Stolen Childhoods

_2SM8311; India, 04/2012, INDIA-11596India

For the past three decades as I traveled the world on assignment I
 have witnessed children working in fields, factories, ditches, tunnels,
mines, and ship-breaking yards.

_PBS6043, Afghanistan, 2008, Hazaras, retouched: 05/27/2013 Kate DaigneaultKabul, Afghanistan

The scope of the problem is vast.
Hundreds of millions of children spend their 

childhood working and do not have an opportunity to
play, go to school, or live in a healthy environment.

INDIA-10461 (1)

INDIA-10207 (1)India

Child labor and poverty are inevitably bound together, 
and if you continue to use the labor of children as the treatment for the social disease of poverty,
you will have both poverty and child labor to the end of time.
 –  Grace Abbott

YEMEN-10052NF, Hajjah, Yemen, 1999. A shepherd boy tends to his flock.

SAM_2957; Gujarat, Rajasthan, India; 05/22/2008, INDIA-11398India

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies is, 
in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are
cold and are not clothed.  This world in arms is not spending money alone.
It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
– Dwight David Eisenhower

PHILIPPINES-10017          Philippines

AFGHN-13034NF (1)Afghanistan

Marpha, Nepal, 1998Nepal

The object of employing children is not to train them,
but to get high profits from their work.

– Lewis Hine, 1908

Woman and her slave

_SM13419, Myanmar, Burma, 02/2011, BURMA-10283

There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children.
There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected,
that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want
and that they can grow up in peace.
– Kofi Annan


00018_02. Millet Farmer, the Sahel, Niger, 1995 The Unguarded MomentNiger

Amid attempts to protect elephants from ivory poachers and dolphins from tuna nets,
the rights of children go remarkably unremarked.
– Anna Quindlen

00492_01 Tibetans, 12/2000.Tibet

_DSC1404, India, INDIA-11497India


AFGHN-10025Kabul, Afghanistan

00547_09. Monsoons, Nepal, 1983, 08/1983. A young boy works on a mountainside.Nepal

The real solution is to improve the incomes of the poor and
provide their children with decent education.
– Carol Bellamy

00075_15. Young Boy Selling Flowers, India, 1993India 

Child labour must not become the nation’s social safety net.
– Kailash Satyarthi


There is no room for complacency when 215 million children are still labouring to survive and
more than half of these are exposed to the worst forms of child labour, including slavery and
involvement in armed conflict. We cannot allow the eradication of child labour
to slip down the development agenda — all countries should be striving to
achieve this target, individually and collectively.
– Juan Somavia

_PBS6152, Afghanistan, 2008, Hazaras, retouched: 05/27/2013 Kate DaigneaultAfghanistan

AFGHN-12258_newKandahar, Afghanistan

229 Responses to “Stolen Childhoods”

  1. Thank you for sharing! What are some ways that we can help?

  2. The man who sees the truth however shocking and tells it to as many as he can without fear is a truly courageous man and a man of honor. Thank you Steve for using your talent and skill to show so clearly the things we hide from ourselves everyday when we walk on the streets. and near our homes. We all have to do something. Wherever we are. Now.

  3. […] (You can find this image, along with many other heart-breaking moments captured by Steve McCurry, on his blog here […]

  4. Maruja Romero Says:

    Hello. I wrote a very short poem for some of your photographs. Two of the poems won a prize en La Librería Mediática here in Venezuela. For the Photo about the philipine miner I wrote:

    Duele ver esos ojos filipinos
    Listos a descender hacia la tierra
    Manos fuertes por el trabajo
    Atrás está su futuro como fantasma.

    For the photo about the Nepal child sowing in the mountain, I wrote:

    Entre montañas en Nepal, el niño
    Con la cesta agarrada a su cabeza
    Su trabajo bajo el sol,
    Bajo el agua, será su sustento.

  5. Anonymous Says:


  6. Saint-Peter Says:

    Reblogged this on Whispers From The Heart and commented:

  7. It is touching moments…but really great .fabulous photos

  8. Awesome Photography & survey. People like you really understand the importance of awareness . Heartily thanks to you..
    We believe, Child Labour in each country exists due to reasons that need to be fully studied before we arrive at potential solutions. In India (and perhaps similar to other developing countries) here are the things we thought through-

  9. Truly heartbreaking. The solution lies in economic and government reform. It unfortunate that most of the world ignore trying to find a viable solution for the world’s children.

