Portraits of Resilience

is the ability to overcome adversity,

cope with setbacks, and persevere in the face of  
trauma and deprivation.


AFGHN-10118NFKandahar, Afghanistan

The greatest glory in living
lies not in never falling,
but in rising every time we fall. 
– Nelson Mandela

AFGHN-10037Herat, Afghanistan

SRILANKA-10024NF5Sri Lanka

MALI-10010NF, Sahel Desert, Mali, 1986final print_milanMali

INDIA-10727NFMumbai, India

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you
till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then,
for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
– Harriet Beecher Stowe


Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not… nothing is more common than unsuccessful people will talent.
Genius will not… unrewarded genius is almost legendary.
Education will not…. the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. 
– Calvin Coolidge


Serbian Orthodox clergy, like these monks living along Serbia’s Crna River,
have proved a resilient lot. During World War II and its aftermath some
700 were killed, and nearly a quarter of their 4,400 churches and monasteries were destroyed.
With little outside help, the church has made a stubborn comeback.


The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists.
– Japanese proverb

00529_04, Angkor Wat, 06/1999, CAMBODIA-10359Cambodia

CAMBODIA-10490Dith Pran, survivor of the Cambodian genocide at
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The world breaks everyone, and afterward,
some are strong at the broken places

– Ernest Hemmingway


Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight,
feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings.
– Victor Hugo


If you voluntarily quit in the face of adversity,
you’ll wonder about it for the rest of your life.
– President Bill Clinton

BURMA-10698 (1)Burma
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, winner of Nobel Peace Prize

AFGHN-10154Kabul, Afghanistan

AFGHN-10103Peshawar, Pakistan

00468_ 018Sri Lanka
A man prays for the victims of the tsunami in 2004 which killed more than 250,000 people

…more than education, experience, or training,
an individual’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds & who fails.
– Harvard Business Review, 2002

138 Responses to “Portraits of Resilience”

  1. These are fantastic in that they restore the humbling scale to the breadth and diversity of humans in this world. Yet we all can possess a spirit that breathes us and in out of joys and sorrows. There is really profound beauty here.



  2. Inspiring and truthful, thank you!

  3. Reblogged this on Everything-Nature and commented:
    Everything human –

    What is it thats so important to have your life taken away from you to risk danger and uncertainty and go beyond your comfort zone to get a story. It is the human experience to live it, dive into it, search for it, find the what makes us all human, what unites us, what builds a sense of what so awesome to be living in this world. The persistence of human nature, the resilience to keep going, the kindness of strangers, the hope of another generation.

    Not all stories come to a happy ending. After the sad news from the past week of the death of a journalist James Foley. I found solace from the work of a world renowned photographer who you may all know.

    Nothing in this world can bring peace in your community, your country or the world you live in, except by your own actions, your determination, your steadfastness to be the change. Nobody is perfect, however to be objective and look beyond failures and keep striving to be part of the human experience is in all our blood. Search for your own stories, use your own imagination and follow your instincts and moral compass.

    James Foley, although I did not know you, you will be remembered!

  4. Reblogged this on Free Range Yogini and commented:
    The world breaks everyone, and afterward,
    some are strong at the broken places
    – Ernest Hemmingway

  5. kwgaynor Says:

    What a wonderful post.

  6. Amazing images… that put our own petty, every day gripes into perspective!

  7. your photographs are amazing…they truly tell the story and show the emotion…

  8. Anonymous Says:

    touching photographs, thanks for sharing:-)

  9. Steve. Great stories and spellbinding images as ever. Thanks for sharing.

  10. manufotografer Says:

    Reblogged this on MANUFOTOGRAFER.

  11. Reblogged this on seealetis.

  12. Betsy van der Merwe Says:

    Beautiful, touching photographs, thanks for sharing.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    un grandissimo fotografo !!!

