In the Shadow of Mountains

A Portfolio of Images from Afghanistan


Classroom in Kunduz, Afghanistan, 2002

Allah is the mountain above the mountain, and it is He who entertains the idea — or not — of our next hour on the earth.


Girls High School, Bamiyan, 2006

This is why Afghans are reluctant to bet on tomorrow. Tomorrow is not ours to presume upon. Tomorrow is the pleasure of Allah alone.

Hazara Women at Grave in Bamiyan

Hazara women at grave in Bamiyan, 2007

Insha’Allah.  The pervasive, overpowering feeling that is difficult to describe about Afghanistan.


Bread Vendor, Kabul, 1992

It is the stubborn and unassailable conviction – the ability to endure almost anything – that defines the Afghan soul and my fascination with it.


Father and daughter at home with folk art on the wall, Kamdesh, Nuristan, Afghanistan, 1992

It is this powerful feeling that draws me there again and again.


Herat Ruins, 1992


Kabul, Afghanistan, 1992


Former soldier in facility for mentally ill patients, Kabul, 1992

The Afghanistan Dilemma  –

17 Responses to “In the Shadow of Mountains”

  1. Hey Steve, I love the emotion in your photos. I wanted your permission to use one of your photos as reference for my artwork. And wanted to know if you’ll allow me to use it as reference?


  2. Anonymous Says:

    Hello Steve, thanks for your like. You take superb photography. Best wishes, Phil Stanfield

  3. Reblogged this on Irenadawn and commented:
    God bless these beautiful people and the skillful compassionate soul that brings us these images as seen through his soul and shared with all of us on this unique journey he travels. Bless you Steve McCurry for sharing your talent and sill to broaden our love and understanding for others .

  4. sincere sympathy towards the subjects makes your photography breathe powerfully. God bless and thanks for this blog.

  5. I think you might enjoy the Cities of Peace work Ellen Frank . Cities of Peace honors the history and culture of various cities that have experienced major conflict and trauma, including Jerusalem, Baghdad, Kabul, Beijing, Hiroshima, New York, and Lhasa. Frank’s visit to Jerusalem in 1999 inspired her to produce the first painting in the series and to visualize the creation of other works representing additional cities that have survived strife. The series directs action through hopeful energy by celebrating the best of the human spirit, transforming anguish into beauty.

  6. Nice works sir …you are one of my fav photographer , your doing great job , i look forward for your next journey and photos …may god bless you^^.

  7. Thank you for an amazing journey you just took me on. It might sound strange but just meeting a few Afghans when my parents lived in Pakistan for a while made me want to go there. Old souls, I think.
    Anyway, much gratitude to you as always.

  8. I just wanted to let you know three things:
    a. I love your work and have for quite some time.
    b. Based on your extensive traveling and photographic documentation of such, you live the life I want to live. Seriously.
    c. I am so, so happy I stumbled upon this blog so I can look at great photos on a regular basis. Thanks!

  9. Great stuff. I always look forward to your updates.

  10. Mr. McCurry, your photo of the Afghan girl had always defined the soviet invasion of Afghanistan to me at a very young age, the child of immigrants to America. Now in my 20’s, I am fully aware of what is happening in the world, and your posts and your dedication to my parents’ homeland is both inspiring and encouraging. No one should forget what is happening there and how much those less fortunate suffer every minute. Thank you for using your talents for the betterment and awareness of society.


  11. Excellent pictures as always:)

  12. hye steve, i’m from malaysia and i’m so impress with your work. i do make a posting on my blog about this, and i hope you dont mind. looking forward to see more marvelous pics from you ..

  13. It’s unimaginable what the Afgan people have and are going through! Deep down it’s created a sense of humbleness & special type of patience called ‘sabhur’ in the many Afgani languages; there’s only one thing that makes the Afgan people strive on no matter what thier condition; and that’s thier conviction and love for Allah! And there’s two ways of loving him – through fear and through true love!

  14. I’ve always enjoyed your images, but this time around I was taken back by the words too! Amazing, amazing work!

  15. Excellent photographs,

    I like “Herat Ruins” the most… Crutches adds a lot feel and sense to photograph.

    You are the best!


  16. Enjoyed this post immensely- not just for the images but also for the insight you provide into your fascination with the Afghan life.
    The first image is so raw… and feels so here and now! As if that child was staring at me.

  17. Fantastic Photo… Great

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