  10. @लहू हे मी कस सांगू कि अडचण येईल कि नाही? अर्ज करण्याआधी सर्व माहिती बरोबर आहे कि नाही हे पहायचे असते आणि मगच अर्ज करायचा असतो. हे तर त्यांच्यावर आहे कि ते ह्याबाबतीत काय करतील. एमपीएससी ला कळवावे आणि झालेली चूक सांगावी.
    pożyczka sms

  11. Reblogueó esto en Espacio de Juany comentado:
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)

  12. Daniela Silva Soto Says:

    Impactante, admirable y maravilloso el trabajo que realiza a través de la fotografía. Siga adelante.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Wonderful photos!
    You can help by supporting girls education in rural India here.
    Pardada Pardadi Educational Society
    Keeping girls out for slavery and child labor.
    Saving the world,, one girl at a time.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks for talking about >Stolen Childhoods | Steve McCurry’s Blog

  15. you captured these pretty well…
    so moving, Mr. Steve…

  16. […] as a species cannot continue: wars will continue to rage, women will still be beaten nad raped and children will still be workers, labourers making bricks and pretty dresses for the insatiable West. And if we continue to exploit and destroy the natural world, we will inevitably bring about a […]

  17. Astounding. Amazing. Astonishing. Your blog is breathtaking.

  18. wow! very impressive photography, I am moved and humbled by the story and by your follow!!
    regards from East Timor!

  19. Thomas Roy Says:

    These kids having so many dreams…
    To be like other kids who going to school….
    Their heart is filled with fear about tomorrow..
    Their minds in fire about the rulers & system..
    But the sad and bitter fact is…..
    Hunger and Circumstances made them slaves…
    Forgive kids…we bow down due to ashamed…

  20. […] galería del fotógrafo Steve Mc Curry con imágenes de niños trabajadores. Estas fotografías han sido recopiladas tras más de 10 años […]

  21. […] Steve McCurry hat tolle Fotos auf seinem Blog. Auch welche, die ganz schön unter die Haut gehen. Zum Beispiel von arbeitenden Kindern. […]

  22. Cameron Lees Says:

    I have not been moved like this by still image work in a long while.

  23. Awesome as ever.

  24. Impressive work! It is very idealistic…but hopefully one day we live in a world with more human understanding…

  25. […] – Und zum Schluss eine Sammlung von Bildern von Kindern bei der Arbeit. Man möcht heulen. […]

  26. I’m speechless. Thank you….we all need to be aware of the vast inequities in the world. Your work is amazing.

  27. Teri Hardy Says:

    Your work is enlightening and breathtaking. Thank you.

  28. L’ha ribloggato su Pensieri…e ha commentato:
    Foto straordinarie che mettono in luce un problema enorme, il lavoro (duro) minorile nel mondo…

  29. the best blog i came across wordpress… conveys a deeper feeling… and the few words you write makes it even more subject focussed…

  30. L’ha ribloggato su passoinindiae ha commentato:
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)

  31. L’ha ribloggato su noisuXeroie ha commentato:
    “Leave no MAN behind” is the creed.
    What about the kids … indeed?

    L’ho mostrato ieri ai miei figli.

    Steve McCurry’s blog

  32. Acep Abdullah Says:

    Great picture, a very good story and could be a very good campaign against child labour… love it

  33. Lukas III Says:

    I used to be one but I didn’t allow them to steal my dreams.

    • Lukas III Says:

      a great reminder of my childhood and proud of what I’ve been through because it brought me to what I am now. Thanks for the great story.

  34. Anonymous Says:


  35. roberto guerra Says:

    Steve…..divinas fotos para un tema tan sensible………muchas gracias….

  36. Thank you Steve for your blog, touches your heart time after time you see this problem on the 21 century.
    They are the most important for human been, kids are the future

  37. Reblogged this on amritaspeaks and commented:
    A collection of photographs about child labourers that touches you deeply.

  38. Reblogged this on mymotionpicture and commented:
    With emotions that defeat laughter and with tears that wash away luxuries.. This post was one of my personal favorite.. Steve, just too good!!!

  39. Silence picture gallery.
    really, a brilliant photographer.

  40. […] werden bekanntlich nicht alle mit den schönsten Methoden hergestellt. Hier ein paar Bilder von arbeitenden Kindern aus verschiedenen Ländern. Bitte beachten: das Betrachten könnte sich negativ auf die […]

  41. […] konsumieren, werden bekanntlich nicht alle mit den schönsten Methoden hergestellt. Hier ein paar Bilder von arbeitenden Kindern aus verschiedenen Ländern. Bitte beachten: das Betrachten könnte sich negativ auf die Stimmung […]

  42. These are such heartbreaking pics. I could weep for their lost childhoods. Such wanton exploitation of these innocent young souls.

  43. […] India For the past three decades as I traveled the world on assignment I have witnessed children working in fields, factories, ditches, tunnels, mines, and ship-breaking yards. Kabul, Afghanistan …  […]

  44. Reblogged this on dinahat and commented:
    Children with no childhood ,building our world.They have also mothers that cry ,just like all of us.

