Most online introductions of Steve McCurry say something like “He’s the guy who took the photo of the Afghan girl.” Yes, his portrait of Sharbat Gula, a girl in a refugee camp, was featured on the cover of National Geographic in 1985—and became one of the most recognized photographs of all time. But it should also go without saying that McCurry has produced many, many more remarkable photos over his career. He continues to travel the world, capturing the images as they develop before him. As reported in the blog CNN Photos, his philosophy is “travel to a place, work with the locals, and see what emerges.”
If you’d like to own some of McCurry’s photos, including Afghan Girl, there are numerous ways to acquire them, covering a wide range of budgets—from really, really expensive to free. Just in time for Christmas, here are your pricing options, arranged for your convenience from highest to lowest:
$8,000 to $12,000 (estimate)
For the first time, the National Geographic Society is auctioning off some of its vast collection of 11.5 million photographs and illustrations. The sale will take place December 6, at Christie’s, and will include a special print of McCurry’s Afghan Girl. The 240 pieces offered are expected to bring a total of about $3 million, so don’t expect too many bargain-basement prices. (For an update on the auction, see “Sorry You Weren’t the One to Buy ‘Afghan Girl.’“)
Something less than $8,000, I presume
McCurry offers signed fine-art prints of his work at his website. A pdf catalog is available, but prices aren’t included. If you want to find out how much a print costs, you’ll need to contact a lady named Bonnie.
Also available at McCurry’s site. At this price you can get a 20 x 24 inch poster of one of ten McCurry photos. Proceeds go to Imagine Asia.
McCurry has just published a new book, titled Steve McCurry: The Iconic Photographs. It covers his best of the best (165 images) from the last 30 years. Amazon sells the standard hardback at the above price, but if you absolutely have to spend more, there’s the deluxe edition for $248.85 and a signed edition at Phaidon for $79.99.
If you’re like me, then browsing the photos on the Internet will have to do for now. But it’s not a bad alternative. It certainly gives you the best selection. Several of the links above can get you started, but for the most images, go to the galleries at stevemccurry.com. Wow, he definitely has had some amazing things “emerge” in front of his lens.
Hear McCurry tell how he captured the photo Beggar Girl, Bombay, India:
(Elizabeth I. Johnson, “Curiosity Inspires Iconic Photographer,” CNN Photos; Ula Ilnytzky, “National Geographic to Auction Famous Photos, Art,” San Francisco Chronicle, October 23, 2012)
[top photo: “Steve McCurry Exhibit,” by Steve Evans, used under a Creative Commons license; Bottom photo: “Occhi che scrutano” (Eyes that stare), by Giuseppe Nicoloro, used under a Creative Commons license]