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The Iconic Photographs, By Steve McCurry


The Iconic Photographs, a winner of the 2012 Pictures of the Year International Book Award, is a limited edition survey of the career of the US photojournalist Steve McCurry – including, of course, Afghan Girl, the piercing portrait that seemed so eloquently to express the plight of a nation, and of refugees worldwide, when it was used as the cover shot for the June 1985 issue of National Geographic. (It was later voted the "most recognised photograph" in the magazine's history.)

Characterised by their intimacy, directness and sometimes their humour, McCurry's pictures depict daily life at its most vivid, as it is lived all across India, South-East Asia and the Middle East. But just as arresting are the rich colours, striking compositions and painterly quality of his work, by which a view of the train station in Agra, India, looks like something only Turner could have painted, and a trip to a flower market looks like a Monet.