Sentinels of the Earth


The tree is a slow, enduring force straining to win the sky.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Wisdom of the Sands,
translated from French by Stuart Gilbert


Chinar Trees, Kashmir

If you would know strength and patience,
welcome the company of trees. 
– Hal Borland


Ayutthaya, Thailand



I hear the wind among the trees
Playing the celestial symphonies;
I see the branches downward bent,
Like keys of some great instrument.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow





Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky
– Khalil Gibran



Every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of
gold and silver.
– Martin Luther

FRANCE-10126, France, 1989



Agra, India

Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the
listening heaven. 
– Rabindranath Tagore,
Fireflies, 1928



Trees are much like human beings and
enjoy each other’s company.
– Jens Jensen, Siftings, 1939



It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a
claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something,
that quality of air that emanation from old trees,
that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.
–  Robert Louis Stevenson





I never saw a discontented tree.
They grip the ground as though they liked it, and
though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.
They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind,
going and coming like ourselves,
traveling with us around the
sun two million miles a day,
and through space heaven knows how
fast and far!
–  John Muir


Grand Canyon, Arizona

And see the peaceful trees extend
their myriad leaves in leisured dance
they bear the weight of sky and cloud
upon the fountain of their veins
– Kathleen Raine, Collected Poems


The Sahel



  Planting trees early in spring,
we make a place for birds to sing in time to come.
How do we know? They are singing here now.
There is no other guarantee that singing will ever be.
– Wendell Berry

A4487718, THAILAND-10041NF, Chiang Mai




Believe one who knows
You will find something greater in woods than books.
Trees and stones will teach you
that which you can never learn from masters
– Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)  






Dust Storm, Rajasthan, India

A few minutes ago every tree was excited,
bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling,
tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm
like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent,
their songs never cease.
Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life,
every fiber thrilling like  harp strings, while incense is ever flowing
from the balsam bells and leaves.
No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples…
– John Muir



Trees, proud standing people
stretching fingertips to the sky, reaching, praying
glorious attention, breathing light.
timeless confidence
bending and firm
rooted chorus line
dancing with the moon, the wind, the clouds
framing bursts of stars
tender rugged celebration
absorbing and releasing life
each holy branch holding
the power of the Universe.
–  Wallace Stevens  


87 Responses to “Sentinels of the Earth”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks so much Steve for your intricate balance of symphony, harmony and honesty in your shots. I follow you via the company that I work for, but have become a great admirer of your work personally too. I look forward to viewing much more of your work in future. KK

  2. tarotista que acierte

    Sentinels of the Earth | Steve McCurry’s Blog

  3. Reblogged this on While there is life, there is hope! and commented:
    Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky
    – Khalil Gibran

    Stunning work!

  4. I’ve gone ahead and added a backlink back to your site from one of my clients requesting it. I’ve used your
    web site URL: and blog title: Sentinels of the Earth
    | Steve McCurry’s Blog to ensure you get the proper anchor text. If you woud like to check out where your website link has been placed, please e mail me at: Many thanks

  5. Very good blog you have here but I was curious
    if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics
    talked about in this article? I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get advice from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Bless you!

  6. The dust storm picture is just awesome…!

  7. […] Steve McCurry Categories: General Tags: Comentarios (0) Referencias (0) Dejar un comentario […]

  8. awesome pictures.. very beautifully composed.. you have the eye to capture grace and beauty in many things! already a fan of your work!

  9. What can I say…Stunning work! You capture essence….

  10. Anita Nichols Says:

    Your photographs are always stunning and inspiring. I love the way this displays them!

  11. Lascio un commento in italian.
    Ho sempre avuto un debole per gli alberi. Qui ne ho trovato alcuni veramente spettacolari.

  12. I always appreciate your photographs. They are often very emotionally impacting. I recently had an award sent my way. I am required to pick five blogs I love in order to accept the award. You are one of those five blogs. Keep doing what you are doing and thank you for doing it. (Details at: Cheers.

