Archive for Paul Theroux

To Read is to Fly

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2014 by stevemccurry

“To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which
gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety,
ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.”
 – A C Grayling, Financial Times
(in a review of A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel)

DSC_2998_esBrazil

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.
- Jorge Luis Borges

TURKEY-10212Turkey

There is no frigate like a book 
To take us lands away, 
Nor any coursers like a page 
Of prancing poetry. 
This traverse may the poorest take 
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot 
That bears a human soul.
- Emily Dickinson

DSC_8680_esLondon, United Kingdom

01734_06_esShanghai, China

_SM17860_adj; Havana, Cuba; 2010, CUBA-00018 Cuba

00038_18, Serbia, Yugoslavia, 11/1989, YUGOSLAVIA-10127.Serbia

BURMA-10711Burma

We read to know we’re not alone.
-  C.S. Lewis

USA-10880United States

DSC_3030_esCape Town, South Africa

ETHIOPIA-10221Ethiopia

India, November 2007,India

BRAZIL-10103Brazil

When I get a little money I buy books;
and if any is left I buy food and clothes.

- Erasmus

THAILAND-10147Chiang Mai, Thailand

I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!
How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book!
 When I have a house of my own,
I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.
-  Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

_SM17695; Italy; 07/2011, ITALY-10289Italy

00703_20, CANADA-10007, Nova Scotia, Footsteps of Buddha, 06/2005France

The ability to read awoke inside me some
long dormant craving to be mentally alive.

Autobiography of Malcolm X

NEPAL-10108Nepal

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed,
and some few are to be chewed and digested.
- Francis Bacon

UNITED_ARAB_EMIRATES-10005United Arab Emirates

To learn to read is to light a fire;
every syllable that is spelled out is a spark. 

– Victor Hugo

BURMA-10597NFBurma

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily,
often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.
- Joyce Carol Oates

_SM11134, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2011, THAILAND-10066 final print_MACROChiang Mai, Thailand

Reading was my escape and my comfort,
my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it,
for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an
author’s words reverberating in your head.
– Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies

00939_16_es (1)Cambodia

MALAYSIA-10018Malaysia

USA-10821Renowned author, Paul Theroux, Hot Springs, Arkansas

SOUTH_AFRICA-10003NF_webSouth Africa

Beetles & Huxley Gallery
Afghanistan
London, UK
12 May through 7 June 2014

Alex Del Piero Gallery
Power of Ten

Torino, Italy
16 May through 31 August 2014

Beauty in Imperfection

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2013 by stevemccurry

Wabi Sabi is a way of seeing the world that is at the heart of Japanese culture.
 It finds beauty and harmony in what is simple, imperfect, natural, modest, and mysterious.
- Mark Reibstein, Wabi Sabi

TIBET-11043NFTibet

Tranquil simplicity,
rustic elegance,
imperfect beauty…these are qualities that wabi sabi embraces.
Wabi Sabi:  the Art of Everyday Life,  Diane Durston

CAMBODIA-10540_blogCambodia

Taj Mahal, Agra, India, 2010India

Wabi-sabi suggests that beauty is a dynamic event that occurs between you and something else.
Beauty can spontaneously occur at any moment
given the proper circumstances, context, or point of view.
Beauty is thus an altered state of consciousness, an extraordinary moment of poetry and grace.

-  Leonard Koren, Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers

CAMBODIA-10309Cambodia

It is only with age that you acquire the gift to evaluate decay, the epiphany of Wordsworth,
the wisdom of wabi-sabi: nothing is perfect, nothing is complete, nothing lasts.
– Paul Theroux

IRAQ-10057Iraq

00779_03, Morocco, 03/1988, MOROCCO-10165. A decorative door.Morocco

The beauty of wabi-sabi is rooted in modesty that is elegantly perceived.
The aesthetic pleasures of wabi-sabi depend on attitude and practice as much, or more, than on the materiality itself.
- Leonard Koren, op.cit.

_SM15987, Havana, Cuba, 2010, CUBA-10021final print_UrbanArt'12Havana, Cuba

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.
- Gerard Manley Hopkins
quoted in the Daily Good

ETHIOPIA-10109Ethiopia

00408_ 10..Cape Town, Capetown, South Africa.  March, 1996,  SOUTH_AFRICA-10012South Africa

The underlying principles of Wabi Sabi are diametrically opposed
to those of their Western counterparts, 

whose values are rooted in a worldview that
values permanence, grandeur, symmetry, and perfection.

- Andrew Juniper

For a lovely bowl
Let us arrange these flowers
For there is no rice
– Matsuo Bashō,  Japanese Haiku

ETHIOPIA-10048Ethiopia

If you look closely at a tree you’ll notice it’s knots and dead branches, just like our bodies.
What we learn is that beauty and imperfection go together wonderfully.
- Matthew Fox

NEPAL-10006Nepal

DSC_4216; Japan; 05/2011; May; 2011, JAPAN-10101NFfinal print_MACROJapan

LAOS-10013Laos

To banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion, to paralyze vitality.
- John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice

CAMBODIA-10002View of Preah Khan, Cambodia

 A diamond with a flaw is worth more than a pebble without imperfections.
- Chinese proverb

RUSSIA-10067NFRussia

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Just Write

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2012 by stevemccurry

Bamiyan, Afghanistan

Without words, without writing and without books
there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.
- Hermann Hesse

Baluchistan, Pakistan

Writing  is one of the grand, free human activities.
-  Thomas E. Cronin

Yemen

Writing is both mask and unveiling.
- E.B. White

Mali

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.
– William Wordsworth

Kegalla, Sri Lanka

 Burma

Writing is thinking on paper.
- William Zinsser

 Kabul, Afghanistan

The maker of a sentence launches out into the infinite…
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Honduras

