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Kabul, 2016 | © Steve McCurry/Courtesy of TASCHEN
Kabul, 2016 | © Steve McCurry/Courtesy of TASCHEN
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A New Book by Renowned Photojournalist Steve McCurry Showcases the Beauty of Afghanistan

Picture of Rachel Gould
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 23 April 2018
For the last 40 years, celebrated American photojournalist Steve McCurry has explored Afghanistan through his camera lens. Showcasing a curated selection of luminous portraits and arresting landscapes, his eponymous new book juxtaposes beauty and chaos in an ancient, war-torn country.

When it appeared on the cover of National Geographic in 1985, Steve McCurry’s Afghan Girl (1984) became one of the most widely-recognized portraits in the world. Over three decades later, Afghanistan (2017) exhibits a compilation of imagery from the photographer’s travels between 1979 and 2016 through a stunning, though perilous nation.

Steve McCurry, Afghanistan. Hardcover, 256 pages | Courtesy of TASCHEN
Steve McCurry, Afghanistan. Hardcover, 256 pages | Courtesy of TASCHEN

“Afghanistan is a country overwhelmed by tribal rivalries, colonial wars, and geo-political conflict,” says Taschen, the book’s publisher. “The Afghans have always called their mountains ‘the land of rebellion.’ Yet born of such chaos, such entrenched conflict are these most breathtaking and beautiful of images.”

Bamiyan, 2006 | © Steve McCurry/Courtesy of TASCHEN
Bamiyan, 2006 | © Steve McCurry/Courtesy of TASCHEN

McCurry has documented Afghanistan’s people, culture, and terrain through a series of radiant, painterly compositions that are “entirely at odds with the battle-torn backdrop of the region in which [they were] taken,” Taschen continues.

Kabul, 1992 | © Steve McCurry/Courtesy of TASCHEN
Kabul, 1992 | © Steve McCurry/Courtesy of TASCHEN

His risky journey through the nation’s “treacherous, unpredictable landscape,” historically occupied by the Mujahideen, the Russians, and the Taliban, has yielded an unparalleled body of work from this region. His retrospective tome includes photographs that were previously unavailable to the public.

Bamiyan, 2003 | © Steve McCurry/Courtesy of TASCHEN
Bamiyan, 2003 | © Steve McCurry/Courtesy of TASCHEN

Published by TASCHEN, Afghanistan by Steve McCurry comes out on August 19, 2017.