The Virunga Mountains of East Africa by Steve McCurry
It’s often said that in the Virunga Mountains of East Africa, where Rwanda meets Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, explorers sometimes travel in a peculiar kind of silence. The reason? They have just witnessed the majestic sight of wild primates in their natural habitat – a potentially life-changing experience. Steve McCurry spent time with the last remaining mountain gorillas in the dense jungles of Kibale and the Bwindi National Park, having traveled to the bucket-list destinations with Silversea. It was the first time the legendary photographer had traded portraits of humans for portraits of wild gorillas, but the once-in-a-lifetime experience will be remembered among his greatest.
After a long hike into the African jungle – an otherworldly landscape that boasts an abundance of wildlife – McCurry came face-to-face with his subjects. He was fascinated by the 10 or 15 gorillas’ humanistic mannerisms, their relaxed dispositions and their playful natures. A spirited infant even brushed up against him, before scampering off to play. For such large animals, the gorillas were surprisingly agile: they darted up trees and swung between branches, becoming indistinguishable in the jungle’s lofty canopy. But McCurry’s compelling photographs depict recognizable expressions and intricate emotions.
The mist-filled jungle of the Virunga Mountains gave an ethereal feel to the experience for the photographer, who was mesmerized by the sight of these extraordinarily human-like animals. McCurry was present and in-focus. His senses became aware. His soul became larger. Moments like these are the reason we travel.
Capturing the Authentic Beauty of the World
Steve McCurry needs no introduction. He is most probably the greatest living photographer today. His iconic “Afghan Girl” image has captured the hearts and minds of thousands – the eloquence of her haunted expression, telling the world of her fate through her vivid green eyes – is simply stupendous.
So, when considering our new direction, Steve was a natural choice for us. He is a born storyteller with the soul of an explorer. His unique ability to capture what is left of the authentic beauty and truth in the world and express it with clarity and emotion is just brilliant. A McCurry image not only takes you on a journey, it inspires you to travel the world.
Steve McCurry has been one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography for more than 30 years. 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, the National Press Photographers Award, and four first prize awards from the World Press Photo contest.