“Children” by Steve McCurry
American photographer Steve McCurry’s new exhibition “Children” at the Museo degli Innocenti in Florence is a tribute to an extraordinary period of life, a gallery of surprising portraits that tell about childhood in all its facets, while highlighting a common feature of all children worldwide: their innocent gaze.
The very young protagonists immortalised by McCurry’s camera have different ethnicities, dresses, and traditions. However, with their inexhaustible energy, joy, and ability to play even in the most unusual and difficult contexts, brought about by social, environmental conditions, or conflicts, they express the same feelings.
McCurry is a great master of international photography, who has always demonstrated his very strong empathy and unique ability to weave narratives together, deeply capturing the essence of what he portrays.
The exhibition at the Istituto degli Innocenti in Florence: a symbolic place
“Children” will be hosted in the Istituto degli Innocenti in Florence, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, an iconic place for the care and attention to the young. For over 600 years, the Istituto degli Innocenti in Florence has been promoting and protecting the rights of children, not only by hosting and educating them, but also standing up for their rights, and conducting study, research and cultural promotion activities for the well-being of the new generations.
McCurry’s Exhibition “Children”
The exhibition at the Istituto degli Innocenti begins with a touching series of portraits. It then develops through images of war and poetry, suffering and joy, wonder and irony.
Visitors will be ideally following McCurry in his travels through India, Burma, Japan, Africa, up to Brazil, meeting refugee or working children; children oblivious to danger who play climbing on a cannon or have fun in the mud, who chase a ball during a monsoon downpour, or play a guitar made from discarded objects. Children growing up in big cities as well as in rural villages.
These are stories of joy and community, loneliness, resilience and solidarity, family and friendship, always told with respect and participation.
Viewers will be accompanied by in-depth news reports presented by the Istituto degli Innocenti.
“Children” is a journey into childhood to meet young human beings, who, despite their highly diverse conditions, speak a language in which we can all recognise ourselves. A journey also remembering our own childhood, and food for thought about the responsibility we all have towards the new generations, well aware that the dream of a fairer future depends on the actions of today.
The exhibition “Children” is curated by Biba Giacchetti with Melissa Camilli of the SudEst57 team, with the patronage of the City of Florence, in collaboration with the Istituto degli Innocenti, produced and organised by Civita Mostre e Musei with In Your Event by Cristoforo SCS, and set up with the support of Unicoop Firenze, I Gigli and Mercato Centrale.
Steve McCurry’s Biography
Steve McCurry has been one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography for more than 30 years, with scores of magazine and book covers, over a dozen books, and countless exhibitions around the world to his name.
Born in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; McCurry studied film at Pennsylvania State University, before going on to work for a local newspaper. After two years of freelance work, McCurry made his first of what would become many trips to India. Traveling 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.
It was after several months of travel that he found himself crossing the border into Pakistan. There, he met a group of refugees from Afghanistan, who smuggled him across the border into their country, just as the Russian Invasion was closing the country to all western journalists. Emerging in traditional dress, with full beard and weather-worn features after weeks embedded with the Mujahideen, McCurry brought the world the first images of the conflict in Afghanistan, putting a human face to the issue on every masthead.
Since then, McCurry has gone on to create stunning images on all seven continents and countless countries. 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 such a powerful image.
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. The Minister of French Culture has also appointed McCurry a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters and most recently, the Royal Photographic Society in London awarded McCurry the Centenary Medal for Lifetime Achievement.
McCurry has published books including The Imperial Way (1985), Monsoon (1988), Portraits (1999), South Southeast (2000), Sanctuary (2002), The Path to Buddha: A Tibetan Pilgrimage (2003), Steve McCurry (2005), Looking East (2006), In the Shadow of Mountains (2007), The Unguarded Moment, (2009), The Iconic Photographs (2011), Steve McCurry Icons – Conversations with Biba Giacchetti (2012), Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs (2013), From These Hands: A Journey Along the Coffee Trail (2015), India (2015), and On Reading (2016), Afghanistan (2017), A Life in Pictures (2018), Animals (2019), In Search of Elsewhere (2020), Stories and Dreams-Portraits of Childhood (2021).