  45. Thank you for the reminder and the pictures.It happens everywhere, even in western countries. In the west is mainly because of the greed of adults.Recently I watched on the news,a report about the suffering of women and children Syrian refuges in camps.In a camp in Jordan a woman sold her, too young to marry, daughter to a wealthy Arab for 2000 eng pounds.When the reporter ask her why,she said (her face covered )” You watch your children being hungry for days and then ask me that question”. It makes me feel powerless and speechless.The only thing I can do is hug my own child and tell everybody that wants to listen.I`ll repost thiis blog

  46. These are the most amazing images. I really think this should be a book. They’re so powerful. You’ve brought together great technical skill with a good heart and a sharp story-telling ability. I hope to return to these images one day.

  47. yu inkol Says:

    I am 75 yerars old. During the Korean war our life was very very harsh,
    It was a matter of survival …Don’t tell me, amchair critics,,(I lost one sister. Guess Why?
    Steve it is painfull picture to see!!!

  48. You have captured their emotional and physical plight with your astonishing photos. Thank you for this. I will endeavour to promote your blog to many others.

  49. […] Infancia robada [ENG]   […]

  50. Camarada,
    O seu trabalho é de grandeza estupenda!
    Pois permita-me subscrever o Estatuto da Criança e do Adolescente (ECA) do Brasil.
    Lei nº 8.069, de 13 de julho de 1990.
    Art. 5 – Nenhuma criança ou adolescente será objeto de qualquer forma de negligência, discriminação, exploração, violência, crueldade e opressão, punido na forma da lei qualquer atentado, por ação ou omissão, aos seus direitos fundamentais.

  51. I agreed with someone who wrote: Look around you, not only in India, Nepal, China or Africa you can find youngsters working as slaves, under payed and bitten, dying with hunger… Sometimes you just have to take the tube and you can see quite the same disaster of our society, where children are abandoned and used as workers without any right.

    Our un-human society is getting better than our governments in Europe.

  52. Grandma Lynda Says:

    Interesting that laws prohibiting cruelty towards animals came into existence before those preventing cruelty towards children!

  53. The root of human suffering stems from the poisons we harbour in our hearts. Only when the rich are magnanimous and the poor are not greedy with desires, can their suffering be alleviated. (Both rich and poor experience suffering, even if in different ways. Suffering is a subjective experience, the magnitude of which depends on the individual’s mindsets.)

    We must awaken from our hazy stupor to realise the Truth about human life. True equality lies not in the even distribution of wealth nor status, rather it lies in our soul (original nature). One is born into one’s circumstance for reasons which cannot always be known. Only by cultivation of our originally good soul can we truly live by being our own Master, rather than going through life according to our predestined karmic fate. Search and pursue Truth, save yourself and save others.

  54. Your pictures show humanity in a world that has forgotten all about it. Thank you

  55. […] please take a moment to see a beautiful yet very sad gallery of pictures by Steve McCurry: ‘Stolen Childhoods‘. Maybe there are some children around you that need […]

  56. Images with impact and depth. Very impressive and powerful. They tell the story well.

  57. Powerful images indeed. What Can We Do? Why are so many countries in this situation where children – and adults too – work for survival, or for a pittance.

    • Good question Valerie. An important one.❤ The first thing we need to do is a negative: don't despair. Once we throw our arms up we've lost any ability to help. Secondly, realize that we cannot change anyone's opinion let alone change systems of power. But we can help pick up the pieces. There are many volunteering options available with orgs like Not For Sale and Live Different. If one child finds hope in your embrace, you may have changed a world. And micro-financing initiatives for women are changing villages where change is most needed.

  58. L’ha ribloggato su Max510's Bloge ha commentato:
    La bellezza delle immagini che contrasta con brutale realtà…

  59. I wish i could something about it to stop this child labour. It’s difficult to only watch and can nothing do about it! Still, great pics Steve. I love your work!

    • Azadeh Says:

      There are many thingS one can do to help labor children in poor countries. Just think if you donate an equivalent of a beer to a charity you can make an impact or not to buy clothes made of sweat and blood of kids or simply just not to be ignorant.

      when I look at these pictureS I feel a sharp pain my heart as my own childhood has been stolen due to the war in Iran. I didn’t work but I never felt I had a childhood. that is a reason I am trying to help these children.

      sometimes it sickens me to the stomacH when I see how ignorant are people in so called developed countries towards other in the rest of the world. We have now war in Syria and it is a same story there. Stolen childhood of so many children. we can change their lives if we just try to do something and not pay a lip service about humanity.

