Archive for Mumbai

Portraits of Resilience

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2014 by stevemccurry

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

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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Food for Thought

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2012 by stevemccurry

  Food is our common ground, a universal experience.
– James Beard

 Pul-e-Kumri, Afghanistan

Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the
single most significant trademarks of a culture.
– Mark Kurlansky

What is food to one man may be fierce poison to others.

– Lucretius, Roman Poet and Philosopher

Calcutta, India


The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water,
is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight…”
M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating

Bakery run by widows, Kabul, Afghanistan

All sorrows are less with bread.

– Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote


If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars  and all the heavens.
– Robert Browning


Bread is the king of the table and all else is merely the
court that surrounds the king.
– Louis Bromfield


Istanbul, Turkey

Food to a large extent is what holds a society together and
eating is closely linked to deep spiritual experiences.
– Peter Farb and George Armelagos

Consuming Passions: The Anthropology of Eating

Rajasthan, India

Egg Vendor, Kabul, Afghanistan

Chef Wolfgang Puck,  Los Angeles, California, USA

Date Seller, Yemen


The table is a place of communion for life’s large and small events.
Art Smith, Master Chef



Refugee Family, Sri Lanka

It’s the company, not the cooking, that makes a meal.
– Kirby Larson, Hattie Big Sky

Priyadarshini Park, Mumbai, India

If more of us valued food and cheer above hoarded gold, it would be a much merrier world.
– J.R.R. Tolkien

Monsoon Waters, Indonesia

Beirut, Lebanon


Mumbai, India

The main facts in human life are five: birth, food, sleep, love and death.

– E.M. Forster

The Lives We Live

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2012 by stevemccurry

The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.
– Flora Whittemore


Maimana, Afghanistan

Since the beginning of time, doors have
symbolized both great opportunities and thwarted dreams.


Varanasi, India

Morocco-10024; 00541_07; Morocco; 03/1988


The open door is a metaphor for new life, a passage
from one stage of life to another, and metamorphosis.
Closed doors represent rejection and exclusion.



The Door
Too little has been said
Of the door,
its one face turned to the night’s
and its other
To the shift and glisten of firelight.


Bamiyan, Afghanistan

For doors are both frame and monument
To our spent time,
And too little
Has been said of our
coming through and leaving by them.
– Charles Tomlinson







A door just opened on a street–
I, lost, was passing by–
An instant’s width of warmth disclosed
And wealth, and company.

The door as sudden shut, and I,
I, lost, was passing by,–
Lost doubly, but by contrast most,
Enlightening misery.
– Emily Dickinson


Kabul, Afghanistan


Mingun Pagoda, near Mandalay, Burma/Myanmar


West Kabul, Afghanistan




Los Angeles, United States

The door swings open:
O god of hinges,
god of long voyages,
you have kept faith.
It’s dark in there.
You confine yourself to the darkness
You step in.
The door swings closed.
– Margaret Atwood


Kabul, Afghanistan


Bamiyan, Afghanistan


Bombay/Mumbai, India


Kabul, Afghanistan


Dhaka, Bangladesh


Monastery at Rolous, Cambodia



The Door

Go and open the door.
Maybe outside there’s
a tree, or a wood,
a garden, or a magic city.

Go and open the door.
Maybe a dog’s rummaging.
Maybe you’ll see a face,
or an eye, or the picture of a picture.

Go and open the door.
If there’s a fog
it will clear.

Go and open the door.
Even if there’s only
the darkness ticking,
even if there’s only
the hollow wind,
even if nothing is there,
go and open the door.

At least there’ll be a draught.
– Miroslav Holub
translated from the Czech by Ian Milner





The closing of a door can bring blessed privacy and
comfort – the opening, terror.
Conversely, the closing of a door can be a sad and final thing –
the opening a wonderfully joyous moment.
– Andy Rooney

More Fun and Games

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2011 by stevemccurry


Wodaabe Tribe, Niger

Laughter is by definition healthy.
– Doris Lessing,  Nobel Laureate in Literature


La Fortuna, Honduras


Shanghai Circus, Shanghai, China 


Moscow, Russia 


Perugia, Italy

If music be the food of love, play on.
– William Shakespeare

_SM15545, Havana, Cuba, 2010, CUBA-10020

Havana, Cuba




Rajasthan, India


Lucknow, India

No human being is innocent, but there is a class of innocent human actions called games.
– W. H. Auden

00660_14, Beqaa Valley, Lebanon, 2005, LEBANON-10074

Bekaa Valley, Lebanon


Mersin, Turkey 

Could we look into the head of a Chess player,
we should see there a whole world of feelings,
images, ideas, emotion and passion.
– Alfred Binet


Jodhpur, India

00635_19, PERU-10004NF6, Alto Churumazu, Yanesha People, Peru, 2004



Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Some people believe football is a matter of
life and death.
I’m very disappointed with that attitude.
I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.
– Bill Shankly, English soccer manager.


Maningrida, Australia




Young Shepherd during Holi, Rajasthan, India

We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.
– Immanual Kant


Istanbul, Turkey

Until one has loved an animal,
a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.
– Anatole France


Mumbai/Bombay, India



Buzkashi, Kabul, Afghanistan


Yangon, Myanmar/Burma

They say golf is like life, but don’t believe them.
Golf is more complicated than that.
– Gardner Dickinson




00253_10, YEMEN-10058NF, Yemen, 1997



You must invent your own games and
teach us old ones how to play.
– Nikki Giovanni




Varanasi, India

Fun and Games

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2011 by stevemccurry
Tibetan Refugee Settlement, Bylakuppe, India
If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed
himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become
unstable without knowing it.
– Herodotus


TIBET-10799 Lhasa, Tibet


The true object of all human life is play.
Earth is a task garden.
Heaven is a playground.

G . K. Chesterton

Gubbio, Italy




You can discover more about a person in an
hour of play than in a year of conversation.
– Plato

JAPAN-10027Tokyo, Japan


 ITALY-10288NF8Spoleto, Italy


Mumbai, India


 INDIA-10005NF4Rajasthan, India


Play is a uniquely adaptive act,
not subordinate to some other adaptive
act, but with a special function of its own
in human experience.
– Johan Huizinga

Pul i Khumri, Afghanistan

AFGHN-12126NF3  Wrestling Match, Kahan, Afghanistan


USA-10214 Los Angeles, California

Games lubricate the body and the mind.
-Benjamin Franklin


CANADA-10001Nova Scotia, Canada


Play is the exultation of the possible.
– Martin Buber

AFGHN-10100Kabul, Afghanistan




Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the
seriousness of a child at play.
– Heraclitus

INDIA-10490NFMumbai, India


CHINA-10038NF3 China

It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use,
from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.
– Thomas Aquinas

  AFGHN-12262Bamiyan, Afghanistan






INDIA-10836Rajasthan, India

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