War Reporting Is Dangerous But Sacred Duty -Steve McCurry

Veteran photojournalist Steve McCurry described war reporting as a “sacred duty” in an interview.

This week, the guy behind one of the most iconic pictures of all time—the green-eyed Afghan girl on the cover of a 1984 National Geographic—unveiled a new collection alongside the Paris Photo exhibition.

“The profession of photographer during a war has changed dramatically. It is much more dangerous,” said the 73-year-old, who has worked all over Asia and beyond and was recently on assignment in Ukraine.

“In the past, you were more respected; you were more protected,” McCurry told AFP.

“Now they might actually target you because they know they will get some kind of publicity for capturing or killing a journalist.”

Even earlier war reporting could take a personal toll, however.

“You can be haunted by certain pictures for years,” he said.

“You have to be careful not to let that become debilitating and obsess on it because it’s kind of a negative force.

“You have to remind yourself that this is the work you’ve chosen. And who else is going to tell us the story about what’s happening in our world? It’s a sacred duty, and it’s not for everybody.”

Today’s journalists face much more competition than when McCurry was starting out in the 1970s—from ordinary people with phones.

“It’s not just you reporting the news; it’s you plus thousands of people doing films and videos,” he said.

But the ethical challenges remain the same.

“You need to keep a distance, the same way you never want to carry a gun,” he said.

“You have to be very careful to be neutral. We always have ideas about any subject, but we need to keep our credibility, be an honest reporter, and not get involved in anything that could put our credibility in jeopardy.”

McCurry’s latest book, “Devotion”, offers a sort of antidote to the images of war.

“Having a greater purpose in life—whether it has to do with animal rights, community service, or maybe a doctor—is something that I’ve always been in awe of,” he said.

“Even just people devoted to caring for a spouse—the selflessness and compassion is a beautiful thing,” he said.

Leave a Reply