  60. I agree… Powerful!

    Thank you for being the great photographer you are and sharing with us.

  61. Anonymous Says:

    Powerful images!respect!

  62. Powerful, heartbreaking, soul shaking documentary so important to share with the world! Exceptional and important!

  63. Thanks for sharing. The photos are powerfully and beautifully horrifying. After reading and viewing, I go back to pondering what my role has to be in addressing the issue of child labor. Thanks again.

  64. Gunel Says:

    i saw i saw hopes in their eyes, it is not what they are worth, there will be such a world that only problem of all children will be to choose toys they will play, books they will read but not more than it, and they will be only smile and happiness in their faces, we’ll remember these photos just as history, yeah it wont be more than history

  65. Uvais Ravi Says:

    Its very embaricing to see, this is still happening around whole word.
    But I am glad to see the tremendous endowment of you

  66. Respect sir, with every ounce of sincerity in my soul. And thank you for committing to this kind of a project. We photographers have only the aid of a visual medium to change the world. Sometimes its all that’s needed. Thank you again.

  67. Reblogged this on Half Light Praxis and commented:
    A child is the father of man. If this is how we continue treating our fathers, then I don’t want to exist in such a future. Fuck all the sins in every holy text out there. The greatest sin man/woman can commit is the sin of maltreatment and negligence of the children of the world.

  68. A very Sad Reality….

  69. some heart-wrenching photographs

  70. Remora Says:

    Touching and heart-melting, children don’t deserve this. They should be playing outside and see what the world could offer for them. Hmmm, a sad picture of today.😦 Such an eye-opener.

  71. Carlos Martz Says:

    Reblogged this on The 50mm diaries and commented:
    I hope this incredible works from Steve McCurry help to open our eyes about what is happening in our world

  72. tbrando Says:

    Reblogged this on tbrando.

  73. So very sad that this continues with the world looking the other way. I also feel such sadness when I think of the children here in the United States, so many overindulged who wouldn’t even begin to know how lucky they are.

  74. Reblogged this on Maniniyot and commented:
    I don’t usually reblogged post but I think this one deserved to be spread.

  75. Heartbreaking and poignant! . . . Thank you for reminding us of the challenges that children face in many parts of the world.

  76. Very sad. Our western children have so much . . .

    • But western PEOPLE consume endlessly with reckless disregard as to how the manufacturing for a particular product was done….thus contributing to the exploitation of child labor in other countries.

  77. Ana maria teresa de Hollanda cavalcanti Says:

    Absolutely unique!!!

  78. Very sad and unfortunate development. Children are our future and we all have to rise up and punish the culprits. Enough is enough.

  79. A reblogué ceci sur lerestnadine and commented:
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)

  80. wonderfull colours. last is for pray…

  81. Eattravelphotograph Says:

    Reblogged this on Eat, travel, photograph and commented:
    No need for words…

  82. Merci beaucoup pour ces photos !!! émotion boulverssante !!!
    Un sujet très important pour lequel nous devons tous nous mobiliser à chaque fois que nous en avons l’occasion.
    Bien cordialement

  83. Daniel Sánchez Vega Says:

    Da escalofríos ver esto,pero es una realidad presente en nuestros días.

  84. Touching…. Commendable effort !

  85. […] From Steve McCurry’s series, Stolen Childhoods… […]

  86. I tried writing several comments, but found no words really express what I feel. Thank you for opening my eyes.



  88. Heartrending images Steve – leaves you feeling very helpless!!

  89. Chris Says:

    There’s also a full-length documentary film on child labor that has the same title:

  90. Chris Says:

    Here is my contribution:


  91. Henk Vos Says:

    What can I say…….

  92. Astonishing pictures of a known but hidden sorrow. Thanks for giving this pain a voice, a picture. And besides that: great picture art…. I’ve written a Dutch poem on one of the pictures, with a call within it..

    • And the translation of the poem sounds:

      He’s got the eyes of his mother
      and his days from wordless time
      He’s got the hands of his father
      and questions risen beyond voice
      The calluses of childhood carves
      his heart and skin, he
      lives a life next to me in
      rythm, which imprisons with force
      He’s got his breath from heaven
      horsepower in steel and earth
      love and needs lay sweaty streets
      till eyes do see, a voice sounds forth
      to free from guilt, our hands must reach,

  93. Amazing photos Steve and a very important subject. Thank you for sharing.

  94. Reblogged this on BOOKNUTCASE and commented:
    The eyes of all those children are so mature and sad…and we complain about so many small things all day and spend money researching which pill will allow us to eat more and not get fat or candy that will make our sweat smell nice….
    Wonderful pictures…

  95. everyone’s said it already but these photos are amazing, each and every one of them. as a collection they may represent one photographer’s best photos, but you seem to have an endless supply of amazing work. i can only hope to achieve the quality, consistency and emotion of such photos.

