Steve McCurry

Who is he?

© Bruno Barbey
© Bruno Barbey

Born in Philadelphia in 1950, Steve McCurry started work as a photographer for a local newspaper. After three years he was sent to India as a freelance journalist and produced his first portfolio based on photos from that trip.

After the publication of his first major work on Afghanistan, he collaborated with some of the most prestigious magazines : Time, Life, Newsweek, Geo and National Geographic.

Sent to a variety of war zones, from Beirut to Cambodia, from Kuwait to the former Yugoslavia, Steve McCurry has always crossed the frontline and risked his life to photograph conflicts across the world.

A member of the Magnum agency since 1985, he has on several occasions received the World Press Photo Award, considered to be the Nobel Prize for photography.


The visit will begin with a selection of previously unreleased black and white photos, taken by Steve McCurry between 1979 and 1980, during his first mission in Afghanistan when he entered covertly, guided by a group of Mujahidin who were fighting the Soviet invasion. He returned there a number of times, which is where the famous young girl Sharbat Gula came from, whom he photographed in the Peshawar refugee camp in Pakistan when she was only 13 years old.

That photo, published by National Geographic, has since become an icon of world photography but also a symbol of hope and peace. Alongside this legendary portrait will be exhibited the photo that McCurry took of this same girl 17 years later, having finally found her again after a lengthy search.

Quite apart from the quality of the photographic material exhibited, the exhibition’s scenography, designed by Peter Bottazzi, is particularly innovatory. The visit is fully transparent, with the photos being presented against a backdrop of transparent material, which represents the presence of the World in the exhibition venue. In addition, the scenography gives this presence a human touch which the visitor senses, drawing him into a vortex composed of the ages, cultures, and ethnic groups that McCurry was able to portray with extraordinary intensity.

An audioguide is offered to every visitor in which McCurry himself tells the story behind his photos along with anecdotes and stunning eye-witness accounts. The final section of the visit contains videos outlining his journeys, his life experience and his concept of photography.

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La Bourse

In 1873 the architect Léon Suys was given the mission to erect the Palais de la Bourse in the heart of Brussels on Boulevard Anspach. The objective at the time was to revitalize the economic activities of the city center but also to modernize the urban core.

The Palace of the Brussels Stock Exchange was not chosen by chance to host this exhibition coming directly from Italy. It was presented for the first time in Turin in the magnificent building La Venaria Reale. The Palais de la Bourse exhibits great architectural similarities with this former royal residence.

In addition to being an emblematic place, the Palais de la Bourse was selected for its location. Located in the center of Brussels, it represents the heart of the city. 

Because of the surrounding pedestrian area, the Palace is a symbol of living together. It was therefore chosen for the explicit link that resides with the exhibition. It highlights the diversity and diversity within the world in the image of Brussels.

The exhibition of The World of Steve McCurry fits perfectly into the MIXITY theme year of Visit Brussels.

Indeed, as "Ville-Monde", Brussels is for many synonymous with openness, conviviality, and freedom. A cosmopolitan city with 183 nationalities, which is the pride of its inhabitants. Faces of all colors, coming from all around the world and speaking a multitude of languages. The constant heterogeneity that emanates has helped to create its values and its identity. 

It is this small oasis of diversity that will highlight throughout 2017. The opportunity to honor the common values that help build the multiple identities of Brussels ; the opportunity above all to give a voice to all and to create a space where this diversity is expressed and claimed in all its forms.

The scenography of the exhibition was conceived by Peter Botazzi and realized by Tempora SA, to which we owe many recent achievements ("21 rue La Boétie", "Abbey of Villers-la-Ville", "Via Antwerp , The road to Ellis Island "," Bastogne 1944 - The Hell of the Ardennes "," 350 years of the City of Charleroi "," From Draisienne to E-Bike "," Forgiveness and Reconciliation, Cardinal Kominek, Unrecognized Father of Europe "," 14-18 is our History! "," Ferme d'Hougoumont "," Musée du Doudou "," Mundaneum "," From Bastogne to Texas "...)