Life Breath of Half the World

INDIA-10220 India

India’s  monsoon rains have covered the entire country a month ahead of schedule,
brightening the prospects for a
bumper output of summer-sown crops such as rice, oilseeds and
cotton in one of the world’s leading producers.

INDIA-10214-(1)Mumbai, India


During the year I spent following the monsoon in a dozen countries, I learned to see it as a critically important event, 
and not the disaster it had first seemed to my Western eyes.

INDIA-11030Varanasi, India

For half the world’s people, good monsoon s  mean life and prosperity.
Bad monsoons mean famine and death.


Farmers experience the monsoon as an almost religious experience 
as they watch their fields come back
to life after being parched for half the year. 



For months there is no rain, and then there is too much.
Half the world’s people survive at the whim of the monsoon.


Rain is grace;
Rain is the sky descending to the earth …
– John Updike



Only He shakes the heavens and from its treasures takes out the winds. 
He joins the waters and the clouds and produces the rain.
He does all those things. 

– Michael Servetus (1511-1553)
Spanish theologian, physician, cartographer


INDIA-10926Monsoon skies over Bihar, India

Fizzy, frothy, fickle rain




BANGLADESH-10007     Bangladesh

Monsoon History

Shirley Geok-lin Lim
The air is wet, soaks
into mattresses, and curls
In apparitions of smoke,
Like fat white slugs furled
Among the timber
Or silver fish tunnelling
The damp linen covers
Of schoolbooks, or walking
Quietly like centipedes,
The air walking everywhere
On its hundred feet
Is filled with the glare
Of tropical water.
Again we are taken over
By clouds and rolling darkness.
Small snails appear
Clashing their timid horns
Among the morning glory

INDIA-10377NF3Monsoon Festival, India


Monsoons, Australia, River, Arnumlan Untold_bookAustralia

INDONESIA-10007, Ujung Pandang, Sulawesi, Indonesia, 1983
‘Steve McCurry in monsoon flood, Gujarat, India 

Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me
by Mary Oliver 
Last night
the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,
what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again
in a new way
on the earth!
Katmandu Valley, Nepal

152 Responses to “Life Breath of Half the World”

  1. Arka Sengupta Says:

    monsoon in india-redefined.

  2. one & only steve mccurry


  4. Oh my God! Is this real? Some pictures just left me with a little mist in the eyes…STUNNING,BEYOND BEAUTIFUL EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM❤

  5. Greatly impressed… as usual.

  6. Hi there, my name is Almeida Garcez and I´m a freelance illustrator and writer. I just had a tour of your blog, and I was amazed with your work. Specially this picture and its title, can I have your permission to do an illustration of your words?

    Kindest Regards
    Almeida Garcez

  7. just breathtaking… thank you!

  8. Its a pleasure to see such pictures from India, Great Photography

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Great post.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you, Steve McCurry.

  11. i adore you, Mr. Steve!
    this is gorgeous! Indonesia on it too:)

  12. I particularly like that shot of you.:)

  13. Reblogged this on На дороге… and commented:
    This is India.

  14. Reblogged this on Marland Photography and commented:
    Rain is so much a part of Bangladesh, I couldn’t resist re-blogging this post.

  15. fantastic images. that photo of you in neck deep water is amazing.

  16. […]  If you haven’t checked out his blog before you should bookmark it and you can start with this photo essay on the monsoons on the other side of the […]

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Real life in closeup
    Sushanta Das

  18. Well, I know you don’t need me to tell you your blog is wonderful, but I have been following you for quite a while now and this one, I thought, was one of your very best. Thanks for the continuing inspiration for the rest of us!

  19. Lucie van Dongen Says:

    Je savoure à chaque fois ces images splendides qui me rappellent mes voyages et continuent à me faire rêver, penser à cette attente de la mousson source de vie alors que dans d’autres pays elle véhicule des catastrophes.
    Relativité des choses….
    Les photos parlent d’elles mêmes, les couleurs, expressions des visages montrent toute votre sensibilite de photographe.
    J’ai rarement rencontré, un tel talent, bravo!

  20. Your pictures are simply stunning Steve….A picture is worth a thousand words and more… Keep shining your light!:-)

  21. Reblogged this on SABAS LOG and commented:
    Brilliant camera following the monsoon season across the countries.
    Beautiful photos – should be shared

  22. Brilliant lens capturing the monsoon moments. great

  23. Natarajan Manikoth Says:

    Steve, you are an inspiration to all photographers and any one who appreciates good photography!