  96. Very impressive! It is a pity that these children can not enjoy childhood

  97. Thank you for sharing these photo. I am left wondering how we make a distinction between rich childhoods spent learning a craft or skill (formal school is also crucial) in a family setting, and childhoods given over to production for the benefit of mass consumption. As we travel, we run up against this conundrum all the time. Perhaps some of the measures we could apply are, “Is the child happy?” “Does the child have a hopeful future?” Is the child loved, protected, and nurtured?”

    I have family who grew up in the mills and factories of New England and Atlantic Canada, and the very rural farms of the Midwest. Some went to school, some only made it to eight grade. They grew up in a world unimaginably different from our own. Each would deny their childhood was lost. I also know adults who grew up in boarding schools and orphanages in the U.S., and whose lives were lost.

    Anyway, thanks for posting the powerful images that generated the discussion.

    • The keys to differentiating between the two are the issues of danger, exploitation, and abuse.

    • Anonymous Says:

      I would agree. Schooling does not always mean happiness or a hopeful future. I was also struck by one photo in particular which when posted as part of this set is interpreted negatively but had it been posted as part of a set extolling the virtues of sharing your craft with your child it might well be interpreted differently Overall however they definitely highlight the silent hordes of children who work hard with little pay often to satisfy the greed of wealthy westerners.

  98. […] Here’s one from Steve McCurry. And there’s more on his blog, entitled Stolen Childhoods. […]

  99. Powerful and impressive.

  100. […] Vandaag ben ik geraakt door een blog, waar je zeker even naar moet gaan kijken. Onderstaande foto komt daar vandaan. Ik noem het een roep om recht. En ik noem het kunst, maar dat slaat dan op de foto. Lees onder mijn gedicht ook de quote en open je ogen…. […]

  101. very interesting and powerful work !!! People must see that. Our children must see that and know about !

  102. Stunning photos…. It make us appreciate Education so much more.

  103. Deeply moving, and a powerful reminder of an urgent need for change.

  104. Oh, these beautiful babies. . . .powerful and heartbreaking images……namaste…..Anne

  105. Kathleen O Rourke Says:

    The power of the pictures is there on the screen/the power of the words lasts long after you switch off the screen.thank you Steve

  106. Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

  107. Powerful images! Saddening to see the state of children in the third-world countries. Poverty and child labour form a vicious circle.

  108. Reblogged this on SOUDIP'S PHOTOBLOG and commented:
    Say NO to Child Labour! Stand up for child rights..some amazing photographs from the master Steve Mccurry..

  109. shrish Says:

    Reblogged this on KALOO SCHOOL and commented:
    Stolen children by Steve McCurry

  110. Reblogged this on Caixa Negra and commented:
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)

  111. Brilliant photos! the shocking reality of the world we live in!

  112. Brilliant photos , heart touching and so real!

  113. sunita pathak Says:

    These images are so routine our daily sight in our India , that even viewing them we feel
    overwhelming guilt . The captured images are so heart -wrenching , & have usual painful
    effect that we feel ashamed acutely . Great ,great Mccurry toch……

  114. Stunning Sir ! each of your frames inspiring to the core ! a great responsibility to address the issue

  115. […] “Stolen Childhoods” by Master photographer, Steve McCurry. […]

  116. Zeljko Says:

    Great shots of the ravaged childhood. Greeting, Zeljko

  117. Made my eyes wet…
    Strong images where the childs eyes tell us so much. Photos with powerful feelings.

  118. Thank you Steve for this … and all your work.

  119. Outstanding images about the sad reality of many children. This society must change many things …. Thanks, Steve.

  120. Wonderfull foto’s! Full of life, beauty and pain, joy . .. and stories. I am a big fan!

  121. Anonymous Says:


  122. Chithra Srinivasan Says:

    Reblogged this on chithrasrinivasan92 and commented:
    Rights to education is indeed a universal problem. CHild Labour is another social evil that has been preventing our Children making progress. Couple it with Poverty and all one can see is

  123. Wonderful! Great collection!
    Thanks for sharing

  124. Gene Riley Says:

    Thank you for sharing these moving images. Your work always makes me think, and more importantly…feel.

  125. I’m so grateful The Elders hold the elimination of Child Labour as one of their priorities. Photos such as these certainly add to general awareness – thank you, Steve. It is unacceptable that this happens to any child on this planet.

