Archive for Gujarat

Life Breath of Half the World

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2013 by stevemccurry

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

Grief, Grind, and Glory of Work

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2013 by stevemccurry

Last month the world heard the tragic news
that more than a thousand people working at a clothing factory in Bangladesh,
were killed when 
the factory they were working in collapsed.

Myanmar, Burma, 1994, final book_iconicBurma

The appetite for cheap clothing in the West is insatiable.
The people making the clothing  often pay the true cost of these items.
The scale of this factory in Burma is vast.
The sense that these workers are just part of an immense machine is
accentuated by 
the pink shirts they are obliged to wear.

BURMA-10221NF, Myanmar (Burma), 07/1994Burma

Labor disgraces no man;
unfortunately, you occasionally find men who disgrace labor.  

– Ulysses S. Grant


Whether it is men fishing,  nuns washing dishes, miners digging beneath the earth, or 
working in the heat of a steel mill, work is universal, yet intensely personal. Millions work in order to survive, and for them,
is no debate about how to achieve a life/work balance.  

INDONESIA-10006Woman working in a field devastated by volcanic debris and flood waters.  Java, Indonesia

INDIA-10330NFShoe repair shop in India

Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work.
– Horace



Your life is a journey, not a rest.
You are travelling to the promised land, from the cradle to the grave.
The Sunday at Home, December 7th 1854

INDIA-11144, India, Bombay, 1997Mumbai, India

Gujarat, India

The heights by great men reached and kept,
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

YUGOSLAVIA-10068MKS Steelworks, Serbia


Working for long periods under extreme stressful work conditions can lead to
sudden death, a phenomenon the Japanese call karoshi. The word in China is guolaosi.

PAKISTAN-10006NFLandi Kotal, Pakistan

AFGHN-10146Bakery run by Afghan widows, Kabul, Afghanistan

Dubrovnik, Croatia, 1989Croatia

Many find their identity in the work they do. Some enjoy intense satisfaction in their work.
For others, the line between work and play is hard to find.

Tibetans, 07/2001, final book_iconicIndia

INDIA-10679NF2, Bombay, India, 09/1993. Textiles,
           Mumbai, India

A suger cane farmer stand in his field in Luzon, Philippines, 1985Sugar cane farmer, Philippines

Everything yields to diligence.
– Thomas Jefferson

BRAZIL-10044NF8, Brazil, Latin America, Lavazza, 08/2010Drying coffee beans, Brazil

If a man is called a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or
Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.  He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of
heaven and Earth will pause to say, Here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.  
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

KASHMIR-10016Flower Seller, Dal Lake, Kashmir

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On and Off the Wall

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2011 by stevemccurry

Street Art | Graffiti, Murals, Posters, and Signs

 BURMA-10365NF4Inside a bell at a pilgrimage site, Mingun, Myanmar/Burma

Graffiti has existed since ancient Greece and Rome.  It expresses political and cultural views, and many consider it an art form.


 CUBA-10023Havana, Cuba

When there are cultural and political shifts, it is sometimes possible to see the earliest indications  by literally looking at the “writing on the wall.”

CUBA-10017 Havana, Cuba

GERMANY-10055Berlin, Germany


 Posters are found in public places all over the world. They are  designed to attract the attention of passers-by and entice them to purchase a particular product or service, make them aware of a political viewpoint, or attend a specific event. If suddenly it were decreed that they all must disappear, it would seem that all color had disappeared from the urban landscape, and the cities would appear a mournful gray.
– Max Gallo

 INDIA-10328NFPoster Studio, Mumbai/Bombay, India

ITALY-10080Venice, Italy 

INDIA-10530Anand, Gujarat, India

INDIA-11029 Dentist’s Clinic, Ujjain, India 

 USA-10167New York, NY

 Throughout the world there have been murals on walls as long as there have been people to scratch them, paint them, etch them, carve them and make them.

USA-10432New York, NY 



USA-10293Street art on the pavement at Seventh Avenue & Bleecker Street, New York

From the prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux, France, to the ceremonial and celebratory murals of ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome,
India, and Mesopotamia, the history of murals is long,  rich and varied.


USA-10204NF2Los Angeles, California

  Ancient murals often depicted activities in which the people of the time engaged, from religious ceremonies to
scenes of hunting and gathering for sustenance.

– Kaizaad Kotwal

 AFGHN-13103Mujahid, Kabul, Afghanistan

AFGHN-10255 Kunduz, Afghanistan

 AFGHN-12517Young men admiring Movie Poster, Pul-i-Khumri, Afghanistan 

AFGHN-12524 Poster Vendor, Kabul, Afghanistan 

 Posters are mirrors because they reflect and sometimes distort the culture and the customs of the time.
– Max Gallo

FRANCE-10046Metro Station, Paris, France

Nice piece in PhotoShelter blog:

The Power of Nature

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2011 by stevemccurry

 Please scroll to the bottom for the Unpublished Portrait of the Week



The word tsunami comes from two Japanese words: tsu, which means harbor, and nami, which means wave.

 JAPAN-10105 Japan


 In March  2011, Japan suffered from one of most violent earthquakes in history. 


 Its coastline shifted by as much thirteen feet to the east.


 The tsunami spawned by the earthquake destroyed virtually everything in its wake.


