A Matter of Faith

AFGHN-12236NF3 Girl praying at a mosque, Kabul,  Afghanistan

 

 I have seen many manifestations of  faith during my travels over the past three decades.  Some have been spontaneous, some have been part of a liturgy, some have been prescribed rituals, some have been in magnificent buildings, others have been outside under a tree.   Some people’s faith is embedded in the way they live their lives.

 

 

CHINA-10018NF2Shaolin monks training, Zhengzhou, China

 

“Just as the body cannot exist without blood, so the soul needs the matchless and pure strength of faith.”   Mohandas Gandhi

PAKISTAN-10079Prayers and teaching, Peshawar, Pakistan

 

 

 

INDIA-10201 Sikh holiest site, Golden Temple,  Amritsar, India

 

 

 

 

SRILANKA-10144Sri Lanka

 

 

 

TIBET-10093NF2Prayer Flags, Lhasa, Tibet

 

 

 

USA-10001Charlotte, North Carolina

 

 

YEMEN-10102 Religious Instruction – Jewish child  in Yemen

 

 

 

KASHMIR-10056Srinagar, Kashmir

 

 

 

BRAZIL-10041Brazil

 

 

ITALY-10022Camino, Italy

 

 

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary.  To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”   

- St. Thomas Aquinas

 

 

INDIA-10755India

 

 

INDIA-10202Thrissur Pooram, Kerala, India

 

  “Faith is a bird that feels dawn breaking and sings while it is still dark.”

    - Rabindranath Tagore

 

                                                                       

INDIA-10299Tibetan Prayer Festival in Bodh Gaya, India

 

 

TIBET-10029Pilgrim praying with monks at the Buddhist Academy of Larung Gar, Kham Province, Tibet

 

“What is Faith?  When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer.”

- Prophet Muhammad

 

TIBET-10009Monk at Jokhang temple, Lhasa, Tibet

 

60 Responses to “A Matter of Faith”

  1. Hi Steve,
    Great blog.

  2. WHERE IS IRAN PIC??

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Proof that we are all one family.

    Mike

  4. nunca ta bien captada la fe !!!!! regocijo mi alma al ver las fotos!!!!!

  5. Sugandha Thakran Says:

    Steve,
    I think you are an angel sent by God to show man how beautiful the world around him is. I am an ardent admirer of your work and have sketched many of the portraits you have photographed. I am wonderstruck at your ability to see the sublime patterns and symmetry in this imperfect world. Thank you.

  6. I love these topic, tell a lot!

  7. Claudia O. Says:

    Steve,
    I am truly inspired and amazed by your photographs.. thank you so much for sharing..As a photography fan and student , it’s a real treat to see and learn from them. Best,
    Claudia

  8. For Steve Says:

    Hi Steve!

    Just wanted to say i admire your photographic work, it is beautiful reflection of love and realness. Always a pleasure to the eye.

  9. [...] McCurry recently posted A Matter of Faith. Steve McCurry needs no introduction for photographers, but for the non-photographer; Steve McCurry [...]

  10. [...] photographer Steve McCurry posted a series of photographs entitled A Matter of Faith. David Sanger followed this up with a similar themed blog post, Images of Faith, and a suggestion [...]

  11. [...] week, Steve McCurry posted a series of photographs in a post entitled A Matter Of Faith. David Sanger followed it up with a post of his own called Images of Faith. He also put a call out [...]

  12. Anbazhagan Says:

    Your photos rivet my eyes on them..
    Of many things, it makes me think . That is why i see them.
    In addition to what is seen i also look for a ‘view’ of the photographer.
    Lens do not lie..and the photo is copy of an instance.
    Innumerable instances occur, over a period of time as well over a wide area geographically…of any activity…
    Praying is one such activity, symbolised in many ways..That is what is captured in the above album, i think….
    This activity has been transforming over the period of time…
    The difference between one religion and another is highlighted more than the similarity and the need for harmony..
    Capturing the transformation would put us in tune with time…and to realize the need for taking steps to harmonise…
    Capturing the usual in a realistic way may look nice, but it would be too naive to believe that things are that easy to follow one’s religion with understanding or to truly search for a way to go beyond the symbols and rituals…
    I like your last sentence, but you do not have a picture to show that !

    I admire you..

  13. [...] recent blog post by National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry, A Matter of Faith, shows a portfolio of wonderful images from around the world and reminds me of my own longstanding [...]