  126. Reblogged this on INTO THE BARDO, A BLOGAZINE and commented:
    If Steve McCurry’s name doesn’t ring a bell, think of the iconic photograph “Afghan Girl” that appeared in National Geographic. He is a world-renowned photographer with a compassionate lense. In this series from his blog (be sure to link through to see it all and to follow him, worthwhile), he shares photographs of working children from around the world. Perhaps when we are tempted to complain about our lives and our fate, we just shouldn’t. This will move all of us. The question is, what will it move us to do. What are prayers and metta practice if they don’t have feet? Jamie

  127. Reblogged this on Neverending1's Blog and commented:
    As it says : Stolen Childhoods. Will bring tears to your eyes. [NE1]

  128. This brought tears to my eyes. The poor children.

  129. Anonymous Says:

    I am so sad to say that this still happens in India. Whole government is run by corrupted politicians who hardly have time to think about these things while they are busy looting common man’s tax money. India will never become a developed country until we kill all these corrupted ******. I would be so happy if the ruling government spends all the income tax to uplift and help the poor people; educate their children.

  130. I see children here in Dominican Republic as young as 4 or 5 walking with their shoe shine boxes. Heartbreaking, all of them.

  131. the last picture is extremely powerful… what is he reaching out for, and why are we able-humans not able to help them? so much emotion, or is it the lack of it? i feel moved, but why do i not do something about it?

  132. thankyou for sharing these with us

  133. Every photo really speaks a thousand words. This particular set of pictures is not just candid but an eye-opener on what’s really happening to “some” of the children of the world. The eyes of every child narrates a story similar to each other. This is so touching, I felt humbled, I was re-enlightened. You never fail to impress me with your capturing talent. You’re an icon.

  134. Reblogged this on Ideas_R_Bulletproof and commented:
    penetrating documentation of life by Steve McCurry……

  135. Debra Beatie Says:

    Beautiful images of children with their souls showing in their eyes.

  136. These pictures are so powerful that you can feel the lost childhood…

  137. Anonymous Says:

    these are not about lighting, colour and composition anymore…..
    its all about the story behind the picture….

  138. Phenomenal work. Sad, but phenomenal.

  139. Powerful and beautifully touching.

  140. Love that you use your photographic prowess for social justice, so these children are not forgotten. I wonder if in the case of the fishing and goat herding if the children in these photos are tending the family’s welfare alongside parents. It reminds me of the USA in the nineteenth century, where children were considered little adults. Childhood, historically speaking, is a relatively new and welcome concept. Love your work deeply.


  141. Another quick comment – the problem is the cycle that these people are stuck in. These children will grow up with the understanding that if/when they have kids, they will be made to do the same. How do you break the cycle?

  142. Brilliant work as usual. Stunning photos and sad. I feel so lucky to be rasing my son in a country where he can have a childhood and learn, and not used and abused for someone elses reward abd profit.

  143. Anonymous Says:

    Where do I sign up to change this??!!!!!!

  144. You are so very right, Steve.

    And yet, I taught in American high school, where students crossed their legs and put them up, sipped a Dr. Pepper and said, “I just don’t feel like being in school today.” I would have died for their Biology classes, their Algebra and Geometry. These were taken from me in the name of religion (on American soil, I’ll add.) It makes me think that what needs to be shown is Disparity. If I had a camera and a blog, that’s what I would keep showing. A mansion next to a shack. A spoiled American child sitting in their vibrant library of Seuss next to a child miner or a child seamstress. Or a trafficked child.

    Thank you as always. You’ve touched me deeply.

    (It’s your soul. It shows through your eyes. Your lens.)

  145. Anonymous Says:

    Heartbreaking. These poor beautiful innocent children..

  146. This is heartbreaking . . .

  147. vproven Says:

    These are heart-wrenching images and beautifully done.



  148. Carolyn Wilson Says:

    I truly am at a loss for words or even an appropriate frame for my perspective on these beautiful photographs. My heart breaks for children who do not have the opportunity to experience play and the many joys and insights it brings. I want to know that these children are loved, have a warm bed and enough food. I want to know that they have dreams and hope. I admire their strength. Finally I am deeply grateful for these moving tributes to humanity and for the reminder that we are all connected.

  149. Muchos paises en America del sur ocurre lo mismo, es una tristeza y muy común.
    Recorri Bolivia y vi muchos niños trabajadores de minas de Borax, en Chile que es mi país ha disminuido sin embargo aun no se erraica esta situación , hermosas fotografias.
    Saludos deserticos, desde Copiapó, Atacama

  150. Great images !!!! They tell a lovely “sad” story .

  151. Thank you for your beautiful photographs- each piece tells a story of their suffering- and yet their hope… Hope for their own future- a future that they hope they can change through their own hard work- The Children are our future- let us teach them the value of life and give them all the love and support- Let us lead them by example. … Thank you for these beautiful expressions and faces that radiate beauty and truth.