  14. OMAR LÒPEZ Says:


  15. from one graphic and hard hitting photo to the next, I found myself staring, hard, and the World seemed to shift. What is it about seeing such grit and determination in humans after being hit so hard by life? Makes everything else, every slight, worry arguement pale in comparison. Mountains vs molehills. xPenx

  16. Giorgio Griffani Says:

    Poor countries are many. These countries are controlled and exploited by greedy people what they think about power and not for rhe welfare of the other people. The wars that they create destroy buildings and families. The families already struggling are forced to survive in poverty. I hope everyone sees these pictures and think about the future of the world which we live

  17. Лучшие фильмы!

    Смотрите популярные фильмы

  18. Gabriele cassandra Says:

    These photos have a very strong emotional impact about us. They are photos of countries at war (Afghanistan,Libano,Cambogia etc),
    some countries where there is a lot of poverty, what produces diseases and ingnorance. They are photos of countries where nature produces natural disasters( earthquake and tsunami). In spite of everything, human being is able to face and overcome all adversity of life and trasform them positively.

  19. Reblogged this on historimage: Historias Visuales para ser contadas and commented:
    El gran fotógrafo de National Geografic Steve McCurry se hizo mundialmente famoso por la genial fotografía de La Muchacha Afgana.
    Pasados los años, se ha comprobado que aquella foto no fue producto de la suerte y que su talento y forma de contar historias no hizo más que crecer.
    En su blog podemos deleitarnos con las imágenes e historias visuales con la marca y sello personal de este maestro de la fitografía.

  20. […] Resilience is the ability to overcome adversity, cope with setbacks, and persevere in the face of trauma and deprivation. India Kandahar, Afghanistan The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time …  […]

  21. oh god…. help him

  22. 7188holgerferoudj Says:

    This is a wonderful series Steve. It makes one think. It gives hope. Thank you.

  23. Excellent photos

  24. […] Portraits of Resilience | Steve McCurry’s Blog. […]

  25. […] the way, I’m loving this post on Steve McCurry’s blog about resilience. For those who don’t know, Steve McCurry […]

  26. Wow ….

  27. […] según quien la piense, diga o ejerza? Os invito a deleitaros con estos retratos dramáticos de Steve McCurry en los que sin importar la tragedia que nos muestran tienen un pulso, un latido delicado pero […]

  28. Reblogueó esto en Born To Be Around the Worldy comentado:
    ¿Cuántos significados diferentes puede tener la palabra resistencia según quien la piense, diga o ejerza?
    Retratos dramáticos pero dotados de ese pequeño matiz de esperanza que también forma parte de nuestra humanidad…
    ¡La esperanza vive en la resistencia!

  29. Thanks for this inspiring post!

  30. matermuse Says:

    So long ago….saw the cover photo and it stuck in my mind, good to see if once again.

  31. Ana maria teresa de Hollanda cavalcanti Says:


  32. Reblogged this on Walk with me and commented:
    & Not giving up when you want to most, is the difference between living and dying.

  33. eklektike Says:

    L’ha ribloggato su eklektikee ha commentato:
    Resilienza: parola da riscoprire

  34. Impresionantes fotografías. Analogía indescriptible, con sentido arraigado a sabor y razón.

  35. Amazing, beautiful, inspiring photos. Thankyou.

  36. Esstelle Says:

    As always, your compassion shows in each and every photo you share with us. Very much appreciate your
    marvelous photos. Thank you.

  37. I’m so glad I came across your work. Being able to look at the world through your eyes/lens is inspiring and motivating. Thank you!

  38. Absolutely stunning work, I cannot stop looking at this post. Incredibly inspiring both the work itself and the people you have captured.

  39. catherineturner367 Says:

    Wonderful, sad, lovely photographs! They inspire hope yet reveal reality at the same time.