  13. A great theme, and — of course — superb images, as always!

  14. Another great post from you Steve !

  15. Ayuttaya Thailand… I have been there Also…^_^

  16. […] Questo è il link: […]

  17. Reblogged this on Camera Works and commented:
    Never get tired of looking at Magnum photographer Steve McCurry images

  18. You inspire me so much! I admire your work. Thank you so much for sharing!

  19. hyun ah kwon Says:

    glorious every moment!!! I have been Agra just a few days ago…it made me crazy.
    Thanks for your every effort.
    from South Korea

  20. Poetic as always

  21. A beautiful display. I love trees. The poetry made me cry.

  22. Looking at Your pictures is a great lesson for me, reading all quotations is a significant impression. Thank you !

  23. Antonis Androulidakis Says:

    excellent photos, amazing words, some hopeful ,some depressing. i really loved it

  24. Amazingly beautiful.

  25. There is something magical about the look of the dust storm photo from India. Great work.

  26. BlueriderThom Says:

    Love of all life has been awakened again by your skill with camera, composition, and creativity. Thank you, Steve.

  27. Gorgeous! As an “urban forest” dweller, it’s fascinating to see trees from around the world. I especially love the shadow tree shot from Morocco and the grandmas in France. Thank you!

  28. Jan Schultz Says:

    I have been following your work for a very long time. I’m very impressed with what you have accomplished with your great skill.

    Your old friend from DCCS…

  29. Steve Your pictures inspire me, they are the mystical and beautiful.
    Thank you for this.

  30. Thanks for helping me remember to take a walk in the woods today.

  31. What a colourful expression. outstanding. Mc you r gifted.

  32. IshaShiri Says:

    “And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food…”
    Leviticus 19:23-25

    “For the L-RD thy G’d bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths, springing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates; a land of olive-trees and honey”
    Deuteronomy 8:7-8

    Wonderful trees, beautiful photographs!

  33. These photos really touched my heart along with the quotes. A beautiful post.

  34. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you for sharing your work Steve. You inspire us to see differently.

  35. When humans have destroyed the planet sufficiently to prevent any further chance of their own survival, there will be trees left to take custody of this fragile planet. I’m certain that they will do a better job than the dodgy politicians and inconsiderate residents. Great images and prose. I love this blog – thanks to the legendary photographer and human rights activist Rob Thomas for bringing it to my attention.

  36. asecades Says:

    Great post Steve, keep enlightening us.

  37. great pictures and great quotes

  38. l n nagaraj Says:

    I can see divinity in your writing & trees seeking it … the Q raises in our mind why not we….

  39. Micheline Van Gilsen Says:

    Wonderful photos and words of peace
    thank you
    I enjoyed Mich

  40. I love these photos, they have a special vividness.
    love greeting

  41. […] Sentinels of the Earth […]

  42. Laura - Italy Says:

    With the combination of colors and expressions, you can brilliantly capture the magic of the moment and the soul of a detail. You Were able to wake up my passion for photography. Thank You so much for sharing Your vision of the world

  43. RedCat430 Says:

    All photos are so beautiful! It’s a nice tribute to trees!

  44. The unbelievable touch of Steve Mc Curry…

  45. I like 4 (for the vertical lines and the spring colors), 6 (great spirit of youngness), 7 (such a great spirit of oldness), 10 (gives you a moment of silence, a moment with you and your world), 15 (a lovely boy expression), 16 ( a peaceful moment of love and understanging), 20 (this is color, life, beauty, plot in one picture) and 21 (very misterious).

  46. Beauty thy name is tree! and your photography too sir! You have been my inspiration since I started photography almost 1 1./2 years ago.

  47. Beauty thy name is tree! And your photography too sir! You have been my inspiration since I started photography since last 1 1/2 years.

  48. Ingmar Hindenes Says:

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos. And the text that accompanies them as well. I’m really amazed by the quality of the photos and the quantity of such good photos as well. Thank you for sharing your great work.

