Simple Act of Waiting

Of all the hardships a person had to face, none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting.
-Khaled Hosseini,  A Thousand Splendid Suns 


Often the act of waiting is anything but simple.
Many people hate to wait because they are waiting to do something,
get something, or go somewhere.


Waiting doesn’t seem like an act, but the lack of action;  however,
the decision to be patient and willing to wait is an act of courage and perseverance.

Crowds at the Kumbh Mela await their turn to bathe in the Ganges.  Allahabad, India

A person who is a master of patience is master of everything else.
– George Savile

Waiting for medical care. Kabul, Afghanistan

A mother waits for news of her missing son.  Afghanistan

Refugees wait in line.  Thailand

Endurance is patience concentrated.
– Thomas Carlyle

Women queue in Yemen

 Patience is the companion of wisdom.
– St. Augustine

A ballerina waits backstage for her cue. Zagreb, Croatia

Shoppers wait for a bus. Dublin, Ireland

The faithful wait for healing. Lourdes, France 

Waiting in line for a church service. Los Angeles, USA 

Waiting for the train.  India

Waiting for a bus. Ahmedabad, India

Waiting for a look through the Berlin Wall.  Germany

Come what may, all bad fortune is to be conquered by endurance.
– Virgil

Waiting to perform. Hong Kong, China

People count up the faults of those who keep them waiting.
– French Proverb

Waiting for customers at Amber Fort, Jaipur, India

Dog waits for door to open. Porbandar, India

The Patience of Ordinary Things
by Pat Schneider
… I’ve been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.


126 Responses to “Simple Act of Waiting”

  1. Thanks for finally writing about >Simple Act of Waiting | Steve McCurry’s
    Blog <Loved it!

  2. […] McCurry, in my opinion, is the world’s greatest living photographer. More from his Simple Act of Waiting series. […]

  3. Vanessa Says:

    Beautiful images! The Crowds at the Kumbh Mela one is fascinating.

  4. sommier

    Simple Act of Waiting | Steve McCurry’s Blog

  5. […] eseje, koje sastavlja od radova snimljenih tijekom bogate karijere. U najnovijem postu pod naslovom Jednostvani čin čekanja bavi se – […]

  6. lawsonsotherdog Says:

    I have always admired your photography it is great that you use photography with the words of Yeats and other poets

  7. […] Here are a few photos of people waiting that were all posted at Steve McCurry’s blog. […]

  8. Anonymous Says:

    It was a complete and astonishing surprise!
    Thanks for this amazing experience!

  9. “Time waits for no one, and it won’t wait for me”

  10. hey Steve! the post was brilliant!very thoughtful and clean:)

  11. […] thing that moved me other than his world renown photography is that Steve McCurry’s Simple Act of Waiting  told in pictures is [chillingly] what I imagined when I wrote Waiting. I seriously got […]

  12. […] Of all the hardships a person had to face, none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting. -Khaled Hosseini,  A Thousand Splendid Suns  Tibet Often the act of waiting is anything but simple…  […]

  13. Reblogged this on Love Conquers All Things. and commented:
    Such beautiful art. Steve at his BEST!!! Waiting=Longlasting Results

  14. André SURON Says:

    Très expressives photos, très bon travail !

  15. Superb photo Steve as usual, you are an inspiration to so many for the quality of your work!

  16. Your pics are beautiful because they reveal another world, so rich in humanity.

  17. Ian Chalmers Says:

    Waiting only matters to those who are not living in the moment.

  18. Reblogged this on GuruDan.

  19. Indeed you captured LIFE in a very beautiful captures.

  20. Vindya Fernando Says:

    I’m wordless sir, I really love all of your work!!!!!!!!!! No doubt, your my best photographer indeed!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Aleth Gayosa Says:

    You have such a keen grasp of even one idea.

  22. Una fotos preciosas. Me gusta mucho “Waiting to perform. Hong Kong, China”

    A beautiful pics. I like “Waiting to perform. Hong Kong, China”

  23. hello steve, i saw your photo of the kumba mela, awe inspiring. i am putting together a programme here in dunedin, new zealand called “The Living Bridge” (31 Aug – 9 Sept) … to bring attention to Tibet’s ancient culture & show its living expression. (also to focus upon its dire/current situation.) i can send you more info.
    if there is a way, i’d like to share the 2 photos of Tibet & 1 of the Kumba Mela during that time. let me know…

  24. neuza bini Says:

    belo trabalho onde o conceito impera nas fotos. ao lado da paciência está o equilíbrio em todas elas. brilhantes! abraços

  25. Dear Mr McCurry…
    I really loved it!!!
    It is very curious what happens when seeing your work….It is like a miracle…A lot of things that are common in our lives, so common that we do not pay attention to them, or we even do not like, suddently become people, things and even acts full of meaning, full of romanticism, full of faith, full of hope…
    And that is because of your eye…You create a different world….Or may be it is that we are so involved in our small circle that we are unable to see what is really happening further our nose!!!
    Thanks a lot!!!
    I want to keep on discovering things through your work…Am I too egoist?…

  26. Alícia Says:

    great post thanks!

