Afghan Girl, Pakistan

The work of American photojournalist Steve McCurry is powerful, moving and honest. He captures, simultaneously, the beauty and harshness of life.

McCurry's career launched after he crossed the Pakistan border into war-torn areas of Afghanistan during the Soviet conflict, disguised in traditional clothes. He emerged with rolls of film sewn into his garments. To this day he continues to focus on the consequences of war and its impact on the people who experience it.

“Most of my images are grounded in people. I look for the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking out, experience etched on a person’s face. I try to convey what it is like to be that person, a person caught in a broader landscape, that you could call the human condition.”

He is best known for his portrait Afghan Girl that appeared on the June 1985 cover of National Geographic magazine. The identity of the woman remained unknown for 17 years until McCurry and a team from National Geographic rediscovered the woman in 2002. They found out her name is Sharbat Gula. McCurry said “Her skin is weathered; there are wrinkles now, but she is as striking as she was all those years ago.”

I have featured a photograph by McCurry in a previous blog post, The Art of Smile and Nod, however his work is too wonderful not to dedicate a whole entry to.

Here is a small selection from his Portrait series:

Lhasa, Tibet

California, USA

Timbuktu, Mali

Basilan, Philippines

Tahoua, Niger

Ghazni, Afghanistan

Rangoon, Burma

Rajasthan, India

I hope you are just as inspired as I am after seeing these images.

Lei xx

You can find more of Steve McCurry's photography here.