Solitude and Silence

Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition.
– Octavio Paz, Nobel Laureate



Language… has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone
And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.
– Paul Tillich



We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private:
and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.
-C.S. Lewis, Weight of Glory



In this wired age of non-stop communication with
little or no time for reflection and contemplation,
many find it necessary to carve out time in order to have the opportunity to be
creative, innovative, and imaginative.





Costa Rica

I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.

– Henry David Thoreau, Walden



The happiest of all lives is a busy solitude.
– Voltaire


Sri Lanka

Religious figures from Moses to Jesus, Mohammed
and the Buddha all found great value in solitude.



A man can be himself only so long as he is alone;
if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom;
for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.
– Arthur Schopenhauer


Umbria, Italy

Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is richness of self.

– May Sarton





Silence is more musical than any song.
– Christina Rossetti

Maimana, Afghanistan

Quiet is peace. Tranquility. Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life.

Silence is pushing the off button. Shutting it down. All of it.
– Khaled Hosseini,  Amir in The Kite Runner


Bamiyan, Afghanistan

Work is not always required.
There is such a thing as sacred idleness.
– George MacDonald







In Silence there is eloquence.
– Rumi

98 Responses to “Solitude and Silence”

  1. Beautiful images and quotes! I think I am begining to love my solitude!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Very beautiful images & very touching messages

  3. johny gollamandala Says:


  4. I love solitude it is a great compassion!

  5. I really like looking through an article that can make men and women think.

    Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!

  6. Reblogged this on Small Circle Big Circle and commented:
    As always, with infinite gratitude for Steve McCurry’s Blog….

  7. Powerful, important, inspiring, humbling, resonating. Thank You!

  8. Un placer!! gracias!!!

  9. Actual and classic. Very important an beautiful

  10. Bharati Says:

    Very beautful pictures love all of them:)

  11. Amazing, beautiful and charming!

  12. Anonymous Says:

    thank you for sharing photos and thoughts. Antonia

  13. Thank-you for reminding me so eloquently and clearly. I needed that today as I am wanting to be alone.

  14. janez1956 Says:

    I don’t know if you know ‘L’infinito’ by Giacomo Leopardi.


    Sempre caro mi fu quest’ermo colle,
    E questa siepe, che da tanta parte
    De l’ultimo orizzonte il guardo esclude.
    Ma sedendo e mirando, interminato
    Spazio di là da quella, e sovrumani
    Silenzi, e profondissima quiete
    Io nel pensier mi fingo, ove per poco
    Il cor non si spaura. E come il vento
    Odo stormir tra queste piante, io quello
    Infinito silenzio a questa voce
    Vo comparando: e mi sovvien l’eterno,
    E le morte stagioni, e la presente
    E viva, e ‘l suon di lei. Così tra questa
    Infinità s’annega il pensier mio:
    E ‘l naufragar m’è dolce in questo mare.

    Traduzione inglese:
    The Infinite

    These solitary hills have always been
    dear to me.
    Seated here, this sweet hedge, which blocks
    the distant horizon
    opening inner silences and interminable distances.
    I plunge in thought to where my
    heart, frightened, pulls back.
    Like the wind which I hear tossing the
    trembling plants which surround me,
    a voice from the inner depths of
    spirit shakes the certitudes of thought.
    Eternity breaks through time, past
    and present intermingle in her image.
    In the inner shadows I lose
    myself, drowning in the
    sea-depths of timeless love.

  15. It’s wonderfoul how we can travel with our mind, simply looking at your photoes!!!

  16. carla Says:

    great photos!

  17. So powerful and inspiring. As a photographer I need to have photographers like Steve living in the same planet I live so I can learn. AMAZENESS.

  18. […] quotes are thanks to Steve McCurry’s beautiful collection of images and quotes on solitude and silence. Share this:EmailTumblrPinterestFacebookTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  19. Ramesh Says:

    all are unbelievable and amazing shots !!

  20. Felt like I am back in my village sitting under tree in summer… enjoying wind and shade… watching cattle and forms around and sensing smell of wet soil…:)

    Those who have ever enjoyed solitude will definitely recall those moments…

    What a collection of powerful images !!!

    Thanks for posting.

  21. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. Cheers!

  22. I am a regular Steve McCurry blogger. I have always appreciated his work. This one in particular touched me in the most personal way ever. Solitude and Loneliness is something we all fight with and the way he has represented it in these pictures along with the sayings has made me happy, content and most of all at peace. This body of work truly brought me to peace.

  23. RedCat430 Says:

    Amazing photos! I love your work!

  24. Very very touching to heart……
    Just Fantastic…..

  25. Beautiful, I like very much you work and quotations.
    Thank you,


  26. Anonymous Says:

    Incredible works as always

  27. Excelent ilustration in images at that beautiful words! Thanx for this lovely moments!

  28. Gabry Says:

    Guardare i tuoi scatti è come vivere il momento, respirarne le emozioni.

