madness Steve McCurry, “photographer of the green-eyed Afghan”

American photographer Steve McCurry, the guest of honor at the 25th photo festival in Montier-en-Der (Haute-Marne), is the idol of some visitors who come from afar to see him.

A year of negotiations, e-mails, calls, cold sweats, until the last day, and above all, a precious contact: the American photographer who knew the Montier en Der festival and played the role of player to convince Steve McCurry to come from the United States. day near Lac du Der in Haute-Marne. In 2022, an international wildlife photography festival celebrating its 25th anniversary. So, at the age of 72, he is sitting on a wooden table, facing an informed public who know his pictures by heart.

Mysterious face, sometimes smiling, piercing gaze. Steve McCurry is there. If you don’t know his name, you should know his “iconic” photo that attracts visitors. This Afghan girl with green eyes, “dHe was forced to flee the country during the war in Afghanistan, and in 1984 journalist Steve McCurry photographed him in a refugee camp in Pakistan.specifies the National Geographic newspaper that published the famous photo.

The organizers of the International Wildlife Photo Festival have dedicated an entire building to it. The wheat market is full of large-format photographs of the famous reporter. We see faces, gazes, these colors that are always fascinating. Some enthusiasts, like Gilles, came all the way from Chartres just to shake hands with the photographer and have him sign a book. “He’s one of the greatest living photographers. All his pictures are amazing. You just have to look at his shots, they’re unlike anything you’ve ever seen. His color, his portraits are powerful. He’s a beautiful person and human. The photographer sees.” believes, moved. In the bag, he holds the master’s photobook number 3 in a huge format 000 copies.

Serge, like every year, is coming from Marseille to spend three days at the festival. “Steve McCurry is a great reporter. He created war and household images. This is unusual. Especially this young Afghan girl he found, moreover, he recognized her. My sons like his pictures, glad to see him. I didn’t know it would be so accessible.”. Like him, there are hundreds of people queuing up to have their picture taken with Steve McCurry. The organizers of the festival are also smiling.

We have been wanting to host him here for three years. It is important for our festival to have him there, not just to offer an exhibition of his photos.” Régis Fournel, vice-president and coordinator of the Montier-en-Der nature photography festival, explains. “Steve McCurry is a star. He doesn’t specifically photograph animals, but he released a book called ‘Animals’ and it’s an opening for us to other things and to another audience. We’ve had the same impact as Mathieu Ricard or Vincent Munier, attracting their fans. who”.

VIDEO: Steve McCurry interview

Arguably the world’s most famous living photographer, Steve McCurry trusted France 3 Champagne-Ardenne. “I take nature photos to show dogs, cats, camels or elephants and how they coexist with people. Sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes it’s sad. I think we should show more compassion to living things in general. In Kuwait 30 years ago during the Gulf War I saw camels foraging for food, followed them and lost sight of them in the smoke. I wanted to give them water, but it was difficult, I don’t know what happened.”.

About the portrait of the green-eyed girl Sharbat Gula, who was 12 years old in 1984, she says, “it was the moment when all the elements came together. An incredible moment that reveals the light, the facial expression, the humanity. That was 35 years ago, and it’s still powerful to talk about it today.” She got married at the age of 13 and had six children. He is still the most famous refugee in the world today.

“There is a contemplative or meditative quality to photography that I consider to be a kind of peaceful state.

Steve McCurry


Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, McCurry studied film at Pennsylvania State University before working at the newspaper. Two years later, McCurry made his first trip to India, where he visited many times. His journey is great. For him “There is a contemplative or meditative quality to photography that I consider a kind of peaceful state. I love to travel the world, get to know different cultures and landscapes.

If necessary, it allowed the Montier en Der festival to prove that, at the age of 25, it can rise to the ranks of the world’s inevitable photo events. “This festival is rare in the world, I am very happy to be there to celebrate nature and animals.” summarizes the American photographer.

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