  27. Everytime I see your pics, everytime I have to say AMAZING. I love the color rendering, the people’s faces, the cultures appearances, now in this topic, the concept of waiting… Love the ideal

  28. Anonymous Says:

    You have managed to capture the pulse of humanity, unpretencious and so real.Through your special gift
    you have paid homage to this planet Thanks .

  29. vivienne briquet Says:

    awesome .. words don’t express .; how I feel .. just keep up this wonderful work of yours

  30. […] o simples acto de espera […]

  31. One can only stand in awe, not just of the inspiring images but also of the insightful and moving commentary. This is just a stunning collection of very human moments that speaks to all of us in the language of compassion. Exquisite.

  32. Purnima Hirudayaraj Says:

    …great story…great philosophy in the moments captured and the amazing captions n quotes…

  33. Lois Bryan Says:

    I am … speechless … how can I compete with the eloquence of the stories your images have told … each and every one goes right to the heart … I wish I could sit down with you and discuss every detail and every back story of every one. Your Women Queue in Yemen gives me such a sense of foreboding. Your rich colors … how can they be muted at the same time?? The detail … the perfection of composition!!! But it’s the stories … you reach out and grab the heart. THIS is what photographic art is. This is it.

  34. Teo Martinez Says:

    only to tell you this was a great idea to make this album of self speaking photos.
    From Mexico city. Teo Martinez

  35. Congrats…. Keep doing this divine work of expressing your thoughts….:)

    Thanks a Lot…:)

  36. Steve can make the emotions of life visible! I’m waiting you come to photograph the Palio in Siena

  37. Richard Says:

    Splendid. Thanks.

  38. […] vous laissons sur une sélection de notre crû, la série complète Simple Act of Waiting est à retrouver sur le blog du […]

  39. […] his post is called Simple Act of Waiting. It was thought provoking as I feel like I’m waiting on a number of things in my life right […]

  40. […] پیش از این در «یک پزشک» در پست «مونالیزای افغان» برایتان در مورد مشهورترین عکس استیو مک‌کوری نوشته بودم، اما به تازگی این عکاس در وبلاگی که در وردپرس دارد، مجموعه عکس‌‌هایی در مورد مردم در حال انتظار منتشر کرده است. […]

  41. […] پیش از این در «یک پزشک» در پست «مونالیزای افغان» برایتان در مورد مشهورترین عکس استیو مک‌کوری نوشته بودم، اما به تازگی این عکاس در وبلاگی که در وردپرس دارد، مجموعه عکس‌‌هایی در مورد مردم در حال انتظار منتشر کرده است. […]

  42. Oh, Steve, these are just so beautiful.

  43. Alberta Says:

    thanks for sharing. awesome.

  44. maravilhoso, como sempre. obrigado.

  45. Reblogged this on On The Road… and commented:
    Waiting on…

  46. Danile Says:

    Really great post.

  47. This is just the most moving and beautiful collection of images on a subject I doubt many of us have given much thought to – exceptional scope and depth. Unquestionably a picture is worth a thousand words…how many words then are these stunning pieces worth and what do they say about us?

  48. Interesting photos that tells a story of its own….life is indeed but a series of waiting….

  49. Great Execution of Different Concept.:)

  50. […] came across this mind-blowing photo in Steve McCurry’s latest blog entry, Simple Act of Waiting. Taken in 2001 during the Kumbh Mela Festival, it shows millions of people waiting their turn to […]

  51. “WAITING. If you are sincere, You have light and success. Perseverance brings good fortune. It furthers one to cross the great water.”😉

  52. M.Senos Says:

    Oh, that Kumbh Mela, photo… what a view, what a tradition.

  53. Anonymous Says:

    As, I too, wait patiently, gratefully for the “next”.

  54. Amazingly strong quotes. Wide panorama of brilliant photos.

  55. Thank you for letting me view your beautiful pictures…Waiting is something I do not like to do..When you are motivated, you want to express yourself instantly…then see the result..

  56. Inspiring and thoughtfully organized, as always. Beautiful shots. Thank you!

  57. Photography is something that has become incredibly easy nowadays. With a digital camera you can instantly see what you’ve created. You can download the image, print it out or e-mail to a friend, post on Facebook or Instagram and show the world within minutes. But just because you have the ability to take a photo, doesn’t make you a photographer. To have the proper eye and lighting, composition and balance, texture and color is something only a true photographer possesses. Some of the shots that Steve shares on this blog are outstanding. The best thing about this series is that it is around the subject of patiently waiting. That gives greater meaning to the whole of the message. I use photography all the time in designing websites and promotional materials for my clients that . Maybe someday one of my clients want to afford some great photos like those presented here. Excellent work. Keep it up.