  152. Reblogged this on PGS – The Way and commented:
    Steve McCurry’s photographs pull at your heart.

  153. Marilee Pittman Says:

    Childhood should not be a luxury.

  154. a lot of new work great.

  155. Steve, I will have to look at these a few times to fully understand what you are doing in terms of color, composition and feeling. Perhaps I can absorb some of your insights.

  156. I just love the fifth!

  157. Martin Says:

    un trabajo increible!! I like you to visit BOLIVIA and try to do some change pls!!”! is really needed for us, the world need to know the truth of BOLIVIA, really great work!!!

  158. People tend to forget that child welfare laws in England and the United States were pressured upon those countries by women — before women had the vote — after men had passed animal welfare laws. The argument was that their children deserved at least the equal protection that a man’s dog or horse did.

    So the ASPCA predates child protection. English common law (also the default basis of American law) is based on Roman law, which makes the child chattel of the “pater familias” — the father of the family. In Rome, the father had the right to treat the children as slaves in every way except infanticide (which was the crime of killing a minor child, not just a baby) past a particular age (I believe it might have been age seven, the “age of reason”), and even that was justified in the case of disrespect, if it was taken to court.

    Catholic reforms to this practice gradually softened some of the edges of outright murder, but not by much — a great deal of our ambivalence over “right to life” vs capital punishment and domestic abuse is related to the historical tension between Roman law and Roman Catholic “picking their fights” with the secular courts — complicated history I won’t defend or explain, but am just stating as historical record in European and inherited colonial legal systems.

    We see much of the world in the same situation that the industrial revolution left Europe and the US in a hundred and twenty-five or a hundred and fifty years ago, but without a strong labor movement and voices such as Charles Dickens to speak for these children, and with their plight in dozens of poor countries speaking scores of languages, the appeal to nonviolent cultural evolution is much harder.

    England and America were among the richest of the world’s countries when we enacted child labor reforms. How can we help these countries achieve enough stability that they can consider something similar?

  159. Anonymous Says:

    My eyes sprung a leak…will, there ever be a solution??

  160. Reblogged this on skemerlig.

  161. Marsha Ross Says:

    Thank you for putting faces to this travisty of humanity. The world should see these faces up close and personal. Please put these into a TV presentation of some kind. How do we know which products we purchase aren’t made by a child somewhere in the world. Every child should get a balloon….

  162. G. Horiuchi Says:

    You are without a doubt one of the greatest photographers of the last 50 years. Thank you

  163. stefania errore Says:

    I love your work Steve, you are a master. Indeed, as photographer, I am getting seriously concerned about the role of photography nowadays. we are getting richer and richer. we are going to the moon. we have more and more destructive power. but what is the cost? It is not only about money, it is not only about a picture. I am deeply concerned. What can we do about it. What is the role of photography and the photographer ? An image is there, powerful, it hits us for 1 minute, 30 seconds and then? Education, right to live, it is a never-ending project, it is a process, it is something we should put in place, non for a moment. but a change in our mind, a change in our habits. It is not about them, it is about us. I am deeply concerned. And I love your eye.

  164. Powerful, beautiful, haunting…

  165. ninagrandiose Says:

    Yes, I fully agree that education is the key to change and that the current situation is a tragedy. However, as a very frequent traveler to India, I have been forced to modify my position on this sad state of affairs. Many years ago, I was being shown around a gem cutting workshop in Jaipur. When I saw that nearly every person working there was under 12 years of age, I gasped with horror. The man who was showing me around, turned to me and said, “Madame, these are very poor Muslim boys. There are usually 8 other brothers and sisters in their families. Their parents can’t afford to feed them. If they don’t work, they don’t eat. What is worse?” The real problem is poverty. We can gasp in horror from the comfort of our well-fed bellies and relatively easy lives but do we really understand what it is like to be truly hungry?

  166. So very torn between the beauty of the images and the feeling of being horrified that the young are going through this.

  167. Great collection Steve:)
    Good work.

  168. louceatezate Says:

    J’ai honte de vivre dans un monde qui ne respecte pas ses enfants, nos enfants, j’ai honte de ne pas savoir quoi faire de mieux que de m’indigner.

  169. Andréa Sauer Says:

    Mais um trabalho fantástico de Steve McCurry’s – Stolen Childhoods. As fotografias nos fazem lembrar que há muito há fazer pelas crianças cujas infâncias estão sendo roubadas.

  170. Anonymous Says:

    Sou fã do Steve McCurry’s. Seu trabalho é fascinante e de uma sensibilidade que dói na pele. Fantástico! Nesse, sobretudo para nos lembrar que há muito há fazer pelas crianças cujas infâncias são roubadas mundo afora.