  24. lepirategunn Says:

    Reblogged this on Cabin Fever.

  25. Reblogged this on poet4justicedotwordpressdotcom and commented:
    Some of the most extraordinary photography I’ve ever seen!:)

  26. Anonymous Says:

    […]  If you haven’t checked out his blog before you should bookmark it and you can start with this photo essay on the monsoons on the other side of the […]

  27. […] Via Steve Mccurry’s blog […]

  28. Thank you for these photos of India. I know someone who is leaving to teach and live in the southeastern part of India for 2 years. He bought high rain boots!!!!!

  29. Touching and full of Emotions nice write up

  30. Touching photos!!

  31. […] Steve McCurry’s Blog: Life Breath of Half the World […]

  32. Reblogged this on lotustravel and commented:

  33. Anonymous Says:

    An amazing series of photos!!! So moving!!

  34. Great thoughts……I’m new fan of your blog. Thanks for sharing:)

    ALL THE BEST for your future snaps

  35. The photos are quite beautiful while reaching out to the viewer and conveying the misery of so much water falling from the sky. Very moving.

  36. This is really stunning. The images are gorgeous, and so full of compassion. Only, the floods coming early is not a good thing in this case. It is a symptom of the rapid melting of the Tibetan Plateau, a result of global warming. It is causing severe erosion of topsoil and therefore not beneficial to farmers, and an indication of more dry spells and droughts to come. So I see these images with compassion and a bit of heart break. I love Mother Ganga. I am sorry to see her so threatened, and her people so challenged. 130 dead and climbing.

  37. wonderful, wonderful pictures

  38. mandayamr Says:

    Superrrrrr! Is there anything like rain-proof gear for your expensive cameras/lens?

  39. Golda Kocubej Soriano Says:

    we learn with your photos how to look not only the color and the subject but through the expressions of the people. Thank you for share.

  40. Anonymous Says:

    Fantastiche foto. Di Vita e Disperazione. Grazie Steve, di darci così tanto. Sempre!

  41. I’ve rarely seen such stunning photographs…


  43. truly great pictures. each one of them is lovely…

  44. Magic comme très toujours avec cette couleur si spécifique !
    Cela nous rappele que la Nature et l’Homme sont souvant en affrontement, les derniers évenement en France le montrent.

  45. Beautiful work as always.

  46. i bow to you, mccurry guru. namaste.

  47. Good job Stev, keep it up.

  48. thesonnyone Says:

    Excelente y colorido blog. Tengo que mostrarle esto a mi mamá y papá!

    ¡Gracias y hasta luego.

  49. Anonymous Says:

    The message i got was about the importance of the monsoon to half the world,s people who see it as such and as they cannot hide inside warm, dry buildings or travel without getting wet just get on with it and celebrate its arrival, religiously, joyously, patiently. THanks for the reminder , Steve. Our Western world has so much to learn from other worlds

  50. Bravo pour cette épopée photographique , qui nous parle avec grace, des mahleurs de tout un peuple. Un peuple qui ne renonce jamais malgrés toutes les épreuves qu’il en dure !

  51. Me encanta ver las fotografías…

  52. Excellent captures. Apt time to bring out these frames.

  53. Most excellent images! A favorite book of mine is “Chasing the Monsoon: A Modern Pilgrimage through India” by Alexander Frater. Taken together, an unforgettable voyage. Many thanks, Steve.

  54. The pictures are breathtaking, he has such a sharp eye, i love that he gets involve all the time, and i’m absolutely in love with his color palette

  55. Steve, your ‘Monsoon’ book is one of my most treasured and great to see some images here I haven’t seen before…….I’m fascinated by the monsoon and would love to get back to India with my camera in the wet season to try and capture images maybe half as good as these!

  56. Reblogged this on Thoughts of a Lesser Canine and commented:
    Been seeing a huge amount of posts about the Indian Monsoon season. This one just takes my breath away:)

  57. alish basnet Says:

    words are not enough to describe your photographs ! great!!!!!

  58. Anonymous Says:

    buenisima!!! incredible !! speechlesss! words are not enough to describe this photographs .

