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One of the most famous pieces of photojournalism ever created, this image by fearless photojournalist Steve McCurry graced the cover of National Geographic in June 1985. The piercing eyes of Sharbat Gula, a refugee whose parents were killed in the Soviet bombing of Afghanistan, have made this the most recognized photograph in the history of the magazine.
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Synonymous with National Geographic—and the most iconic photo he shot for the publication, 1984’s “Afghan Girl”—photographer Steve McCurry (American, b. 1950) is a master of photojournalism as art. Born in Philadelphia and educated at Pennsylvania State University, McCurry has gone to great lengths to get his shots: In the 1970s, he snuck across the Afghan border in disguise just before the Soviet invasion. He has received numerous awards, including Magazine Photographer of the Year from the National Press Photographers Association and the Royal Photographic Society’s Centenary Medal. He is a member of the influential Magnum Photos cooperative, whose founders include Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson.