To Be Human

Conversations are at the heart of what it means to be human.
– Theodore Zeldin

Rajasthan, India
A boy listens as the elders talk at a traditional wedding festival.


The character of a man is known from his conversations.
Menander (342 BCE – 292 BCE)


The most fruitful and natural exercise for our minds is, in my opinion, conversation.
– Michel de Montaigne, The Essays: A Selection

 Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris

The great gift of conversation lies less in displaying it ourselves
than in drawing it out of others.
– Jean De La Bruyere

 California, USA


The true spirit of conversation consists in building on another man’s observation,
not overturning it.

– Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton


Druze Elders, Lebanon

Golden Temple, Amritsar, India

Angkor Wat temple complex, Cambodia

When you have spoken the word, it reigns over you.
When it is unspoken you reign over it.
– Arab Proverb

Lourdes, France

Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea



Silence is one of the great arts of conversation.

– Marcus Tullius Cicero

Kabul, Afghanistan


The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing
at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
– Dorothy Nevill



Bursa, Turkey

A single conversation with a wise man is
better than ten years mere study of books.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Dublin, Ireland

Maimana, Afghanistan

Steve McCurry, Afghanistan

For information about Steve’s photographic expedition to Burma, please visit our website.

99 Responses to “To Be Human”

  1. This gallery is pure photography.

  2. It goes without saying that the photos are beautiful. But what I loved the most is that you are stringed together those pictures for a theme each of which tells a story on its own. I loved the theme of your blog as well.

    Again, gorgeous photos:)

  3. Incredible pictures!

  4. wordpress template…

    […]To Be Human « Steve McCurry's Blog[…]…

  5. Reblogged this on Mind of a Curious Adolescent and commented:
    Love it

  6. Human story! Our Story!
    Steve! I am very happy to meet you at Seoul(2012-9-11)..

  7. Sheer bliss capturing every story… inspiring..
    Photostory – EVERYONE HAS A STORY –

  8. […] also: Steve McCurry, To Be Human, Look how people talk with their hands in Tibet, Lebanon, Yemen, Lebanon, France, Kashmir, France, […]

  9. Matthew Skilton Says:

    Breathtaking, deeply moving and inspiring. Thank you.

  10. Beautiful work Steve, photos and words!!!!

  11. Anonymous Says:

    i love it

  12. yu in kol Says:

    I said it is Greate Work… Sep 12 2012 your exhibition Seoul,Korea. Well come Seoul Stev!!!
    Hope to See you….

  13. Steve, your photography is inspiring! I cannot stop looking at your photos!

  14. Great work!
    Love the three old ladies, what a shot!!
    kind regards, Corina

  15. Says:

    Your wonderful photos stand on their own, however, the effort you have put into pairing your images with articulated ideas about the human condition raise the art into a complex exercise of reflection and appreciation. Thank you. Your many project themes never fail to move and enrich!

  16. […] Conversations are at the heart of what it means to be human. – Theodore Zeldin Rajasthan, India A boy listens as the elders talk at a traditional wedding festival. India The character of a man is k…  […]

  17. Anonymous Says:

    you continually amaze me!

  18. Steve, I love the last picture where in you are in the local wears in Afghanistan. Bravo!
    Thank you for sharing these….

  19. good works – thanks for sharing…

  20. A stunning collection of work as usual. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  21. What a nice shot. Love it very much.

  22. I love the topic. and the pictures are so moving.

  23. Amazing ! I love it

  24. rafael10031 Says:


  25. Just brilliant…

  26. I Love your last photograph. The way you pick themes for this blog is wonderful.

  27. Showing in a great way (with all these rich colours and details) that we are all humans, that we are all the same deep down..

  28. Dear Mr. McCurry,

    You continue to inspire me!


    Your Silent Audience

  29. Congrats, Steve…I’ve nominated you for the “One Lovely Blog Award”:) The post is here:


  30. stunning images Steve, thank you.

  31. I love you!
    Thank you for your work!

  32. Dear Mr McCurry…Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful…No words…As I have said in other ocassions, you HAVE eyes!! It is beautiful to see the intensity in the others eyes, faces, hands, bodies…Listening, apprehending, thinking at the same time, waiting for their own moment…It is the same for every age, for every culture, for both sexes… It is true that conversation is inherent to mankind…
    You know? I love talking but my husband always points out that I am unable to walk and talk at the same time!!!
    Big hug and many thanks!

  33. autumninbruges Says:

    I love your pictures…

  34. this photographs converses with the audience..!!
    superb indeed..

  35. Que pasada…!!!!

  36. Simply delicious. Great work Steve!

  37. Connie Jensen Says:

    As always, you have chosen a great topic for further exploration, – love how you have put all of these conversations in the broader context of PLACE… well done , thank you! Lovely light on woman’s face, Pere Lachaise ( I have been there! ) –
    look forward to whatever your next topic is! Best regards

  38. Is there anywhere you haven’t been? Amazing!

  39. Anonymous Says:

    YOU ARE GREAT!!!!!!!

  40. As always your images have left me pondering…you capture slices of life that others pass over. Thanks for the ponder…and the amazing images…

  41. Masterful story telling! Again.

  42. pure poetry .. thanks

  43. carry53 Says:

    Come sempre piene di emozioni

  44. You are so inspiring. Each and every time I view your photographs my heart grows a little warmer. Stunning set of the human race across all cultures.

  45. Opening a post from you is like opening a gift from the universe. With a magical effect, you bring an awareness while casting a hypnotic spell over the reader. I savor then bask in each image, each quote before scrolling to the the next. Like stardust or a sweet dream, a bit of your magic lingers throughout the day – thank you! Z

  46. Dipayan Bhattacharjee Says:

    Awesome work once again… A great new series… Love every picture…

  47. Eye and heart opening.

  48. i love the one with the white nurses. amazing.

  49. Anonymous Says:

    Truly masterful. Thank you.


    Fabulous, really look forward to a new blog and cannot get enough.Your images really capture the essence
    of being human.

  51. Moving photos and quotes – I love your blog.

  52. i am at a loss of words to tell you how beautiful and amazing this collection is, and the others too. i wish i could be one tenth as good as you.

  53. Bharati Says:

    Simply the best:)

  54. Anonymous Says:

    very nice

  55. Deepak Chawla Says:

    You make me want to click!

  56. Anonymous Says:

    Did you take all those pictures AM? They are so beautiful and I learned something new from you! Thanks for sharing.

  57. You are absolutely amazing combination of words and images priceless thank you …jill charlotte in south africa

  58. True inspiration…master of color photography on film.

  59. Master of color photography on film….great colors…u have been a great inspiration.

  60. Wow!!!,

    Second from top made me curious as the place looks very much familiar. Seems like you were there just after Holi.

  61. Alexander Cordeiro Says:

    Amazing photography. Big fan!

  62. I am soooooo grateful. This is such a gift.
    Thank you .

  63. Wonderful as always … I look forward to your new posts !! Bravo !!

  64. kathlyn Says:

    Beautiful work!

  65. Thank you Steve for sharing your incredible gift with us!

  66. Jim Donahue Says:

    Is that you on the right in the Lebanon image? Are these photos from current assignments from the past or a mixture of both.

  67. Will not be able to take great pictures if there is no such deep love for you

  68. Hello Steve, Thank you for the pleasure you give so many people. I get excited when a new Blogg arrives
    in my inbox. kind regards.

  69. Silvia Pazin Says:

    Wonderful, as always…

  70. Hits the perfect spot. Beautiful photography and wise and touching thoughts.


    Las tomas como siempre fantsticas. Una buena conversacin es estimulante para proseguir sin que te interese el tiempo, el lugar , el sueo … Mara Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2012 20:42:40 +0000 To:

  72. Beautiful and wise. Thank you, what a great conversation.

  73. A beautiful collection of photographs. I particularly like the blue-green and orange, with the men perched like birds in the corner cubbyhole in Kashmir. They are all filled with an abundance of stories. The colors, as always, are captivating.

  74. Nothing inspires me more than Steve McCurry…Respect

  75. Uma sensibilidade impressionante, Nós fotografamos o que somos, o que temos em nosso coração e vejo que o seu é cheio de bondade , compreensão, mesmo em fotos onde a violência esta explicita o sr, consegue captar o belo, o singelo.
    Através de suas fotos vemos que é possível viver em um mundo melhor.
    Abraços do Brazil

  76. Sharon Robinson Says:

    These are wonderful pictures. It gave me a glance into all the different countries with their communication between people. Conversation is the highest sign of respect.

  77. Amanda Stevens Says:

    as always I am amazed and moved to tears at the humans you have captured in your lens….Soooo love the monks thank you

  78. Once again, you’ve captured the beauty of an intimate moment. Wonderful shots, thanks.

  79. Barbara Oliver Says:

    I continue to be totally amazed and inspired with each and every image! As an amateur photographer, you are my “hero” ! Wonderful photos!

  80. […] I found this post from my favorite photographer Steve McCurry who became famous when the portrait of “The Afghan Girl” with the piercing green eyes was published in National Geographics in 1985. This is a photo of Tibet and another amazing series of photos he has taken, on what it means “To be Human“. […]

  81. Reblogged this on antropothings and commented:
    Brillante como siempre. Steve McCurry nos ofrece una serie de imágenes que desvelan aquello que nos hace humanos: la comunicación verbal.

  82. […] презTo Be Human « Steve McCurry’s Blog. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

  83. Anonymous Says:

    Beautiful….as usual.

  84. IARA Schaeffer Says:

    Sometimes photography invades pictures so well that we can’t see the difference.
    And sometimes photographer invades human habitat so natural that we see life itself…

  85. vaibhav Aher Says:

    thank you sir .

  86. Nadia*ND Says:

    ¡Gorgeous! Mi favorite, the one of Cambodia. All of them are wonderfull, but this one is very shocking. Love it. Congratulations.

  87. janet o'donnell Says:

    just wonderful

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