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Eyes that Moved the World: A look at National Geographic's most popular photographer

2015-06-14

These eyes moved the world, but they are not the only ones Steve McCurry has photographed.

The picture of the Afghan girl is timeless. With striking eyes it shows fear, power, determination and vulnerability. But the most famous National Geographic's photographer has also captured many more powerful images.  

This exhibit in Rome's Cinecitta studios, shows some of the unique photographs McCurry has taken over the decades. From ancient Roman statues that seem to have life to others like this one, of an elderly man in Rajastan. It's his own flesh and blood but at certain angles he resemble a statue. 

STEVE MCCURY
Photographer 
"I think we have to really take a deep breath and say, you know what, people have different religions, different races, but, you know what, we have this fundamental humanity. Let's try and get along and not act prejudiced or racist and that sort of thing.”

He's seen life and death from afar and up close, visiting Iran, Iraq, Beirut, Cambodia, the Philippines and Afghanistan. He has traveled the world for more than 35 years, capturing thousands of stories along the way, hoping the journey of those who've suffered is not forgotten. 
McCurry talked about the one photograph and moment that struck him to the core. 

STEVE MCCURY
Photographer 
"And I was walking down the street in Peru and saw these children tormenting this one little boy. And he was crying and very upset. And I walked over and he held his toy gun to his head. And it was this very emotional scene. And if you look at it, it looks like this poor boy is going to kill himself. In fact, as it turned out, the situation resolved itself and he later on started playing with the other children again. But for that moment, it was like his world had come to an end.”

The exhibit titled 'Beyond the Look' includes 150 of McCurry's most powerful photographs. They reflect all human emotions, from the extreme to the ordinary. 

The photographs will be on display until September 20th. They are mostly anonymous faces from distant lands. But with the click of a camera,  an immediate connection of vulnerability, hope and despair is triggered. It's a connection that's not based on the familiar, but rather on intangible sense of humanity. 


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