I begin the series of stories from our journey through Hungary with this article – also created as a tribute to his essential work -, regarding the exhibition that took place in the Mücsarnok museum of Budapest, with a selection of some of the iconic images of well-known and talented photographer Steve McCurry, whose career is closed linked with the legendary magazine National Geographic.
After a few days touring the country and photographing places, characters and events of interest, with the usual hectic pace of our travels, we got back to the capital, Budapest, with the idea of making use of the remaining two days to walk the streets and visit the main corners of this beautiful city.
To my surprise, while taking the roundabout at Heroes´ Square, I saw the beautiful facade of Mücsarnok museum announcing – making use of the popular portrait of the young Afghan girl in one of the posters – an exhibition of McCurry´s work. Without hesitation, we decided to add the visit to our busy schedule, dedicating some hours of the next day to this interesting event.
From the local newspaper to the cover of National Geographic
As many readers of Inusualia already know, because of their close relationship with the world of photography, McCurry´s career began in a local newspaper, followed by several years as a freelance photographer and a trip to India, the first of many, that would mean an essential step in his career.
Loaded with a camera, a bag with some clothes and reels, he toured the said country for months until reaching the border of Pakistan. There, he established a relationship with a group of refugees who would help him enter their country, Afghanistan, closed to the foreign press at the time of Russian invasion.
Dressed in traditional clothes of the place, as a normal citizen, he was able to photograph that historical moment and take the first pictures of a conflict that remained banned for Western media, as narrated in the exceptional book Untold, The Stories Behind the Photographs.
Consequence of the mentioned trip, and many others around the world, are the photos published in countless media and awarded with prizes such as the Robert Capa Gold Medal, the National Press Photographers Award or four first prizes in the World Press Photo contest, among many others.
The Iconic Photographs in Budapest
In this exhibition at the Mücsarnok, which serves as a good excuse to honor one of the key figures of contemporary photography, whose humble demeanor I value especially, we could see a small selection of the iconic photographs by McCurry – also collected in a great book with the same title -, before departing to another European city, as it is an itinerant exhibition that may come to a museum next to you in the near future.
Snapshots of various kinds, with variety in their merit and quality, which collect portrayals of history and take us back to moments and places that are no longer as they were, to our regret. Many hours of hard work collected in a series of moments that the author decided to rescue from oblivion, with the help of his camera, in countries like India, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.
It is in the latter where he would photograph the young woman with striking eyes, linked forever to his fame after publishing which is, without doubt, the best known and discussed cover in the history of National Geographic.
If you travel to Budapest, or live in the city, do not forget to check the exhibitions taking place in the Mücsarnok. If you like photography, this year they have an interesting incoming exhibition:
Pictures and Pixels | Photographic Art – and Beyond | National Salon 2016 (April 23 – June 26)
Text and Images © Nano Calvo
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