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Portraits Hardcover – June 17, 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'these beautiful and often uplifting images ... cross the boundaries of language and culture to capture the significant and the smaller stories of mankind.' Daily Telegraph 'McCurry can make the hellish look heavenly ... incredible photographs that change the way we look at our world' The Sunday Times Magazine

From the Publisher

Magnum photographer Steve McCurry never set out to take portraits. Critically acclaimed and recognized internationally for his classic reportage, over the last 20 years he has worked for the "National Geographic" and other publications on numerous assignments: along the Afghan border, in Baghdad, Beirut and the Sahel. McCurry's coverage of the monsoon won first prize in the World Press Awards, and was part of his portfolio when he was named Magazine Photographer of the Year in 1984. In 1985, McCurry photographed an Afghan girl for the "National Geographic". The intensity of the subject's eyes and her compelling gaze made this one of contemporary photography's most celebrated and best-known portraits. McCurry is now equally famous for his other portrayals of memorable faces that he has encountered while travelling throughout the world. Compelling, unforgettable and moving, McCurry's images are unique street portraits: unstylized and unposed snapshots of people that reveal the universality of human emotion.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; First Edition edition edition (June 17, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071483839X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714838397
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #709,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Steve McCurry has been a one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography for more than 30 years, with scores of magazine and book covers, over a dozen books, and countless exhibitions around the world to his name.

Born in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; McCurry studied film at Pennsylvania State University, before going on to work for a local newspaper. After several years of freelance work, McCurry made his first of what would become many trips to India. Traveling with little more than a bag of clothes and another of film, he made his way across the subcontinent, exploring the country with his camera.

It was after several months of travel that he found himself crossing the border into Pakistan. There, he met a group of refugees from Afghanistan, who smuggled him across the border into their country, just as the Russian Invasion was closing the country to all western journalists. Emerging in traditional dress, with full beard and weather-worn features after weeks embedded with the Mujahideen, McCurry brought the world the first images of the conflict in Afghanistan, putting a human face to the issue on every masthead.

Since then, McCurry has gone on to create stunning images over six continents and countless countries. His work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture alike - yet always retains the human element that made his celebrated image of the Afghan Girl such a powerful image.

McCurry has been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards in the industry, including the Robert Capa Gold Medal, National Press Photographers Award, and an unprecedented four first prize awards from the World Press Photo contest, to name a few.

Published books include The Imperial Way (1985), Monsoon (1988), Portraits (1999), South Southeast (2000), Sanctuary (2002), The Path to Buddha: A Tibetan Pilgrimage (2003), Steve McCurry (2005), Looking East (2006) In the Shadow of Mountains (2007), The Unguarded Moment. (2009) and The Iconic Photographs (2011)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have met Steve McCurry and viewed his slide presentation and am enchanted by his work. He captures his subject's mood and environment with a beautiful quality of light and color. Although I found it hard to maintain my enthusiam as there are so many images and no accompanying story with any of the images. I also wish that the book had been printed in a larger size. All the images are roughly 5x7 and larger images would have really made me feel as if the subjects were looking back at me. But please do not misinterpret this review, the book is a bargain. It is filled with pages and pages of wonderful images of people from areas many of us will never have the opportunity to visit, much less photograph with such intimacy. A great gift and a nice addition to anyone's table. I just wished it was bigger and had some text.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a collection of some of the most beautiful and masterfully composed portraits I've seen. McCurry is a National Geographic photographer and almost every page in the book could be a cover photo. Many photos of interesting faces from India, Chad, Nepal, Afghanistan, Philippines, China, Mali, Tibet, and (a few of the most interesting) Los Angeles. Small format photos (about 5x7). Photos are printed full page (to each edge of the page) on the right-hand side, and opposite each photo is printed the city, country and year the photo was taken. Photos lack commentary or descriptions and are not categorized, but I found this rather nice. Page turns are often new locations, and the lack of commentary leaves interpretation to the imagination. Just look into the eyes of the subjects and you'll start to feel their story. Great book -- too bad it's so small. It's got a spot on the coffee table nonetheless.
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By A Customer on June 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
There are a lot to be said about this little handbook. For reason being there is nothing written on the pages except photographs. I don't want to use that line but, truly, a picture is worth a thousand words. One's own imagination is more intimate with one's self while looking at those miraculous photographs, than would when restricted with the words and passion of another. I also enjoyed the size of this little marvel; each picture is the size of a snap shot photo and delivers equal proportional faces that seems like, with the turning of each page, a remembrance of adventures thru out the world and me with my little photo hanger book.
While surfing the web, I was fortunate to find a supplementary companion for Steve McCurry’s book of Portraits; it is a well-made web site that provides a sample of 48 imagines taken from the book. Along with a short bio of the author, video clip of varies shooting locations and year and location of which each photo presented was taken.
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Format: Hardcover
Beauty is a huge thing, far too large to fit on any one face. It takes hundreds to capture even part of it - maybe as many as six billion.

This is a sample of our faces. There are no words in this book, just a face on the right-hand page and a place and year on the left. There doesn't seem to be any special order by place, time, or theme. Any order present is probably in the reader's mind only - not a bad thing, I think.

Young, old, man, woman, and some I'm just not sure about. The most varied in dress and adornment may be the many photos from India. The most varied in the people themselves may be Mali. As a group, the most beautiful may be the faces of Niger. The most startling, by far, are the Afghanis - so familiar in their features, but so very far from from my own world. If you don't like my answers, ask again. I'll probably have a different impression each time I look through this wondeful book.

And of course, there is "Pakistan 1985," the cover model. That may be the most famous, certainly the most arresting portrait of the modern era. The face is warm and somber, but the eyes look back out of the page, and into the viewer. I wonder whether they see more than my eyes can.

//wiredweird
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first saw the picture of the mysterious (but now located) "Afgan girl" on a calender 20 years ago. I stopped, stared, walked past, returned and stared some more. I did not see the holes in her shawl or the dirt on her face until the second look. Only then did I realize that this was not the photograph of a model. The eyes are hypnotic.
Portraits is filled with other remarkable photos of people. Ordinary people from ordinary places. The color schemes and balance in the photographs are mesmerizing. As one pages through the book, the clear oneness of humankind shows through. Many of the photos of children defy description. McCurry says in the prologue that faces stare back at him from places he will never forget. The book's message to me is that there are people all over the world whom we should never forget.
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Format: Hardcover
Steve McCurry truly has a gift to capture the very heart and soul of the people he shows us with his photographs. I came away feeling like I somehow 'knew' each one, and after looking at them, just wanted to weep with the emotions that stirred within me. Essence lifts from his pictures, and I am impressed to display all of them, as they have certainly made indelible footprints on my very own heart and soul.
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