  14. As always completely inspiring.
    Thank you for sharing.

    wberridgephoto.com

  15. I am at a loss for words…simply a stunning collection.

  16. Hello Steve,
    Thanks for sharing these amazing pictures with us.
    These give a wonderful overview of ‘faith’ all over the world, but most of all in Asia.
    As for myself I’m also an Asia lover and love to travel through this continent.
    I’m following your blog for quite a while after it was suggested to me by a common friend of us, Photojournalist Karl Grobl from San Diego.
    I recently started my own blog at wordpress with pictures of Asia.

    http://travel2photograph.wordpress.com/

    If you have some free time, I would appreciate if you could have a look at my blog.
    Thanks in advance,
    Greetings,
    A Belgian travelphotographer

  17. What a remarkable series. As I started to scroll down, I thought I’d found a favourite, and wanted to add some extra words about it. But then there was another and another, and it became impossible to choose, so l’ll leave it at that, and let these wonderful images just speak for themselves…

  18. [...] A Matter of Faith « Steve McCurry's Blog [...]

  19. Mayank Sharma Says:

    I am so much moved by your perspectives…I am following you for a quite while ….started doing amateur bit of mortal photography taking inspiration from your works.

    I don’t comment usually…the more I think about your work ideas and the cultural vividness the more I feel that there is no limit to reach the perfection and imagination…Wish me all the best to do some good stuff in my pursuit of painting the life . Hats off !!

    Your story about the last roll of Kodachrome was a beautiful one…like a inspirational story :)

  20. wow! thats almost a combination of all the faiths around the world! thank you for sharing.

  21. This is such an amazing collection. So spiritual and inspiring….emotionally evocative. Thank-you!!!

  22. going through this was quite an experience… i switched between awe and amusement while scrolling down this page.

    Must add here that the compilation of pitures from a over a period of time and different locations brings a unique flavor to this page. appreciate the effort!

  23. Colorblindxs2 Says:

    Awesome!!!!

    Faith Is The Road To Success When Put into Action

  24. Admirable work.

  25. eivindstensnes@gmail.com Says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful images!

  26. Dinesh Bhatia Says:

    Dear Steve,

    I have always enjoyed your blog and your inspiring photography. I hail from a place where you seem to have spent lot of time capturing life including the one in your last kodachrome roll.

    While you have captured true human emotions, sometimes I see pictures where the subjects may have posed (?) for photograph. Do the subjects benefit in any ways while their faces/emotions are captured. It is not a critical question but just a curious thought.

  27. PS – I read your response to Greg. I think that the whole faith vs. religion issue is much more complicated. People have done horrendous things in the name of their faith just as they have in the name of their religion. What we find in every religion is the very best and the very worst of human behavior. When people give any concrete expression to their faith, they are moving in the direction of religion. Throughout human history, the spiritual giants have all been connected to some religion. When one goes deeply enough, one transcends the structures of religion and moves more and more in the direction of what we these days call spirituality.

  28. Hi Steve,

    What a beautiful picture and caption .. love it to the bone.
    You give me the inspiration to do the same thing with my pict collection and do the practice ..

    Thank you for sharing that such a beautiful picture .. two thumbs ups

  29. james lalsiamliana Says:

    An amazing expressions on Faith…

  30. Sandeep Soman Says:

    the photographs are amazing! I feel lucky to have seen these images!!

  31. This is an incredible post. I keep coming back to it. No way can I delete it. What a fabulous affirmation of our spiritual diversity.

  32. Love those pictures.
    I’m photographing a lot this “subject”. Faith is the good word to name it.

  33. Expertise, hard work and experience of 30+ years …

    The best collection, one can find on web…

    Thanks for sharing,

    Regards,
    Pawan

  34. Tapan Verma Says:

    Steve I will first thank you to share such good image with us. In fact the theme “Religion” is a very difficult to capture with a grace. You have captured many religions of the world with dignity. I am speechless to praise them all.

  35. As much as I disliked St. Aquina and religion during my study in philosophy, I do think that faith displays a person’s determination, character, and their way of life.

    My favorite shots are the Afghan Girl, Shaolin Monks, Sri Lanka, and Tibetan Prayer.

    Great work as always. I really learned a lot by looking at your blog. Both photography and journalism.

  36. Always amazing lighting, Always amazing color.

    McCurry is a robot that was created in the basement of NatGeo.

    Always give me something to strive for and sets a great example.

  37. Faith is love for humanity and for the good of all-

    I painted a 4th century monastery in Armenia with a strong shaft of light bleeding onto an iron stand with three lit candles- to me hope and faith intertwine in temples and help keep us going no matter our religion or race- it us a belief in ourselves…

  38. Thank you, Steve! I’ve been a silent observer of your blog for quite some time but today’s series touched me really deeply, so I decided to cross the Rubicon and finally say something.