  49. it’s beautiful………..really inspirational!

  50. Sir i m stunned each time i get to get through your photography, you really are an insipiration to all the growing photographers but specially for me. You trully are a Genious. Thank u very much for sharing ur Great work with us. I have a request for you that if possible pls inform when next time u r in india, i would love to meet a genious like u even for ten minutes and learn something valuable from you. All the very best for future. Happy Clicking:-)

  51. Une série remarquable, M. McCurry.

  52. Your love for our planet and its people shines brilliantly.

  53. Mr.Steve great images

  54. Anonymous Says:

    the tree-a perfect metaphor…brilliant images of a subject many of us overlook and take for granted…

  55. “Je voudrais me glisser dans une forêt où les plantes se refermeraient et s’étreindraient derrière nous, forêt nombre de fois centenaire, mais elle reste à semer. ” in René Char, Lettera Amorosa. Beautiful pictures! Elles apaisent l’âme.

  56. love your pictures, great art works! a fan from argentina

  57. brilliant qoutes,brilliant photography.

  58. Thank you stevei for sharing us such inspiring pictures.. :)

  59. Azul Adnan Says:

    Absolutely stunning shots!

  60. Your photo’s speak out in so many words of wisdom, always touching the sole, and capturing the essence and wonderment of our precious earth. It’s always a pleasure to go on a journey through your eyes, thank you.

  61. Norin Mohamed Amin Says:

    Love your work Steve! You capture beauty at it’s simplicity. To be able to bring out beauty from just simple things like the forest, God’s gift to us is truly magnificent and inspiring! Thank you for allowing us to see it through your eys and appreciating it even more!

  62. Steve. . . you are my inspiration . . . . . .

  63. Beautiful work and editing to bring them together.

  64. lucyray Says:

    I love the way you look for beauty and you capture it.
    many smiles for you!!!

  65. Such beautiful photos and quotes as well. Nothing could be better than a forest:) Thank you for the awesome post! Makes me smile!

  66. Thank you for inspiring me to be a better photographer!

  67. A poetry in the form of images . . .

  68. Grande Steve!

  69. Semplicemente eccezionale, emozionante, superbo.

  70. Absolutely great photos! Thanks Steve!

  71. Adriana Hoyos Says:

    I absolutely love your work…and now this blog! want to marry me?

  72. I don’t think I’ve commented with this before, but surely it won’t hurt to hear it again: I love your posts, and your photos. Thank you so much for sharing them with us.

    I love the shot of the tree around the statue in Thailand, and the one of the hammock strung between the roots grown over the wall.

  73. Great work Steve, very inspiring! Thanks for showing.
    Kind regards,

  74. I love the photos of Agra and Niger. The Agra is fantastic to be also totally different from the other pictures you have seen the Taj Mahal

  75. Yanko Kitanov Says:

    There are endless superlative messages posted here and mine will be just one of the many thousands, but this is not important. What is important is that I will know myself that I have said this too: Thank you for the endless inspiration! Year after year, place after place and still so amusing.

    Can you please consider a bit bigger preview images, or is it against copyright? Current laptops, netbooks, tablets and mobile phones have high screen resolution, but limited screen size and the images appear really small and quite hard to study usually.

  76. Mr Mc Curry,
    Your work is amazing, i want to render thanks for your pictures. You are an “engine” for my life. If i take pictures, if i love Asia, if i love to travel in India, that’s because your pictures books make me dream with moments you know to capture beautiful faces and landscapes emotions.
    Thank you so much, ôm Shanti
    Dominic Perroud Photo

  77. I just… Oh my… no words… simply “the man”, mr. McCurry…

  78. You are my inspiration Steve….

  79. Oh, wonderful words and absolutely perfect photos!!!!!
    and I relly enjoyed them!

  80. i really have great enjoy with your brilliant photos. I am from Turkey and i am a newbie in photography. But trust me you are the one in the world, thank you for sharing your photos, thank you for giving the world in front of us, thank you for your great works!

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