One of the world’s most famous photographers is sharing an astonishing array of pictures from his 40-year career in a new book, and they all share one common theme – spirituality.
Steve McCurry ‘explores human spirituality in all its remarkable diversity and beauty’ in his new book Devotion, publisher Prestel explains.
The photographer, who frequently has work published in National Geographic and is part of the esteemed Magnum Photos collective, shot to renown with his 1984 ‘Afghan Girl’ portrait of Sharbat Gula, an Afghan refugee in Pakistan during the Soviet-Afghan War.
The years that followed saw him travel the world with his camera, capturing evocative scenes everywhere from New York and India to Afghanistan. Some of the photos that have made it into Devotion include a poignant picture of a woman caring for her ailing nephew, a moving image of a woman polishing her late husband’s headstone and a serene shot of a woman meditating by the Ganges river.
‘McCurry captures penetrating moments of devotion, loyalty, faithfulness and dedication,’ the publisher says of his book. ‘Reproduced in stunning colour, these photographs honour the universal desire to create meaning in the midst of everyday life and offer viewers an opportunity to connect with their own spirituality — whatever form that takes.’
Scroll down to look inside this ‘powerful collection of spiritually inflected images’…
Captured in 2010, this picture shows elephants and mahouts (people who tend to elephants) at a rescue sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand
In Kabul, Afghanistan, a man is seen embracing his dog next to his taxi, which was destroyed when the nearby building collapsed during shelling. The emotive photograph was taken by McCurry in 1992
Here, Steve McCurry captures the tender moment of a nurse checking a homeless man’s vital signs in Los Angeles, California
This poignant picture, captured in Vietnam in 2007, shows an ailing man’s aunt helping with his caretaking
The tender moment a woman cleans the headstone of her late husband’s grave in East Germany in 1989 – the year of the fall of the Berlin Wall
An elderly couple walks to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, a church in Lourdes, France, in this beautifully composed shot, which was captured in 1988. McCurry notes that ‘they walked in front of a sign which was a metaphor for their loving relationship’
This colourful picture from 2004 shows monks suspended from a metal beam at the Shaolin Martial Arts School in Zhengzhou, China
A woman carrying metal boxes walks past hundreds of men in prayer at the Bandra train station in Mumbai, India, in this 1996 photograph
This devastating picture shows a brave firefighter scaling a ladder at Ground Zero, New York, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. McCurry lived nearby and when he heard what had happened, he headed straight to the site with his camera to document the tragedy
This moving shot shows a man praying at the site of a temple that was washed away during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in Kathaluwa, Sri Lanka
This powerful photo by McCurry shows a premature baby being treated in a hospital in Jaipur, India, in 2008
LEFT: This heartwarming 1985 photograph shows a grandfather carrying his grandson on his back. It was captured by McCurry in Tokyo, Japan. RIGHT: This peaceful image – taken by McCurry in 1994 – shows a man meditating while facing Sule Pagoda, a Buddhist stupa in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city
This beautiful picture shows a woman joined by resting stray dogs in her early-morning meditation on the banks of the Ganges River in Varanasi, India. It dates back to 2010
An elderly couple return home after working in their corn fields in Gostivar, Macedonia, in this intimate 1989 photograph
Devotion, by Magnum Photos and National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry, is published by Prestel and will retail at £50, €65.51 or $65 when it’s published on November 1. The breathtaking 1994 photograph on the cover shows monks making a pilgrimage to Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, a gold-leaf-covered boulder that’s crowned by a pagoda. McCurry spent days at the site determining the best vantage point and time for the picture, eventually taking this shot shortly after sunset