Steve McCurry in Moscow

December 2021
The works of the legendary photographer Steve McCurry were brought to Moscow to the Museum of Modern Art (MMоMA). We went to look at the works of the author of the famous photo "The Afghan Girl", obviously! But one thing at a time…

MMoMA is made up of several branches, and now, along with the main building of the museum on Petrovka street, the branch on Gogol Boulevard competes, which presents large-scale projects. One of them was a retrospective by Steve McCurry, a documentary photographer, a member of the Magnum agency, one of the most famous photographers.

Steve McCurry is considered the best of those photographers who work with the color today. He is not only the author of the "Afghan Girl", but also thousands of other unforgettable photos from all over the world: India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Sri Lanka. This exhibition continues his large retrospective at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and brings together 80 works, among which there are portraits and landscapes, as well as pictures of natural disasters.
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The entire exhibition was held in several spacious halls. The halls are divided by subject and each has an interesting and comprehensive description of McCurry's works and his biography. Personal archives of the photographer, portraits of Steve himself through years, along with visas and passports were also presented. In a separate room there is a video where McCarthy answers questions about the photos, talks about his life and career and gives some advices to young photographers. We can figure out from the photographer's works what kind of person takes them, what values he has and how he looks at life in general… Well, afterwards the film about Steve McCurry, we got the impression that he is a Man who sees the beauty all around.
A few words about the famous photograph "The Afghan Girl" from the cover of National Geographic magazine. Steve McCurry took it in a refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan: he looked into the tent that replaced the school and asked the teacher to let him stay and take some photos. When he returned to Washington and developed the film, he realized how successful one of the photos was.
"It was one of those incredible, amazing moments in the work of a photographer when everything works out as it should,"- McCurry said many years later.
The photo was published in 1985, and the chief editor initially refused to put it on the cover, considering it "extremely difficult". The girl named Sharbat Gula reached the refugee camp after two weeks through the desert without food and water, after her whole family was killed during the bombing, and in her eyes you could read fear, pain, and love for life. McCurry said that during these 17 years since the shooting, there has not been a day when he has not received a letter or an e-mail addressed to the author of the photo. Some wanted to send the girl money, others wanted to adopt her, men were ready to marry her. That's the power of photography!
NB 0n December 2021: After the withdrawal of the NATO military contingent from Afghanistan and the coming to power of representatives of the Taliban movement (banned in the Russian Federation) in 2021, thousands of Afghans, finding themselves on the verge of starvation, began to leave the country.
Sharbat Gula (The Afghan girl) and her family were among them. She requested humanitarian assistance and moved to Rome as part of a refugee assistance program. Together with another 5,000 Afghans she was evacuated and now lives in Italy.
Author Anna Laza
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