Writing is a way of talking without being interrupted.
- Jules Renard, Journal, 10 April 1895

India

Like most—maybe all— writers, I learned to write by writing and,
by example, by
reading books.
– Francine Prose

Bruce Duffy, writer and author, working on an article for Life Magazine, Afghanistan

The pen is mightier than the sword.
- Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Dith Pran, survivor of Cambodia’s killing fields, photojournalist, and author of
Children of Cambodia’s Killing Fields: Memoirs by Survivors

Paul Theroux, writer and novelist, Costa Rica

Words so innocent and powerless as they are,
as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil
they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.
– Nathaniel Hawthorne

Paraguay

Creative writing begins with creative thinking
- K. Earle

Colombia

Afghanistan

It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by.
– Vita Sackville-West

Thailand

Writing left by visitors to a pilgrimage site in Burma

Peru

The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought,
this in turn makes
us think more deeply about life … 
- Norbet Platt

Young Sikh boys in classroom, Afghanistan

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the
difference between lightning and a lightning bug.
– Mark Twain

Importance of Elsewhere

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2011 by stevemccurry
INDIA-10206

Calcutta, India

In Paul Theroux’s new book, The Tao of Travel, he writes,
“As a child, yearning to leave home and go far away, the image in my mind was of flight — my little self hurrying off alone.
I wanted to find a new self in a distant place, and new things to care about.  The importance of elsewhere was something
I took on faith.  Elsewhere was the place I wanted to be.”

AFGHN-12211

Afghanistan

 “The wish to travel seems to me characteristically human; the desire to move, to satisfy your curiosity or ease your fears, to
change the circumstances of your life, to be a stranger,
to make a friend, to experience an exotic landscape, to risk the unknown …”   – Theroux

BRAZIL-10013NF5

Brazil

NIGER-10001NF

Niger

MALI-10035

Mali

INDIA-10887

Mizoram, India

00707_08, Shanghai, China; 1989, CHINA-10080

Shanghai, China

CUBA-10022

Havana, Cuba

“…The tourist generally hurries back home at the end of a
few weeks or months,the traveler, belonging no more to one place than to the next, moves slowly,
over periods of years, from one part of the earth to another.”
– Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky 

TIBET-10510

Tibet

TIBET-10093NF2

Tibet

THAILAND-10075

Thailand

INDIA-11443

India

 

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
-Marcel Proust

INDIA-11042

India

Mazar-i Sharif, AFghanistan, 2003, AFGHN-12341NF

Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan


“All good trips are, like love, about being carried out of yourself and deposited in the
midst of terror and wonder. “
– Pico Iyer, Why We Travel

INDIA-11030

Varanasi, India

BANGLADESH-10007

Bangladesh

BANGLADESH-10010

Bangladesh

 

PHILIPPINES-10028

Sulu Sea, Philippines

“There is a change that takes place in a man or a woman in transit.
You can see this at its most exaggerated on a ship when whole personalities change.”
– John Steinbeck


BURMA-10228

Burma/Myanmar

 “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain

TIBET-10720NF

Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet


COSTA_RICA-10006, Papagayo, Costa Rica, 05/2007, Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux, Papagayo, Costa Rica

 

“Travel is flight and pursuit in equal parts.”
The Great Railway Bazaar, Theroux

INDIA-10711NF-(1)

Agra, India

 

Riding the Indian Railways

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2010 by stevemccurry

INDIA-10711NF-(1)

 

Dusty and monumental, India’s trains often seem as ancient as India itself. - Paul Theroux

 

 

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Ever since the British built the railroads in India that stitched that vast subcontinent together, the trains have connected all of its disparate parts.

 

  

INDIA-10316ns
 
 

When I was on assignment shooting a story on the Indian Railways,  I would go to the station every day and wander around the platform each time a train would roll in, carefully stepping over bodies and around huge mountains of luggage, and would start to photograph the swirl of life that assaults and saturates the senses.

 

INDIA-10463 

 

Anything and everything takes place in a station; there is nothing that the depot hasn’t observed. The train station is a theater and everything imaginable happens on its stage. People endlessly wait, they camp out in the stations, and many call it home.

 

INDIA-10205

 

Travelers must share it with the occasional cow or even monkeys foraging for scraps, tolerate ever-present shouts from vendors trying frantically to attract business, and demonstrate patience with the endless queues.

 

 

INDIA-10839
 
 
 
When the train pulls into the station there is a mad dash of humanity as though it is the last train out of hell. People push through the doors and climb through the windows to capture an elusive seat in order to avoid the punishment of having to stand for an entire trip that could take six hours or more. Often the trains are so crowded, the aisles so packed with bodies pressed up against each other, that you cannot even lift an arm to scratch the back of your head.
 
 

INDIA-10391

 

 

INDIA-10284
 
 
 
One day I came across a solitary figure eating lunch — not an unusual sight in many places, but in the bazaar that is an Indian railway station, something that captured my attention. He had carved out a quiet refuge in that chaotic universe and seemed to be lost in a quiet contemplation that was the perfect foil for the rowdy universe that surrounded him.
 
 

INDIA-10381

 

India is peculiarly visible from a railway train.  I have the idea that much of Indian life is lived within sight of the tracks or the station, and often next to the tracks, or inside the station.  It is not only part of Indian culture, but it is an ingredient in Indian life; it is dynamic, energetic, powerful. It is impossible to imagine India without the railway, or to think what could conceivably replace it.”  -Paul Theroux, The Imperial Way

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