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Grief, Grind, and Glory of Work

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2013 by stevemccurry

Last month the world heard the tragic news
that more than a thousand people working at a clothing factory in Bangladesh,
were killed when 
the factory they were working in collapsed.

Myanmar, Burma, 1994, final book_iconicBurma

The appetite for cheap clothing in the West is insatiable.
The people making the clothing  often pay the true cost of these items.
The scale of this factory in Burma is vast.
The sense that these workers are just part of an immense machine is
accentuated by 
the pink shirts they are obliged to wear.

BURMA-10221NF, Myanmar (Burma), 07/1994Burma

Labor disgraces no man;
unfortunately, you occasionally find men who disgrace labor.  

- Ulysses S. Grant

YEMEN-10053NF4Yemen

Whether it is men fishing,  nuns washing dishes, miners digging beneath the earth, or 
working in the heat of a steel mill, work is universal, yet intensely personal. Millions work in order to survive, and for them,
there 
is no debate about how to achieve a life/work balance.  

INDONESIA-10006Woman working in a field devastated by volcanic debris and flood waters.  Java, Indonesia

INDIA-10330NFShoe repair shop in India

Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work.
– Horace

BURMA-10619NFBurma

 

Your life is a journey, not a rest.
You are travelling to the promised land, from the cradle to the grave.
The Sunday at Home, December 7th 1854

INDIA-11144, India, Bombay, 1997Mumbai, India

INDIA-10456NF
Gujarat, India

The heights by great men reached and kept,
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

YUGOSLAVIA-10068MKS Steelworks, Serbia

JAPAN-10026Japan

Working for long periods under extreme stressful work conditions can lead to
sudden death, a phenomenon the Japanese call karoshi. The word in China is guolaosi.

PAKISTAN-10006NFLandi Kotal, Pakistan

AFGHN-10146Bakery run by Afghan widows, Kabul, Afghanistan

Dubrovnik, Croatia, 1989Croatia

Many find their identity in the work they do. Some enjoy intense satisfaction in their work.
For others, the line between work and play is hard to find.

Tibetans, 07/2001, final book_iconicIndia

INDIA-10679NF2, Bombay, India, 09/1993. Textiles,
           Mumbai, India

A suger cane farmer stand in his field in Luzon, Philippines, 1985Sugar cane farmer, Philippines

Everything yields to diligence.
- Thomas Jefferson

BRAZIL-10044NF8, Brazil, Latin America, Lavazza, 08/2010Drying coffee beans, Brazil

If a man is called a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or
Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.  He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of
heaven and Earth will pause to say, Here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.  
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

KASHMIR-10016Flower Seller, Dal Lake, Kashmir

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Right as Rain

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2012 by stevemccurry

During the year I shot the monsoon assignment, I learned to see it as a critically important event, 
and not the disaster it had first seemed to my Western eyes.
Farmers experience the monsoon as an almost religious experience

as they watch their fields come back to life after being parched for half the year.

Varanasi, India 

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s annual monsoon rains have arrived at the southern Kerala coast,
a top weather official said on Tuesday, brightening prospects of higher farm output by aiding
farmers to plant summer-sown crops such as rice, soybean and cotton on time.
June 6, 2012

Goa, India

Rain is grace;
Rain is the sky descending to the earth …
– John Updike

India


For half the world’s people, good monsoons, those rain-bearing winds of
Asia and the Subcontinent, 
 mean life and prosperity.
Poor ones are marked by famine and death.

Bangladesh

The rains fall on one horn of the buffalo, and not on the other.
-Indian Proverb

Kabul, Afghanistan

Java, Indonesia

Nepal

Northern Territory, Australia

Tokyo, Japan

Tibet


It is no use to grumble and complain; It’s just as cheap and easy to rejoice.
When God sorts out the weather and sends rain – Why, rain’s my choice.
- James Whitcomb Riley

Sri Lanka

Indonesia

Cambodia

The drops of rain make a hole in the stone, not by violence, but by oft falling.
- Lucretius

