Born in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; McCurry studied film at Pennsylvania State University, before going on to work for a local newspaper. After several years of freelance work, McCurry made his first of what would become many trips to India.
Travelling 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. McCurry brought the world the first images of the conflict in Afghanistan, putting a human face to the issue on every masthead. His work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture alike – yet always retains the human element that made his celebrated image of the Afghan Girl so powerful.
He has been a member of Magnum Photos since 1986. McCurry has 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 but a few.