  40. Reblogged this on El rincón del ex-fumador… and commented:
    Mirar de otra forma, ver lo que los demás no podemos ni imaginar que estuviese allí, expuesto y a la vista de cualquiera que tenga la habilidad de verlo. Encontrar es imagen que vale más que mil palabras, tal vez porque las contenga condensadas.
    Todo el oficio en una imagen.

  41. Reblogged this on Curiosités de Titam and commented:
    Ceux qui n’ont rien, et se battent encore…

  42. Reblogged this on DAFPHTOART and commented:
    Some fantastic photojournalistic photography. Some very nice images.

  43. Fantastic photojournalistic photography. Particularly the first image ‘India’, the man looked seemingly decapitated at first glance. Great work!

  44. Sanjukta Dey Says:

    What a touching, facinating and inspiring series!

  45. Awesome images…..human beings are good at resilience…..why cant we be better at finding solutions to lessen people’s suffering?

  46. Reblogged this on Frechilla Fotografía and commented:
    Retratos que sugieren mucha reflexión y con el inconfundible estilo de McCurry

  47. Reblogged this on The Wandering Poet and commented:
    Heart..Resilence..Faith..A thousand words in every image within this post..

  48. wow, Humanity’s greatest strength within the photos here. Resilence, faith strength and more importantly? heart. Beautiful reminder..

  49. Reblogged this on Wonder and Beauty and commented:
    I always love his photos . . .

  50. Powerful images and words of wisdom! Well done, thank you.

  51. i love these ) beth

  52. Reblogged this on dungthoso and commented:
    very touching images …

  53. excepcional trabajo, transmites fantásticamente la vida y el día a día de personas por donde pasas

  54. Anonymous Says:

    Very inspiring and a wonderful blend of images and words of wisdom. Thank you.

  55. As always, captivating and inspirational photos and narrative! Thank you for sharing!

  56. Lilis Marliani Says:

    More than just words more than just photos depicting human more than just …..I am totally speechless.

  57. So inspiring Steve…thanks for sharing with (and grounding) me!

  58. this is encouraging and shows that as long as thre is life, there is hope.



  60. This is the most unusual picture I’ve seen in a long time. I love it!

  61. Very touching. Thank you . Love.

  62. What a gift to find YOU posted on ‘reader’ this morning. I am reading as much as I can about Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq…actually have barely scratched the surface. I am starting with fiction and going from there… I am also devoting myself to learning more about immigrant groups in my own back yard. For me, in St. Paul, MN, that is mostly people from Ethiopia and Somalia. Saturday, I am attending a Genna event…

    Your photography is SO moving; strikes me at my very core. If only, I think to myself. How I would have liked to travel and meet people like this as a younger person…now I sit passed the mark of middle age, only just beginning to find a way in…you are such an inspiration. I look forward to seeing so much more of your superb work- capturing and telling stories through the lens. All my best, Christine

  63. people are beautiful, strangely more so in sadness or broken.

  64. Incredible set of powerful images…

  65. Reblogged this on Tintedvisionimages and commented:
    This Body of work is very beautifully constructed with a natural effect of life in a spontaneous form. I love it

  66. Anonymous Says:

    Awesome. GBU

  67. Reblogged this on being mrscarmichael and commented:
    always but always brilliant. This one inspiring as well.

  68. […] See on stevemccurry.wordpress.com […]

  69. […] Resilience is the ability to overcome adversity, cope with setbacks, and persevere in the face of trauma and deprivation. India Kandahar, Afghanistan The greatest glory in living lies not in neve…  […]

  70. Reblogged this on Ideas_R_Bulletproof and commented:
    Perhaps the greatest strength of man is to be able to make a comeback…..

  71. Anonymous Says:

    I like : Kabul, Afghanistan and Peshawar, Pakistan

  72. Beautiful photography I can never get tired of seeing!

  73. Terribly beautiful, as human beings are

  74. Steve – as always : inspiring! I have just reblogged this on my own blog at saxonsblog.wordpress.com with the remark : “If you do nothing else today, have a look at this blog …”

    Thank you – you are a remarkable person!