  58. Darcivana Says:

    nice blog !

  59. Can’t really say I like to wait. I have lost patience and now I will need to learn to be patient again….64 is a good age to start.

  60. […] Από το εξαιρετικό blog του Steve McCurry […]

  61. myfullresearch Says:

    Reblogged this on my full research and commented:
    Superba raccolta di immagini. mfr

  62. Ponheary Ly Says:

    Amazing and meaningful pictures. i really love all.

  63. Gabbar Singh Says:


  64. i love the concept

  65. Kishore Joshi Says:

    I love them all, , also one photographs taken during the flood at my home town PORBANDAR INDIA


  66. Sajid Ansari Says:

    stunning pictures…brilliant work!!!

  67. I really like all the thoughtful shots

  68. […] The link was titled: “Simple Act of Waiting” […]

  69. I love this post. In fact, I love all your post, and, of course, your photos. Waiting is an act of patience, and patience brings Love to life.

  70. Wonderful collection…great moments

  71. Anonymous Says:

    Esto me embriagó… Amo a este Señor desde hoy… será muy tarde!!!

  72. Wonderful shots through time.

  73. WOW! That is “The Wisdom”….

  74. Lovely photos, lovely ideas! In Spanish, endurence stands for “resistencia”, “aguante”, “fortaleza” and “entereza”. Endurance is such a comprenhensive word! Virginia

  75. Pravinsinh Chauhan Says:

    thanks for sharing philosophical clicks. i love your artistic subject.

  76. Weatherly Schiele Says:

    Wonderful collection!

  77. simply best Steve in your own way of thinking. the decisive moment of photography.

  78. Waiting is truly an important thing in all stages and walks of life. Thank you for the reminder.

  79. I love the idea. Amazing and Inspiring picture! TFS sir… ~greetings from Indonesia.

  80. Antonio CArlos Espilotro Says:

    It’s fantastic! All pictures are very beautiful

  81. kumbah mela is incredible, timeless photo, looks like a circle of hell in dante alighieri, fantastic!
    lilia ravenna italy

  82. Another beautiful and provocative series of captured images of life on the planet. I can’t believe you are just out there wandering around taking pictures of amazing moments and events. Mucho respect to you Steve! If you ever need an assistant to carry your gear just let me know?
    Your work is inspirational and insightful and gives me so much perspective on my safe and comfortable life here in California.


    Another work of art!

  84. tremendous pictures of waiting…….like very much……

  85. sayantan Says:

    I wait for your weekly blogs:)

  86. bareri Says:

    What a brilliant theme and a gorgeous collection of thought-provoking remarkable images! Thank you so much for the inspiration! :-)) Val

  87. beautiful pictures, thank you for this quiet moment at work…

  88. In fact we spend our lives waiting. Waiting for others, waiting for ourselves, waiting for the dreams come true. Thanks for sharing your images.

  89. Staale Schmidt Says:

    Pictures like poems…..

  90. Beautiful captures. The Kumbhmela one is a classic.

  91. Awesome pictures, lovely narrations

  92. Anonymous Says:

    very beautiful presentation sir

  93. Steve I find your work simply superb! there is everything in it, not only the aesthetical side but a deep meaning behind every photo. You are the greatest.

  94. Shweta Says:

    Amazing n very insiring too…..

  95. Espero poder seguir disfrutando de su ARTE

  96. Richard Says:

    Steve McCurry you have a beautiful ragged heart. Thank you.

  97. las fotos transmiten los sentimientos. son hermosas

  98. Angela Elizabeth McCullough Says:

    “As we wait, we see hope laying ahead and the human race filling the pathway. We have already lost this moment!.
    Thanks to our creator, we can see!

  99. great work!
    And I must admit… I hate waiting! LOL

  100. Beautifully expressed.

  101. Sean Bartlett Says:

    The scale at the Ganges is amazing, what a sight to see

  102. arnab das Says:

    thank you for sharing these amazing moments and those true philoshophies.

  103. Anonymous Says:

    We must just learn to be humble! Thank you Steve!!

  104. Wow! Simply stunning. The ballerina image is my personal favourite – such incredible lighting and the emotion of the waiting captured perfectly.

  105. Muireann Ní Dhomhnaill Says:


  106. You beat yourself…simply amazing!!!

  107. I love seeing work by Mr. Mccurry that I have never seen before. As I get older those moments of wonder when I see something truly inspiring, when I see past the surface and feel connected to the universe get fewer and fewer. That is why I like looking at his photos, every time I see one I am filled with that same wonder. When I see an image of his I have seen before I can remember that initial feeling with a smile but it is not the same as seeing something for the first time and saying wow. You are the master Mr. Mccurry thank you for giving me some wonder when I really needed it.

  108. i love them all, but above all, i love the concept… always waiting for something, hopefully better.

  109. Ever poignant, ever beautiful…thank you.

  110. Amazing world pics like always. Thank you for sharing your brilliant work.

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