  59. Iam loving to share some of your pic to the world

  60. thinley gyaltsen Says:

    Steve keeps surprising and unfolding the world that i have lived in India way deep down to my heart the moment that i lived and knowledge that i gain from him Thanks a million Steve

  61. your photography is excellent touching and unique
    your photography is always a great inspiration

    a big hug

  62. Cocoon Solidaire (Fafita) Says:

    Magnifique….Magique…..Meci pour ces instants de vie…

  63. Sheryl A VanVleck Says:

    I cannot travel as I would like so I love it when your photos come and I am taken to another world as I savor your work.

  64. Amazing photography (& blog) !

  65. Fantastic images! Wonderful to see and I have looked over them several times. Brings a country I love from afar into my home and teaches me about the Monsoon. Your work should be in a museum and/or galleries and/or in a book. Just excellent, evocative captures!!!! Wow!!

  66. As always Steve your library is truly amazing. I am headed back to Burma to work in a couple of days and your shots remind me of the joys and beauty (as well as the toll it takes on gear) of the monsoons. Thank you for sharing these with us.

  67. long liu Says:

    An awe inspiring body of work with a visceral impact that can be tasted!!!

  68. Reblogged this on The pedalling photographer and commented:
    Some very moving images

  69. Some very moving images Steve, outstanding photography.

  70. mike murphy Says:

    Steve, your pictures just blow me away. Fabulous.

  71. Reblogged this on HANNASWALK and commented:
    Why is Steve McCurry famous? The answer lies in these images:

  72. […] Porque o trabalho de Steve McCurry fascina qualquer pessoa, hoje, coloco aqui mais uma sequência de imagens (apenas as que me chamaram mais a atenção – podem ver as restante no blogue do fotógrafo). […]

  73. I have no words…
    This is Photography!

  74. Amazing amazing photos!!!!

  75. […] Courtesy: Steve Mc’Curry’s blog  Tweet Categories: Poetry Tags: Father. Man of stainless steel, poetry, Steve […]

  76. Sony Jacob Says:

    Really Great, very natural

  77. Great to see the great man at work, Steve … looking forward to your next post … always supposing who didn’t get swept away.

    Spectacular shots! Awesome … in the true meaning of the word.

  78. Reblogged this on Ideas_R_Bulletproof and commented:
    extraordinary photos of monsoon by the great Steve McCurry……

  79. Absolutely stunning photographs, as always, love and inspired by every single one!:)

  80. S. N. Rama Raju Says:

    Down South in Tamil Nade, we are experiencing drought condition and withered crops for the last two years. It is heartening to see the monsoon pictures which gives me hope that next monsoon will be normal. Excellent pictures !

  81. mind blowing pictures.

  82. Reblogged this on mymotionpicture and commented:
    As the monsoons hit India, the drenched souls longed for something wet and serene. Steve gave me that much awaited peace of mind through all these wonderful photographs..
    Truly spectacular!

  83. Reblogged this on E'n'M and commented:
    Beautiful photography , as always , just apt , with the monsoons now , in India .

  84. Incredibly dramatic theme. Fantastic images as always, Steve. Thanks.

  85. Simply adore your work!

  86. L’ha ribloggato su Max510's Bloge ha commentato:
    Altre incredibili immagini dal blog del grande Steve McCurry !

  87. Steve, Thank you for your images. I enjoy your photos immensely. Your talent is powerful.

  88. “Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.”

  89. Matilda Says:

    Through you I see God. Thank you

  90. Amazing photos!! They make me miss India so much! Thank you for sharing all your photos.

  91. Rosanna Says:

    Viaggio attraverso le tue foto, entro nel mondo con le tue foto ….. Grazie!

  92. I am not a photographer but I somehow understood something of what your photos speak. A bit disappointed about your not giving something with the monsoon over the Ganges, and over the ghats of in Varanasi as I miss my home and could have seen it through your lens.

  93. Anonymous Says:

    Fantabulous…. !!

  94. Awesome imagery !

  95. Surya Sen Says:

    Nice timing to share these photos … Alas…. Its monsoon in India now !

