Monday, October 19, 2009

Great Photographs - Afghan Girl by Steve McCurry

This is one of the most famous portraits ever taken. This 1984 photo was published in National Geographic in 1985 and Sharbat Guala became the human face of the Afghani refugees for the western world.

Steve McCurry is a photojournalist who makes his living through his evocative and tremendously brilliant images. Have you ever wanted to be a photojournalist but don't know where to start? Have you tried the method Steve McCurry used?

His career was launched when, disguised in native garb, he crossed the Packistan border into rebel-controlled Afghanstian just before the Russian invasion. When he emerged, he had rolls of film sewn into his clothes of images that would be published around the world as among the first to show the conflict there.

(NB - I don't actually recommend entering war zones in disguise unless you are really, really dedicated)

The image was shot on Kodachrome. I'd be lying if I pretended to understand the process, so I'll just give you a link to the Wikipedia page which you can peruse if you want to know more about the technical aspects.

In the end, Steve McCurry and National Geographic went back to find her and talk to her and see what had happened to her. After a long search, they found her and (with the permission of her husband, which is essential in that part of the world) re-photographed her. It's amazing the difference a lifetime can make.

If you'd like to buy a copy of the original image in poster size, please try Steve McCurry's website here.

1 comment:

Jules said...

It's true that it is a very good picture, but i wonder how much money the 'afghan girl' saw as a result of her picture becoming famous. Funny that he only decided to track her down years later, no doubt to cash in on her again.