  75. Reblogged this on Lotta Wanner and commented:
    Honest truth and yet…hope! Thank you Steve McCurry for sharing your images and words!

  76. super reportage

  77. “Une image vaut 1000 mots ! ” Cela prend ici tout son sens. Merci.

  78. Thanks for the pictures that keep us forget the world in which we live. Magnificent series.

  79. Really touching photographies

  80. The first image made me smile, as someone who sews ……I wonder what he is going to create with the machine. The whole collection of images are so strong and have evoked many feelings with me. Beautiful capture of human struggles and haunting. X

  81. […] Resilience is the ability to overcome adversity, cope with setbacks, and persevere in the face of trauma and deprivation. India Kandahar, Afghanistan The greatest glory in living lies not in neve…  […]

  82. Excellent work as usual.
    More than a photographer I always consider you as a story teller.


  83. There is something so moving about other peoples’ sadness. To capture it and to look back on it must be such an emotional and inspirational thing for many. I am so awed by this story telling.

  84. Reblogged this on Critical Transitions and commented:
    A good start of the year…

  85. Anonymous Says:

    So incredibly touching, the photographs of the human condition, the drama, the beauty, the sacredness of these people and the compassionate angle of the photographer.


  87. Rosalie Nilson Says:

    Makes 1st world problems seem very trivial.

  88. As always, a beautiful photo essay. This one was might be the most moving I’ve seen on this blog, and that is saying something. Thanks for sharing these incredible photos!

  89. Stunning as always. The message is powerful, both words and your brilliant photography.

  90. Each image conjures drama and emotion, deeply felt and realized.

  91. Full of deep feelings, Steve !

  92. The photos are inspirational, as always. Thank you for this enrichment.

  93. Reblogged this on onethousandandtwo and commented:
    I love Steve McCurry’s blog. I see so much courage and resilience in the people he photographs. And I stop feeling sorry for myself, for whatever trouble I may feel I have.

  94. Magnificent very strong, impressive, disturbing photos, photos that all the people who govern us should have on their desk permanently
    A great “like” for this post

  95. India is the place that first taught us the value of Resilience. Om

  96. Linda Williamson Says:

    The first image is forever etched in my mind. Thank you.

  97. Impressive images. Finding beauty even in the most terrible conditions.

  98. The photos are a little depressing, but at the same time inspiring. Take a look ; they’re still beautiful photos.

  99. Incredibly stunning images that moves anything with a beating heart. MM 🍀

  100. Stunning photography Steve!

  101. Lex Arias Says:

    Reblogged this on LeoAr Photography / Lex Arias and commented:
    Impresionante, como siempre….

  102. What amazing images!

  103. Foto splendide e terribili. Ogni commento ulteriore sarebbe inutile.

  104. I am always enchanted by your pictures

  105. Reblogged this on PhoToph30 and commented:
    Une extraordinaire série de photos très fortes. A ne pas manquer !

  106. Connie Jensen Says:

    Steve, a particularly moving series.

  107. Excellent post!
    Very very touching photos.
    Thank you for sharing.

  108. Stunning images Steve

  109. Anonymous Says:

    Wonderful post Steve. Beautiful and meaningful pictures. I think this is one of your best collections yet.

  110. Wonderful pictures but too much sadness

  111. Awesome photographs,thanks for posting.

  112. excelentes!!!

  113. For some mysterious reason, you always manage to post something, that is most important in my life that day! Thank you for your work! Greetings from Hungary!

  114. So much pain in the world yet so much hope… as long as we have hope and resilience , pain will continue to lose.

  115. Oh my god! This is so strong. Really nice post!

    • Je ne savais pas comment l’exprimer mais c’est tout à fait ça. Merci Meho d’être mon interprète ! Et encore bravo pour ce superbe post que je viens de rebloguer ! Comment peux tu être à tous ces endroits à des moments si forts ?

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