  96. Truly great capture. Great to visit your blog.

  97. Truly great captures.

  98. Breathtaking pictures… Love it so much:-)

  99. Reblogged this on Neverending1's Blog and commented:
    See the photographer in the rain, near end.

  100. mark brunner Says:

    so good. years ago you have inspired me to travel and make my own photographs, it changed my life. Thank you. Mark William Brunner

    Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2013 19:41:58 +0000 To:

  101. Amazing pictures as usual. This is why I do photography, and why I am in India. Because I am so inspired by your beautiful work.

  102. Nice moment and capture beautifully

  103. i am indian…and you are right ,monsoon is probably the most important event in our lives…and these are magical images ..thank you..

  104. ivanterzic Says:

    Absolutely fantastic set!

  105. Reblogged this on Catatan Kecil and commented:
    The monsoon symphony

  106. Jeffrey Diamond Says:

    This is the first time I’ve seen a photo from Australia.

  107. Dear Steve,

    you blog is always brilliant. This one on the monsoon is doubly brilliant.

    Thank you,


  108. Great pictures Steve..Congrats..

  109. Stella Langlais Says:

    Tout à fait “magnifique”!
    Quel talent, vous transmettez l’image pure, simple et vraie

  110. Claude Says:

    I don’t know what to say….Except MERCI DE TOUT COEUR!

  111. Sister Simon Clare Says:

    The look on the face of the tea boy, waist deep in floodwater, is just sublime.Truly awe-inspiring talent.

  112. Reblogged this on Caixa Negra and commented:
    No words required.
    Steve McCurry is a genius !

  113. […] Para ver aqui […]

  114. Western eyes, we’d say this is a necessary bad. Extraordinary pictures (as usual) Steve, it is always a pleasant lesson looking at your inages.

  115. Living on the west-coast of Norway I am used to rain, but this is certainly something else! Nice documentary indeed!

  116. Years earlier, I was a teenager, a young man took a picture of me and on the back he wrote “With love”.

    Since then, any picture of me has been given and taken only by some one who really loves and understand that splendid gift. I hate to be portrayed by unknown people. I need this love to be shared on images.

    Thank you Steve I really do love your pix. Giovanna RECORDATI

  117. Rain is life !! Outstanding vision of Monsoon.

  118. […] snow may be expected later in the week. In this context, I was interested in the latest edition of Steve McCurry’s latest blog. If you are unfamiliar with Steve, he is most famous for a portrait that made the cover of the […]

  119. your photo’s are brilliant, bringing the Monsoon History poem to life

  120. Maybe this is my favorite collection so far, I love the rich, natural colors in the rain. And the picture of the mother and child looking into the car window is my favorite of these!

  121. Brilliant pictures – all of them.

  122. This is why you are a Photographer and I am an apprentice.
    They are all too good but the one in Bangladesh with the railway just blows my mind…

  123. Simon Eade Says:

    Great piece, amazing photographs.

  124. Incredible how you manage to take those expressive and vivid pictures under these circumstances. With my deepest respect. Andreas

  125. flyfishertc Says:

    Great work, Steve. A lot of hard work.

  126. Incredible collection. I bet your equipment got more than a little bit wet!

  127. Reblogged this on Ord i Bild and commented:
    Den här bloggen hittade jag tack vare Rasmine – också en duktig fotograf

  128. Amazing photos as always. A joy to view.

  129. Impressive flooding photos! That last photo of you in the flood had to be concerning with all of that camera equipment.

  130. altoid65 Says:

    Absolutely stunning shots, Steve..!! But also mind numbing, thought provoking and mind blowing all at the same time. When you look into eyes of anyone of those affected it’s hard to imagine what thoughts are gone through their minds, although you can imagine, but not really.
    Thanks so much for sharing these incredible photos with us..!!

  131. Hi Steve: The cut of your photographs is alive in my mind, it is recorded as a tattoo, my sincere greeting esteemed teacher.


    Toni Doro

  132. Maravilloso!

    Enviado desde mi iPad

    El 17/06/2013, a las 21:41, Steve McCurry’s Blog escribió:

    > >

  133. Your dedication to photography is inspiring! Every image is fascinating. Hope your camera survived the rains!

  134. Anonymous Says:

    Thanx for these overwhelming pictures. I’m deeply impressed – in all respects!

  135. Your photos and tales move me beyond words. I am oh so grateful for your inspiration.

  136. Reblogged this on Rasmines Photography and commented:

  137. Outstanding series… Every picture is just incredible…

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