    I especially like the first image in this series. This little Afghan girl is so vividly and convincingly represents the theme! She obviously belongs to a certain religious tradition and is supposed to pray in certain established ways, yet her expression is very open and natural. Her sincere, curious look sort of flies above all traditions and just shows the pure and tender human soul. Such a beauty! Such a beauty!

    And the almost monochromatic tone and framing of the picture gently lead the feeling in the right direction. I love it, Steve! So far, this picture has become one of my very favourites, along with the Bombay woman beggar with a child and the Rajasthan swirl of colourful women in the dust. These three pictures just stand out for me, giving me the wonderful feeling of Life and Human Soul.

    As for faith and religion, we are not bound by anything, like this little girl. We’re free to fly! And your Afghan Girl will always remind me of that.

    Cheers,
    Greg Shanta

  39. Love the shaolin´s one.
    The first one of one of my projects has the spirit of this post.

    http://ro200000.com/projects/ecuador–ruta-del-sol/

    Thanks for sharing !

  40. Steve, your pictures are great and I think you want to show us the “hope side” of faith, which from my point of view is good.
    I think the world would be a much better place if faith would be replaced by love, reason and the perspective that science gives us.

    (We reserve the right to edit/shorten comments)

    • Science gives us love?. Jordi, that sounds kind of strange…

      Here’s my two cents on Religion vs. Science:

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregshanta/5444637969/lightbox/

      I hope you get the sarcasm of the picture. I grew up in Soviet Russia where we never took ‘scientific atheism’ seriously and Faith was the only way to stay sane for millions of our people. It was the only quiet resistance available that allowed one not to turn into a government-controlled hard-working biological mass. Ironically, the more oppressed a society is the more it breeds Faith behind the scenes.

      Religion is a controversial term since it has some sectarian flavor to it (with all historical atrocities attached and sometimes misattributed), although in essence it just means ‘reconnect’, or reestablish the spiritual bond between man and God.

      I like the way Steve uses the word Faith instead of Religion. It has a much more personal aura. And it’s very easy to say that Faith gives us love. It truly does, to so many people. It also gives us freedom from the organized religion.

      Cheers,
      Greg Shanta

      • Greg.
        Thanks for looking at my blog. You put your finger on it! I used the word “faith” – not religion for a reason.
        All best,
        Steve

      • Greg, apparently you didn’t read my comment with attention as I didn’t say that science gives us love. However I do think that a loving person would find more reasons to be so if she/he learned more science. Specially the perspective of live that astronomy gives us. I think you would understand what I mean by reading Carl Sagan. As for your comment, you should know that science was largely abused and corrupted by communism dictatorships.

    • “I think the world would be a much better place if faith would be replaced by love, reason and the perspective that science gives us.”

      Jordi, I took that sentence for what it was, grammatically. Anyway, my statement about love and science was more on a humorous side: a good way to start saying what I wanted to say. I don’t reject science but for me it doesn’t replace God or spiritual faith. Those things can happily coexist. I see no problem there at all.

      Of course, science was abused and misused by the communists, much in the same way as religious or spiritualistic ideas were and still are abused by sectarian religious organizations. In either case, the abuse doesn’t discredit the idea.

      Cheers,
      Greg Shanta

  41. Beautiful. =)

  42. That´s a great series Mr. McCurry!!!
    Thanks for sharing them with all of us.

  43. Wonderful selection!

  44. Another great collection from you Mr. Steve. Thank you very much for for sharing !

  45. These are beautiful images that illustrate both the diversity of humankind in the particularities of forms of worship and human oneness – faith and worship have been so much part of the lived human experience for millennia and continue to be so.

  46. wonderful Shaolin monks image!!

  47. Interesting images.

  48. always inspirational………….

  49. amazing shots

  50. Michael D. Davis Says:

    Isn’t it interesting that faith is the thread that intertwines so many of us on this planet, regardless of race, creed or gender, yet religion colors that finely woven cloth of humanity with bigotry, hate and prejudice?
    Thank you Steve; for through your images we are visually reminded of our similarities.

  51. Great work as always Steve.
    I made a similar post this summer.

  52. Steve, thank you very much! Your postings here are always like a fresh air that is so rare nowadays. We breathe polluted air in our cities and we take in tons of polluted imagery with our eyes. It is very sad but I can say that there is almost no visual culture around in our societies anymore.

    I live in Moscow, Russia and I can feel that even more acutely here. Like you, I prefer spending my time in the East, especially in India. I’ve been going there countless times for about 20 years now. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to go there for the last couple years. So, I’m trying to visually and generally survive by my memories of it and by seeing great imagery, like yours. Thank so much!

    Greg Shanta

  53. Steve,

    Very beautiful and evocative photos. Thank you for sharing.

    Best,
    Mari

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