Behind the Scenes

Reflections on Steve McCurry, by Terence White, from "Steve McCurry: A Life In Pictures"

Steve is now well-known as the photographer who made the famous portrait of the green-eyed Afghan refugee girl in the red shawl, an image any photographer would be proud to call their own, but he never rested on his laurels.

One time outside Kabul, Afghanistan, while the rest of us were reporting on the visit of the United Nations envoy who was trying to negotiate a peace between Masood and the Taliban, Steve was occupied shooting portraits. We were at a Taliban stronghold and there were a lot of picturesque characters floating about. 

These were the days when cameras used roll film, which you had to change every thirty-six frames. At the end of the day, Steve dropped by my place for a cup of tea and a chat. I asked him how his day had been.

"Oh, productive," he said.

Knowing Steve was a perfectionist, I asked him, "So how many rolls did you shoot?"

"Oh, about twenty," he replied.

"Did you get many good portraits out of that?"

"Well--I think I got it."

""What do you mean--'you got it'? You mean out of seven hundred frames, you only got one?"

Steve looked at me and nonchalantly said, "Yes, I think I got one--but it's a good one!"

Steve was the consummate professional.

- Terence White, Excerpt from Steve McCurry: A Life in Pictures