With an illustrious career that spans over 40 years, Steve Mccurry is renowned for his award-winning evocative images. The American photographer shares his travel plans and projects with Eve Tedja.
Renowned photographer Steve Mccurry
Steve Mccurry’s fame skyrocketed when, disguised in Afghani attire, he crossed the Pakistan border into rebel-controlled Afghanistan, right before the beginning of Russian Invasion in 1979 and captured one of the most heartbreaking images from the war-torn country. One of those iconic images was the Afghan Girl, a piercing photograph of a girl whose searing green eyes garnered the attention of the world.
Since then, the Philadelphia-born photographer has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Robert Capa Gold Medal and the World Press Photo Contest, and gotten his works published and exhibited around the world. Mccurry continues to amass captivating images of vanishing cultures, powerful animals and forgotten rituals through a vibrant and humane lens, including those he took on his recent travels with Silversea Cruises. The small luxury ships sail to over 1,000 fascinating destinations in the spirit of discovery.
“Luxury is about having the time and the opportunities to learn about a place, having some local assistance that can help you discover the location and have a meaningful experience,” states Steve Mccurry on his definition of luxury travel. This passion to travel deeper led him to witness the giant tortoises of Galápagos Island in their natural habitat and have a close encounter with the last remaining mountain gorillas in the jungle of Virunga Mountains, East Africa.
Can you tell us about your current project or preoccupation?
I came back from a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico with Silversea Cruises to photograph the Day of the Dead. At the moment, I am currently working on a long-term book project on Buddhism and supporting my sister, Bonnie Mccurry, to promote the book that she compiled and wrote, Steve Mccurry: A Life in Pictures.
Is there still a place in the world that you have never visited and would like to explore deeper?
I feel very lucky that, at this point in my career, it is much easier for me to list the countries I haven’t been to, than the ones I have visited. Even so, I have barely scratched the surface of what is out there to see. I would love to be able to visit North Korea or Iran. We are working on this trip to Antarctica and I feel very lucky to have this unique opportunity to discover new places with Silversea. It was always my dream to visit the Galápagos Islands. Being in such close proximity to gorillas in Uganda or snow monkeys in Japan was also a thrill.
How do you travel for leisure? Is there a particular ritual when you explore a new place? I’m always curious about my destination. But when I travel somewhere new, I wander and observe without any preconceived ideas.
Is there a destination or culture that continues to inspire you and makes you want to dig deeper?
Even in the countries I have visited the most - India, China, Bhutan, or Tibet for example - there are countless towns or remote villages that I would still love to explore. There are situations, rural lifestyle, habits, or rituals that I would like to capture before they fade away. The pictures I took of the mud men, the Asaro tribespeople, is one example. They live in the rural highlands of eastern Papua New Guinea, isolated from tourism and modernity. Their enduring ritualistic dance involves smearing their bodies in mud and donning heavy clay masks. Its origin remains a mystery. I’ve been fascinated with the culture of Papua New Guinea my whole life so to be able to capture those images was really special. Name one memorable dining experience you have had on your travels?
In the Japanese Alps during a trip with Silversea in January 2017. We dressed in traditional yukata and had what seemed like a 15-course meal, kaiseki, with the most elegant presentation at Biyu no Yado, a ryokan in Nagano.
Winter in Japan Gorilla of Virunga Mountains of East Africa
The Galapagos Islands The Asaro Mudmen of Papua New Guinea