Language of Looking

Please scroll to the bottom for the unseen portrait of the week. 

 There are many ways to describe the ways that people look at each other and the world.  We peek, stare, glance, gaze, gape, glare, and peer.  We also examine, contemplate, squint, and observe.


 INDIA-10216Jodhpur, India

BURMA-10151Yangon, Myanmar/Burma

GERMANY-10061 Berlin, Germany

The question is not what you look at, but what you see. 
 – Henry David Thoreau 


AFGHN-13002Kabul, Afghanistan


AFGHN-12691NFnsKabul, Afghanistan

INDIA-10731Thirumullaivayil, India

One of the most wonderful things in nature is a glance of the eye; it transcends speech; it is the bodily
symbol of identity. 

– Ralph Waldo Emerson 

INDIA-10757Train to Peshawar, Pakistan



TIBET-10303NFBarkhor Quarter, Lhasa, Tibet

It’s the way to educate your eyes.  Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop.  Die knowing something.  You are not here long.
– Walker Evans  

SPAIN-10020Reina Sofia, National Museum of Art, Madrid, Spain

If you look at a thing 999 times, you are perfectly safe; if you look at it for the 1000th time,
you are in danger of seeing it for the first time.
–  G. K. Chesterton 

INDIA-11085Jaipur, India

I used to try to figure out precisely what I was seeing all the time, until I discovered I didn’t need to.
If the thing is there, why, there it is.
– Walker Evans

CAMBODIA-10311A man examines photographs of victims of the Khmer Rouge’s S-21 prison camp, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

 Unseen Portrait of the WeekPAKISTAN-10011Baluchistan, Pakistan

32 Responses to “Language of Looking”


  2. I just looked through your blog. It is full of amazing work. Keep on going!

  3. We are led to believe a lie
    When we see not thro’ the eye,
    Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
    When the soul slept in beams of light.

    William Blake

  4. Always the best photos!:) Congrats!

  5. Very impressive photos!
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. I love your series here. Very unique style of photography.:)

  7. Amazing shots! I am curious about your relationship with your subjects. Do you speak to them before, ask their permission or just snap the shutter? Perhaps it is different every time, but I would appreciate some pointers in this area.

    • Omar Modesto Says:

      I revisited this post to ask a similar question. A couple hours ago, I watched a documentary on TV called Close Up: Photographers at Work featuring Mr. McCurry, among others (his segment is here).
      In it he is shown walking around, camera in hand, photographing people up close as he passes them by. I’d like to know if they often, if ever, react negatively (or even violently, but I hope not!) to the lens being aimed at them from a close distance. Do you, sir, find that people in a big city mind it less or more than in smaller towns or the countryside?
      Varied and colorful set as always.

      • Omar, thank you for the link. I truly enjoyed it. Are you a photographer as well?

      • Omar Modesto Says:

        You’re very welcome. The entire documentary is very insightful (there’s another one that might interest you, called The Genius of Photography, also on YouTube).
        Me, a photographer? Well, I mostly just press the shutter button and hope for the best. Does that still count?

      • A very modest response! Thank you for the new link, I’ll be sure to take a look.

  8. So moving… And REAL!!!

  9. Kaushal Kumar Singh Says:

    Another great collection.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    i like the first image very much,especially the play of light & shadow.

  11. Dear Steve,

    The idea was brilliant and the images are indeed moving (no surprise!).
    I do like your vision and do admire your sincere efforts to render the world in a way which have not ever been broadcasted by the popular media.

    Thanks for keeping inspired !

  12. Y’know, you’re pretty good. You might have a future in this. ;>)

    (Spectacular work, as always. Thanks for the sharing and the inspiration.)

  13. Marietta Yandoc Says:

    Quotes from Walker Evans deepened my appreciation of your pictures. James Agee’s and his book changed my life. You are also one of them who did so.

  14. Dear Steve,

    The pictures you took are very inspiring. I am a budget photographer from philippines, i save some of my earnings then went to agra india last week. I found the spot where you took the famous train photo with taj as background and it inspires me knowing you were the once upon a time..

  15. Beautiful collection of photos as always.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    So talented and poetic too

  17. Anonymous Says:


  18. Very cool photos Steve. I really enjoy looking at your work. Your photo of the Afghan girl from 1985 is probably my favourite photo of all time.

  19. I like your language of looking!:)
    Kind regards from the Netherlands, Corina

  20. Another great collection !

  21. Very impressive photos!
    Thanks for sharing.


  22. Perfect Steve! As always!

  23. Caro Sr Steve.
    Os olhos sao a porta da alma e um poeta brasileiro dizia que
    “” Quem nao compreende um olhar , jamais entendera uma longa explicaçao. ( Mario Quintana)
    Como sempre suas fotos sao cheias de sentimento,obrigado por compartilhar tanta beleza

  24. bronsond Says:

    Beautiful images, Steve.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 37,272 other followers

%d bloggers like this: