Guests of The President of Umbria, a region in Italy, gathered at the opening of the Sensational Umbria photography exhibit by world-renowned National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry this month for his November 8-16 exhibit at the Italian Trade Commission.
The event showcased photographs of the many different sides of life in beautiful Umbria, capturing the uniqueness of both landscapes and portraits of this stunning region. As guests sipped Italian wines and nibbled on small plates, they browsed the stunningly beautiful images hung in the all-white atrium. The 100 photographs commissioned by the Region of Umbria showcase the rich history and culture of Italy and and all of McCurry’s work is inspired by his own personal encounters with the area and its people.
McCurry has been 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 working for a local newspaper. After several years of freelance work, he 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, he has gone on to create stunning images over six continents and countless countries. His work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary society alike. Yet he always retains the human element that makes his work so powerful, whether it be in his celebrated image of the Afghan Girl, or his stunning images of the Region of Umbria, Italy. He has also 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.