The story behind the world's most famous photograph
Three decades ago, Steve McCurry took arguably the most iconic picture of all time. Yet even after all this time, the pre-eminent photographer brims with enthusiasm when he talks about "Afghan Girl." "I knew she had an incredible look, a penetrating gaze," he recalls. "But there was a crowd of people around us, the dust was swirling around, and it was before digital cameras and you never knew what would happen with the film. "When I developed the picture, I knew it was special. I showed it to the editor of the National Geographic, and he leaped to his feet and shouted, 'that's our next cover'." Not only did "Afghan Girl" become the magazine's next cover, but the most successful in its distinguished history. The striking portrait of 12-year-old Sharbat Gula, a Pashtun orphan in the Nasir Bagh refugee camp on the Afghan-Pakistan border, was taken in December 1984 and published the following year. The woman, now in her forties, has recently been found to be living in Pakistan.