Archive for May, 2011

Open and Closed

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2011 by stevemccurry


Since the beginning of time, doors have symbolized both great opportunities and thwarted dreams.  The open door is a metaphor for new life, a passage from one stage of life to another, and metamorphosis.  Closed doors represent rejection and exclusion. 


The Door
Too little
has been said
Of the door, its one
Face turned to the night’s
Downpour and its other
To the shift and glisten of firelight.

AFGHN-12927NF4 Bamiyan, Afghanistan 

For doors
Are both frame and monument
To our spent time,
And too little
Has been said
Of our coming through and leaving by them.
– Charles Tomlinson

INDIA-10412 India

CAMBODIA-10002 Cambodia


AFGHN-10235Kabul, Afghanistan

BURMA-10005Mingun Pagoda, near Mandalay, Burma/Myanmar

INDIA-10221Porbandar, India

AFGHN-12648 West Kabul, Afghanistan


USA-10256Los Angeles, United States

 The door swings open:

O god of hinges,
god of long voyages,
you have kept faith.
It’s dark in there.
You confide yourself to the darkness
You step in.
The door swings closed.
– Margaret Atwood

AFGHN-12467NF Kabul, Afghanistan

AFGHN-13116NF Bamiyan, Afghanistan

A door just opened on a street–
I, lost, was passing by–
An instant’s width of warmth disclosed
And wealth, and company.

The door as sudden shut, and I,
I, lost, was passing by,–
Lost doubly, but by contrast most,
Enlightening misery.
– Emily Dickinson

INDIA-11038NFBombay/Mumbai, India

AFGHN-10156Kabul, Afghanistan

BANGLADESH-10020 Dhaka, Bangladesh

The closing of a door can bring blessed privacy and comfort – the opening terror.
Conversely, the closing of a door can be a sad and final thing.
The opening a wonderfully joyous moment.
– A. Rooney
CAMBODIA-10145 Monastery at Rolous, Cambodia


Ways of Seeing

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2011 by stevemccurry

Windows, Mirrors, and Reflections

Tibetans, Tibet, 2001Tibet

I can’t play bridge. I don’t play tennis.
All those things that people learn, and I admire, there hasn’t seemed time for.
But what there is time for is looking out the window.
– Alice Munro


 BURMA-10214Shwedagon Pagoda, Burma/Myanmar


“The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.”   – John Berger

BURMA-10166NF, Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Burma, February 2010Burma/Myanmar

Hazara Boy, Kabul, Afghanistan

THAILAND-10025, Thailand; 2007Thailand


Sauna, Kabul, Afghanistan, 2002Kabul, Afghanistan

 Mirrors have been the subject of ancient myths, folktales, literature, and superstitions for centuries.
They are often used as a metaphor for insight into one’s self.   

Restaurant, Kunduz, Afghanistan, 2002, final book_iconicKunduz, Afghanistan

Lebanon-10045, Lebanon, 03/1982Beirut, Lebanon

00202_ 20, Woman in Photography Studio in Lhasa, Tibet, Tibetans, 09/2001, 2001Tibet

 Yangon, Burma, February 2010Yangon, Burma/Myanmar

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see, I swallow immediately.
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike
I am not cruel, only truthful
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
– Sylvia Plath

AFGHN-12590, Jalalabad, Nangarhar, Afghanistan, 1989Jalalabad,  Afghanistan

_SM18082_adj; Cuba; 2010, LATIN_AMERICA-10142 Havana, Cuba

PAKISTAN-10030NF2, Pakistan, 1981,Pakistan

BURMA-10372NF2, Burma/Myanmar, 02/2011 Burma/Myanmar

 In Greek mythology, Narcissus, looking into a pool of water, did not understand that
he saw his own reflection, and fell in love with himself.

INDIA-10754-(1)Agra, India


“I became startled by the extraordinary difference between something whose surface is completely invisible which only makes itself present by virtue of what it reflects, and a window, which doesn’t make itself apparent at all…”
–  Jonathan Miller
India, Kumbh Mela

The Most Dangerous Place to be Born

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2011 by stevemccurry


  Afghanistan is the worst place to be a child.


As politicians, pundits, and diplomats endlessly debate the future of the world’s involvement in Afghanistan, it seems wise to reflect on the  innocents of Afghanistan over the decades of invasions, insurgencies, civil wars, and abject poverty. 


 “Afghanistan today is without doubt the most dangerous place on earth to be born.”
– Daniel Toole, UNICEF, Regional Director for South Asia


 The burden of wars, poverty, instability, and insurgencies has always been borne disproportionately by children.  They are killed and maimed by landmines and other explosives.   Schools are being destroyed by the Taliban, and girls who seek an education are often threatened and attacked.   Children are recruited by the Taliban to be suicide bombers and smugglers.



 No one growing up in Afghanistan has ever known what it is like to live in a country at peace.




These pictures are hard to look at, but much harder for the parents
to look at their children who are severely injured physically, emotionally, and psychologically.



 A UNICEF-supported study found that the majority of children under 16 years in Kabul suffer from psychological trauma. 


During the ten years the Soviets were in Afghanistan, they killed one million Afghans.  Five million became refugees.


UNICEF, the UN children’s agency, says that Afghanistan is the worst place in the world to be a child. One in five children do not live past the age of five.  Most of those deaths are caused by curable childhood diseases and malnutrition, compounded by the security situation, which means that parents are unable to access proper health care.


It is estimated that at least 30% of children from five to fourteen work to help their families survive.  Many weave rugs and work at factories making bricks.



00299_01, Kabul, Afghanistan, 2002, AFGHN-12432. A water vendor poses.

“It is very difficult to put a hard and fast figure to the number of children dying from hypothermia alone on Kabul’s streets as there would undoubtedly be other reasons that would make them sick or vulnerable in the first place,” UNICEF regional communications chief Sarah Crowe wrote.


 “Extreme poverty, having lost a parent, being trafficked or displaced, or many other reasons may have forced them on to the streets where they would be deprived of their most basic needs (decent food, health, immunization, protection) and exposed to the extreme cold of Afghan winters.”


“There are a lot of children in Afghanistan, but little childhood.”
– Khaled Hosseini,  The Kite Runner

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 35,331 other followers