  171. Michael Biggs Says:


    Please keep this up. You are changing the world for the better by orders of magnitude that you can barely imagine. This isn’t “street photography”. This is “life photography” cataloging the human condition that escapes perhaps 99% of the people living in the Western world. I’ve traveled … and I’ve seen people living in caves with a piece of plywood pulled across the entrance, or people living in a hold in the ground with a piece of plywood pulled over the top, or a beggar who didn’t appear to be able survive the day unless I gave him money. I’ve captured the images in my tears. You’ve captured the images for mankind.

    Most grateful, michael

  172. Eyes full of sadness, thanks for sharing!

  173. janet o'donnell. Says:

    very sad, it must be hard for you aswell, but at least you can make sure the world sees it.

  174. Exceptional images, the power of story. We must continue to bring to light these atrocities through the medium of photography to a world that needs to be confronted with them.

  175. EXCELLENT PHOTOS! Each one tells its own story.


  176. Reblogged this on Slow Food Dubai – UAE and commented:
    child labour….Steve McCurry is still one of the best…

  177. Fabulous work. You must be very proud.

  178. Your pictures always make me feel so much but nothing like this series…

  179. Carlos Díaz Says:

    Impressive, thanks for sharing.

  180. Awesome and exciting pictures made with compassion and the highest level of mastery. It is always a great pleasure to see your works.

  181. Anonymous Says:


  182. You’re my most influential photographer, my idol!

    Excellent photography Mr McCurry. Your signature approach to photography gives these images great depth.

  183. great series Steve!

  184. Reblogged this on AWE & then SOME and commented:
    Steve McCurry’s new post on childhoods stolen by the necessities of poverty is powerful.

  185. Encore une fois une magnifique leçon de photographie et d’humanité. Merci Steve !

  186. Absolutely stunning. This is a something I’ve been working on myself and I feel grateful that you’ve summed up the struggle so well. Why is the fate of the world’s children such a low profile cause? Hopefully, this post will help change that.

  187. A very sad reality and a testament to the resilience of children.

  188. Very moving – and beautifully crafted images.

  189. Bob Wells Says:

    The conditions you describe are a travesty. You are right that children should not have to suffer under such conditions.
    There is a place, however, for child labor. My father worked on his family farm, and children have done so since the beginning of time. I was expected to work outside the home from the time I was a teenager, though in my case, it was for spending money. In many parts of the world, the efforts of children can make survival possible. Furthermore, learning to work is a valuable skill that if delayed, may be forever lost.
    However, the work of children, if they and the adults in their lives will embrace it, should ideally be their education. Education can make more of a difference in the long run than almost any other work a person can engage in.

    • Anonymous Says:

      what a smart man…. thank you, saved us from all the “already said, already seen, already made”….. yes it is as you say, very well put. Children work almost all over the world, sometimes in bad conditions, many times to help the family, that would otherwise not survive.

    • I agree. I lived in India for a year opening NPO and charity medical centres for those who woukdnt normally have access to safe and reliable medicine and screening. During that time we built diagnostic centres which involved employing entire families, including children, of the nomadic street dwellers. During our time together I learned that if they settle in slums (which, by the way, are simply villages of nomadic peoples who donot consider it squalid: who are we to judge) it isn’t safe to build and send kids to schools as the military/police dismantle slums violently and schools are often targetted resulting in missing kids or dead parents trying to rescue them. Settling can be a risk not worth taking so entire families/comminuities move around where work is; then move on. Dwelling on road sides in corrugated board, wood and palm, and canvas shelters. There is a very close bond in the communities and they are spiritually happy n content people with very few needs and wants. Their children are happy n honoured to work alongside their father and mother. I have no regrets employing children, and would do so again.

  190. Reblogged this on simplylifestuff and commented:
    I just bought my lil’ guy balloons to celebrate his last day of 2nd grade. It saddens me that these children will never know such gestures. It saddens me that these children’s parents will never see the pure joy in their child’s eyes of receiving a gesture so small.

  191. Impresionante y envidiable trabajo…mi más sincera enhorabuena!!!


  192. To0 moving for words

  193. I have not been moved in a very long time as I am moved by these pictures and words . I just bought balloons to surprise my lil’ guy when he comes home from his last day of school before summer break. It breaks my heart that these children will never know gestures like this.

  194. Wow, another great series! These eyes tell sad stories…
    Thanks for sharing,
    Greetings, Ron.

  195. Wonderful photographs!

  196. I love all the Pictures. They are so touching…..wonderful……

  197. Non vedo bambini…
    vedo anime innocenti troppo vissute.
    e fa molto male agli occhi del mondo.

    scatti duri ma veri.

  198. Anonymous Says:

    Very, Very Powerful.

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