INDONESIA-10001NF6Duckweed carpets the water in a girl’s front yard at Bojonegoro, Java, Indonesia

Covering the monsoons  entailed day after day wallowing in filthy
water up to my
chest, or standing in the street in a torrential downpour, my shoulder aching from the umbrella
propped in my armpit, and an impatient assistant wishing he were somewhere else.

INDIA-10405NFPorbandar, Gujarat, India

I spent four days, in the flooded city of Gujarat, India, wading around the streets in waist-deep water that was filled with
bloated animal carcasses and other waste material.

INDIA-10436Porbandar, Gujarat, India

The fetid water enveloped me leaving a greasy film over my
clothes and body.  Every night I returned to my flooded hotel,
empty except for a nightwatchman, and bathed my shriveled feet in disinfectant.

INDIA-10220Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi, India

INDIA-10307NGoa, India

 Hurricane Katrina which hit New Orleans in August  2005,  was one of the deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States.
Almost two thousand people died in the hurricane and the flood which followed.

USA-10136New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

USA-10139NFNew Orleans, United States

USA-10129New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

USA-10130New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

On December 26, 2004, the Indian Ocean tsunami killed over 230,000 people in fourteen countries.

 SRILANKA-10048Four days after the tsunami hit Sri Lanka’s coastline
A man prays for the victims 


USA-10387 Texas, United States 

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The Eye of the Beholder

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2011 by stevemccurry


 The Taj Mahal in Agra, India, and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, are two of the world’s most iconic buildings.   They both evoke passionate emotions, even love, despite being  on opposite ends of the historical and architectural spectrum.



Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Built with translucent white marble and inlaid with gems from China, Tibet, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and the Arabian peninsula


 In both buildings shape, size, scale, proportion, texture, color, and light  work together to spectacular effect, but very simple structures can also be designed to bring aesthetic pleasure.



Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain
Constructed with a steel frame covered with titanium sheathing

What makes things pleasing to our eyes, and how can the design of everything from majestic buildings to simple utilitarian structures bring delight?



Kyoto, Japan

For centuries, there has been documented evidence that people have preferences for structures in the built environment and in the natural environment that have certain geometric  proportions known as the golden ratio or golden proportion.


Red Fort, New Delhi, India

  The ratio of length to width of approximately 1.618  appears not only in art and architecture, but also in natural structures.


Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet



Junagarh Fort, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India


Step Well, India


Kimberly Elam’s book,  Geometry of Design: Studies in Proportion and Composition, points out that things in nature as different as
the human body, the pine cone, and the trout all share natural proportioning systems that provide the foundation for all art, architecture, and design.


Summer Palace, Beijing, China

Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is
recognition of the pattern.
 – Alfred North Whitehead, Mathemetician


INDIA-10997, Jodhpur, India, 2005

Jodhpur, India



Gujarat, India


INDIA-10966,  Jaipur, India, April, 2008, Final print_Novartis

Jaipur, India, 2008

 On photography and geometry:

“For me the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. In order to “give a meaning” to the world, one has to feel involved in what one frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry.”
– Henri Cartier-Bresson



“Let no one destitute of geometry enter my doors.”  –  Plato 


On the Road

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2011 by stevemccurry

Stories about roads and journeys are as old as humankind.  One of the earliest “on the road” stories was Homer’s Odyssey, from 800 B.C.E., the story of Odysseus’ journey home after the Trojan Wars.

AFGHN-12211Southern Afghanistan

NIGER-10001NFMadaoua, Niger


From Homer to Dante,  Xuanzang , Marco Polo and Cervantes to Halliburton, to Kerouac, Durell, Theroux, Iyer, writers have taken their readers along on their roads, whether the journey is  fiction, non-fiction, or a combination of both.

MAURITANIA-10003Tiguent, Mauritania


  The words, “on the road”, can mean many things.  To the salesman, it is a time away from home trying to sell products.  To the explorer, it means setting off on an  adventure.  A road trip for athletes means that they’re playing in a different city.  To a homeless person, being on the road means the search for food and shelter.  To a Buddhist, the road may symbolize the path to enlightenment.  For refugees, the road is an escape route and symbolizes hope and safety.

AFGHN-12804NFBamiyan, Afghanistan



AFGHN-12880Near the Afghan/Pakistan border






AFGHN-10072NF5Kabul, Afghanistan



KUWAIT-10007NFAhmadi Oil Fields, Kuwait



INDIA-10837Calcutta/Kolkata, India



INDIA-10461Calcutta/Kolkata, India



INDIA-10841Rajasthan, India


“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson




USA-10208Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA

CUBA-10022Havana, Cuba



 INDIA-10206Calcutta/Kolkata, India






AFGHN-12499NF2Kabul, Afghanistan



INDIA-10405NFPorbandar, Gujarat, India



CAMBODIA-10082NF2Angkor, Cambodia


The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began,
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

– Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien


TIBET-10403Kham, Tibet


TIBET-10510Amdo, Tibet

Family, Nature’s Masterpiece

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2010 by stevemccurry

Tagong, Tibet



Families return to Herat, Afghanistan





“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”
-Jane Howard


Viet Tri City, Vietnam



Tihamah Plain, Yemen


“The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.” – George Santayana




Jodhpur, India


Shanghai, China


Maimana, Afghanistan



Tiguent, Mauritania






Cambodian refugees in Thailand



Porbandar, Gujarat


“The family is the nucleus of civilization.” –  William Durant


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