t matter what the subject, we all bring our own unique collection of experiences to bear when we take photos and create.

You can purchase the book directly from Phaidon, the publisher, or through most online and at good bookshops.

For further inspiration – here is Steve McCurry talking about his life and photography, and how he still gets nervous approaching strangers to photograph:

“[Approaching strangers] is a bit hard because I tend to be a bit shy, I have to really force myself to go and explain can I [take your photo], because we all hate rejection. I just have to literally push myself to go up.”