  29. precious and classic!

  30. Thanks Steve for these wonderful images and extraordinary theme execution….:)

  31. Couldn’t be developed any better. Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. Thanks for sharing!

  32. Have you ever felt like something you encountered was directed precisely at you? It is a wonderful and somewhat eerie feeling. Thank you.

  33. The theme of solitude is very evoking of emotions. The photos are colorfully fitting to the theme. Great post!

  34. Fabulous pictures and fabulous quotations. So true.

  35. Shahnaz Says:

    Beautiful always .. and great messages .. inspired

  36. As always, so inspiring and unique. Thanks for sharing.

  37. Hello Steve,
    Amazing photography as always:-)

  38. […] Silence and Solitude By admin, on May 18th, 2012 Some amazing photographs and sentiments: Silence and Solitude […]

  39. Hello Steve,
    Amazing Photography as always:-).

  40. Reblogged this on Oxford School of Photography and commented:
    More to marvel at

  41. Masterpieces, like always… Thank You.

  42. reading a book with an elephant – great!

  43. Very Very Very Good
    It’s been a long time since I have had any solitude so this is very inspiring.

  44. I forgot!
    In 1998 I was living in Zugdidi, Georgia…We helped in the reconstruction of a hospital in Tsalenjikha…Is the picture of Maimana a hospital? Because it looks exactly the same!

  45. Solitude must be difficult with a happy and playful little elephant at your back! And I complain about my Sigh!!!
    I am happy you have seen so many things in your life…And happier that you did not choose to keep them for yourself!!!


    Unbelievably beautiful. Absolutely in awe of your eye for the beauty around us.

  47. Reblogged this on ideas_r_bulletproof and commented:
    classic Steve McCurry!

  48. precious and classic!!

  49. Just found your blog… Amazing photos! Love them all! Thank you for sharing!

  50. precious and classic!

  51. mariusgeorgescufoto Says:

    Such grace,indeed.

  52. mariusgeorgescufoto Says:


  53. Anonymous Says:

    Amazing! As usual

  54. Stunning and inspirational as ever!

  55. Stunning and inspirational as ever!

  56. Stunning as ever. Only the image of the monk under the tree facing the white building is the birthplace of Buddha in Lumbini, Nepal.

  57. Anonymous Says:

    Steve your work is so inspiring! Every image speaks to me.

  58. SMITHA Says:

    beautiful Steve!!

  59. mindblowing…love these images..

  60. Gaurav Says:

    Beautiful pictures. I wonder how alone YOU were to portray this solitude. God Bless!

  61. Shikhar Says:

    Beautiful images.

  62. Jeffrey Diamond Says:

    Silence is the language of God. All else is poor translation. _ Jalalud’din Rumi

  63. Barbara Says:

    Wonderful images! And a wealth of wisdom!

  64. profoundly stunning!


  66. Was the picture titled Mexico with the woman silhouetted in the doorway taken in Tulum?

  67. Reblogged this on bparramosqueda and commented:
    Muchos sufren por loneliness, y no entienden el placer de la solitude.

  68. These are stunning> i have been a huge fan of yours for a while.
    Just got back from the middle east where I shot a ton of stills. Would love to show them to you.

  69. Steve, I truly enjoy reading your blogs and studying the images. Outstanding captures.

  70. stunning more than usual:)

  71. I don’t know how you keep doing it but please just keep doing it!

  72. miriam Says:

    priceless. as if opening up an unexpected window – in the middle of a concrete wall.

  73. Anonymous Says:


  74. Amazing…as always!!

  75. Deva Sumano Says:

    My master Osho talks in many ways about the beauty of aloneness – you show it in beautiful photos..Thank you! Sumano

  76. Shaunak Says:

    truly fascinating images…. each shot tells a story…..

  77. ingernet Says:

    the solitude of the documentary photographer has always felt a little bittersweet to me. until today. strong work, keep it up!

  78. beatrizlefevre Says:


  79. giacomodonati Says:

    Silence please… the light is talking !

    Thank you for sharing:)

  80. Everything on this page, from photography to quotes, expressed it so perfectly. I am an ardent fan of Solitude.

  81. Celeste Says:

    Is a pleasure to see your work!!!!

  82. Sean Willshire Says:

    thank you – such grace

  83. Anonymous Says:

    ….. semplicemente splendide !

  84. Swati Says:


  85. Manesh Malla Says:

    The eighth photo from the top is of Lumbini, Nepal. I am a Nepalese so I know it’s from Nepal. Dear Mr Mccurry Please verify it

  86. Katrina Says:

    hauntingly beautiful images.

  87. My heart lives for the solitude you have shown so beautifully in your pictures…thank you again.

  88. prabhdeep Says:

    you are genius

  89. This is so incredibly beautiful. Thank you.

  90. As ever, stunning images and beautiful, soulful messages. What an inspiration.

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