McCurry: The Pursuit of Color

For the first time, celebrated American photographer Steve McCurry opens up about the stories behind his iconic images and reflects on the defining moments of his extraordinary life and forty-year career.

MCCURRY: THE PURSUIT OF COLOR offers an intimate portrait of the life and work of one of the world’s most celebrated contemporary visual storytellers. For the first time, McCurry opens up on film to tell the extraordinary stories behind his most iconic images and reflect on the pivotal moments of his life, which defined his fifty-year career.

We journey back to his formative years in India, his experiences photographing the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan and learn how he came to take his most famous photograph, “The Afghan Girl”. We also meet the photographer ́s family, friends and long-time colleagues, including writer Paul Theroux, former Director of Magnum Robert Dannin and National Geographic picture editor Elie Rogers, who offer their own insight into why McCurry’s images continue to resonate so strongly with audiences worldwide.

Alongside his professional accomplishments, the film also explores the personal challenges McCurry faced in his life; a difficult childhood, a physical disability and a deep sense of isolation. These obstacles informed the photographer’s defiant and adventurous character and the striking nature of his work. However, his success has come at a personal cost; as a lone traveler for decades, he has nowhere to call home.

About Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry has been one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography for more than forty years, with scores of magazine and book covers, over a dozen books, and countless exhibitions around the world to his name. He is best known for his photograph “Afghan Girl” which originally appeared in National Geographic magazine. McCurry has covered armed conflicts, including the Iran-Iraq War, Lebanon Civil War, the Cambodian Civil War, the Islamic insurgency in the Philippines, the Gulf War and the Afghan Civil War.

He has been a member of Magnum Photos since 1986. In 2004, he founded ImagineAsia, a non-profit organization, which works in partnership with local community leaders and regional NGOs to help provide educational resources and opportunities to children and young adults in Afghanistan.


  • Robert Capa Gold Medal for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad (an award dedicated to photographers exhibiting exceptional courage and enterprise)
  • Magazine Photographer of the Year (1984), awarded by the National Press Photographers Association
  • Four first-place prizes in the World Press Photo contest in the same year
  • The Royal Photographic Society’s Centenary Medal in 2004

About Denis Delestrac – Director, Producer

In 2001, after having worked in the United States as a writing journalist and photographer, Denis Delestrac switched careers into documentary filmmaking. The result is a list of prize-winning documentaries, sparking public debate on numerous occasions and that even have influenced political decision-making on an international level. Some of his best films are Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space (2009, produced by Mark Achbar, director of The Corporation) and Sand Wars (2013), which was selected at over 40 festivals and won 15 awards including a Gold Panda, the Greenpeace Prize and a Gemini Award.

In 2016 he worked with Polar Star Films for the first time and directed Freightened. The film was selected at more than 60 festivals and was broadcast in more than 20 territories worldwide. Denis Delestrac met photographer Steve McCurry on one of his first films in 2001, when he was working on the series Nomads. The encounter between the two creatives lead to a friendship that lasts until today.

Cover Picture by Dario de Cristofaro.

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