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Sacred Grounds

Legendary photographer Steve McCurry explores the inner lives of global coffee growers

Author Chris Wright Photography Steve McCurry


Over three decades, Steve McCurry has traveled the world capturing images of people at war, in celebration or just going about their daily lives. His great gift is the ability to engage his subjects in a way that goes beyond candor; his portraits often have a kind of confessional feel to them. You can see this in McCurry’s most famous shot—the image of the green-eyed Afghan girl that appeared on the cover of National Geographic in 1985—and you see it in From These Hands: A Journey Along the Coffee Trail, out this month from Phaidon. In the book, McCurry visits coffee-growing communities in Asia, Africa and South America, the sources of your $5 macchiato. But McCurry is no polemicist. As ever, he seems more interested in exploring the interior lives of his subjects than in commenting on sociopolitical concerns, and the resulting images speak of dignity and beauty rather than hardship and exploitation. (May 15)

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