Porbandar, India

India

Dalit women cleaning streets, Mumbai, India

Burma

Only He shakes the heavens and from its treasures takes out the winds.
He joins the waters and the clouds and produces the rain. He does all those things.
- Michael Servetus (1511-1553)
Spanish theologian, physician, cartographer

Cambodia


Monsoon History
Shirley Geok-lin Lim
The air is wet, soaks
into mattresses, and curls
In apparitions of smoke,
Like fat white slugs furled
Among the timber
Or silver fish tunnelling
The damp linen covers
Of schoolbooks, or walking
Quietly like centipedes,
The air walking everywhere
On its hundred feet
Is filled with the glare
Of tropical water.
Again we are taken over
By clouds and rolling darkness.
Small snails appear
Clashing their timid horns
Among the morning glory
Vines.

Bojonegoro, Java, Indonesia

Monsoon Festival, India

For months there is no rain, and then there is too much.
Half the world’s people survive at the whim of the monsoon.

Two men try to cross a monsoon swollen river after the bridge was swept away, Goa, India

The Power of Nature

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2011 by stevemccurry

 Please scroll to the bottom for the Unpublished Portrait of the Week

JAPAN-10060Japan

JAPAN-10072Japan

The word tsunami comes from two Japanese words: tsu, which means harbor, and nami, which means wave.

 JAPAN-10105 Japan

JAPAN-10084Japan

 In March  2011, Japan suffered from one of most violent earthquakes in history. 

JAPAN-10057Japan

 Its coastline shifted by as much thirteen feet to the east.

JAPAN-10071Japan

 The tsunami spawned by the earthquake destroyed virtually everything in its wake.

JAPAN-10100Japan

INDONESIA-10001NF6Duckweed carpets the water in a girl’s front yard at Bojonegoro, Java, Indonesia

Covering the monsoons  entailed day after day wallowing in filthy
water up to my
chest, or standing in the street in a torrential downpour, my shoulder aching from the umbrella
propped in my armpit, and an impatient assistant wishing he were somewhere else.

INDIA-10405NFPorbandar, Gujarat, India

I spent four days, in the flooded city of Gujarat, India, wading around the streets in waist-deep water that was filled with
bloated animal carcasses and other waste material.

INDIA-10436Porbandar, Gujarat, India


The fetid water enveloped me leaving a greasy film over my
clothes and body.  Every night I returned to my flooded hotel,
empty except for a nightwatchman, and bathed my shriveled feet in disinfectant.

INDIA-10220Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi, India

INDIA-10307NGoa, India

 Hurricane Katrina which hit New Orleans in August  2005,  was one of the deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States.
Almost two thousand people died in the hurricane and the flood which followed.

USA-10136New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

USA-10139NFNew Orleans, United States

USA-10129New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

USA-10130New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

On December 26, 2004, the Indian Ocean tsunami killed over 230,000 people in fourteen countries.

 SRILANKA-10048Four days after the tsunami hit Sri Lanka’s coastline
A man prays for the victims 

UNSEEN / UNPUBLISHED PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK

USA-10387 Texas, United States 

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Unpublished, Unseen

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2009 by stevemccurry

Over the past thirty years, I have taken hundreds of thousands of pictures.  Many of them have been published in my books, in magazines, and seen in my exhibitions, but a majority have never been seen.  Here are a few of those unseen pictures.

Note:  November 9 – I have added some pictures at the bottom of the Berlin Wall which came down twenty years ago today.

KASHMIR-10097

Kashmir, 1999

KASHMIR-10096

Kashmir, 1998

INDONESIA-10006

Java, 1983

BURMA-10457

Burma, 1994

00535_06

Australia, 1983

AFGHN-10121NF3

Kandahar, Afghanistan, 1992

AFGHN-12909UU

Bamiyan, Afghanistan, 2006

AFRICA-10150

Morocco, 1988

00364_09NY

Manhattan neighborhood, 1996

00081_12NYCP

Central Park, New York, NY, 1994

00438_19_8Berlin Wall

Fall of the Berlin Wall, November, 1989

Berlin Wall1

Wall1

Wall4

00438_06Wall2

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