October 20, 2022
Yesterday marked the UK release of McCurry: The Pursuit of Colour, a feature-length documentary looking at the decades-long career of renowned American photographer Steve McCurry. McCurry is best-known for Afghan Girl, his portrait of Sharbat Gula. It initially appeared on the June 1985 cover of National Geographic and eventually a symbol of displaced refugees across the world.
At the beginning of his career, Steve McCurry told AP in an interview in 2004, he set out with an intent to explore, take in different cultures and observe life. And he has done exactly that. His work has since taken him to the Iran-Iraq War, Cambodia, and Afghanistan. He would become one of the leading photojournalists of his generation and a member of the prestigious Magnum Photos. A lot of his work celebrates cultural diversity in our rapidly changing world.
In fact, at the beginning of the documentary, McCurry laments the world becoming what he calls “one vast homogeneous airport terminal.” “You could be in Shanghai or Kabul or Buenos Aires—it’s all going to be the same,” he says. “I’m not sure you want to live in a world without colour, without difference.”
Pursuit of Colour centers on depicting the photographer’s creative process and the extraordinary moments and photographs that have defined Steve McCurry’s 40-year career, including unpublished images. It documents McCurry’s formative years in India and how his career as a conflict photographer began in Afghanistan. Additionally, McCurry talks about how he came to take his famous Afghan Girl photo.
The film also looks at the emotional toll of being a conflict photographer and McCurry’s decision to back away from it and photojournalism, instead labeling himself as a visual storyteller.
McCurry: The Pursuit of Colour is now available to buy (£9.99) or rent (£4.99) on Dogwoof on Demand.