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Steve McCurry Launches New Exhibition at Birmingham Museum
Beggar Girl, Bombay, India, 1996. © Steve McCurry/Magnum Photos. All rights reserved.
BIRMINGHAM.- Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery presents the first and only UK exhibition of critically acclaimed photojournalist Steve McCurry, in association with Magnum Photos. The exhibition includes over eighty striking images that span a remarkable twenty year career, including his world renowned portrait “Afghan Girl”.

Steve McCurry is recognised as one of the world’s finest photographers and during his career he has covered many international and civil conflicts, particularly within the regions of Asia and the Middle East. McCurry made his name covering the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s, after he managed to smuggle the films over the border by sewing them into his clothes. These images were amongst the first to be seen of the conflict and won him the prestigious Robert Capa Gold Medal. The now iconic image of the young green-eyed girl appeared for the first time on the cover of National Geographic in June 1985, instantly becoming a symbol both of the Afghan conflict and of the refugee situation worldwide. A year later, McCurry became a full member of the international photographic agency, Magnum Photos.

Many of McCurry’s later photographs have also become modern icons, each with a story to tell. An extensive traveller, his work has encompassed Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Tibet and Yemen, amongst others. Best known for his evocative colour images, his compelling photographs are unique street portraits that reveal the universality of the human condition, finding the beautiful in daily experiences. McCurry’s skill lies in blending in, waiting for the unguarded moment when he can capture stories of the human experience in its rawest form.

“The thing I want people to take away from my work is this human connection between all of us…there’s a kind of commonality between all of us. Despite our religion, language or ethnicity, we’re all basically the same”, Steve McCurry

For over 17 years the identity of the Afghan girl remained a mystery, despite McCurry’s attempts to locate her. In January 2002, a National Geographic team travelled to Afghanistan and using biometric technology matched her iris patterns to those of the photograph. Her identity was revealed as Sharbat Gula, and the remarkable story was the subject of a television documentary, entitled Search for the Afghan Girl, to be released on DVD to coincide with the exhibition.

Councillor Martin Mullaney, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture at Birmingham City Council said: “I am delighted that Birmingham’s world class Museum and Art Gallery is staging the UK exclusive of this retrospective of Steve McCurry’s stunning photojournalism. As we bid for UK City of Culture 2013, it is further evidence of the city’s reputation for attracting high profile exhibitions that will attract both local and national visitors.”

Birmingham is one of four cities to be shortlisted for the title of UK City of Culture 2013. Birmingham’s bid, called “The Big Conversation” to reflect the diverse voices within its communities, has drawn upon the creativity and interaction of individuals and organisations from all over the city.

Steve McCurry's Retrospective will be at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery from 26 June - 17 October. For more information please visit www.bmag.org.uk. Additionally “Search For The Afghan Girl”, the amazing story behind Steve McCurry’s most enduring image is out on DVD now.

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery | Steve McCurry | Magnum Photos |


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