Archive for Rudyard Kipling

River of Life

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2015 by stevemccurry

For more than 2000 years, travelers have walked, ridden,
prayed, traded, invaded, escaped, fought, and
died along the 1,500 miles of the Grand Trunk Road
which stretches from Kolkata to Kabul.

Tram, Calcutta, India, 1996; A Tram, Calcutta, India, 1996 MCS1996002 K010 Magnum Photos, NYC5923 Kolkata, India

This ribbon of humanity stretching Northwest from Kolkata,
the city of culture and joy, to Kabul, the city of conflict,
has been moving merchants, buyers, conquerors, refugees,
prophets, nomads and pilgrims through what is today
India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

01896_11, 508665, India 50 Years After, Calcutta, India, 10/1996, INDIA-10379. An Indian woman prepares a meal under a shampoo advertisement. India_Book retouched_Sonny Fabbri 02/03/2015

Kolkata, India

Here are some pictures of people and places I have taken along the route of the
Grand Trunk Road during the past thirty years.

Street scene, Calcutta, India, 1996
Kolkata, India

Howrah Station, Calcutta, India, 1983 As the midday sun streams through the skylights, passengers wait for their trains. Like a movie frozen in time, one can almost hear the noise of people talking, walking, coughing and laughing, and the clatter and screech of the trains as they arrive and depart, the sounds echoing beneath the high ceilings. Howrah Station, Calcutta, India, 1983. Pg. 27, Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs Phaidon, Iconic Images, final book_iconic The Imperial Way_Book Untold_book The Great Railway Bazaar_Book
Howrah Station, Kolkata

Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India, 2000, INDIA-10299. MAX PRINT SIZE: 40x60 Candles are a form of offering at the Tibetan Prayer Festival, during which thousands are lit under the Bodi tree. India's Mahabodhi Temple is steps from where Siddhartha achieved enlightenment and became the Buddha. His Four Noble Truths: Life entails suffering; suffering arises from attachment to desires; suffering stops when attachment does; to transcend life's pain, follow the Eightfold Path. A key practice is meditation. Magnum Photos, NYC31844, MCS2000009K010 Garfinkel, Perry. (December 2005). Buddha Rising. National Geographic. Vol.208, No.6, 95 Tibetan prayer festival at the site of the Bodhi tree, where Budda achieved enlightenment, Bodh Gaya, India, 2000. Pg 218, Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs. The Path to Buddha_Book Untold_book final print_UrbanArt'12 final print_milan Fine Art Print Retouched_Sonny Fabbri 05/21/2014
Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India

 Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism all developed along the route,
and Muslims proclaimed their beliefs on their journeys along the road.

Man immersed in American consumerism, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India, 2000. Magnum Photos, NYC31911, MCS2003002 K019
Bihar, India

Woman in Alleyway Varanasi. INDIA-10906, Varanasi, India, 2010
Varanasi, India

Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, 1999, INDIA-10223NF. A man takes a drink of water from the river. final print_milan final print_Sao Paulo India_Book retouched_Sonny Fabbri 02/26/2015
Agra, India

“Look! Brahmins and chumars, bankers and tinkers,
barbers and bunnias, pilgrims – and potters – all the world going and coming.
It is to me as a river from which I am
withdrawn like a log after a flood.
And truly the Grand Trunk Road is a wonderful spectacle.
Such a river of life as no where else exists in the world.”
– Rudyard Kipling, Kim

00314_14, Dacca to Peshawar, Agra, India, 1983, INDIA-10711NF. People under a bridge with a passing train. The train is essential element of Indian life. For those unable to afford journey by plane, it offers an inexpensive way to travel throughout country. While working on his 'India by Rail' story for National Geographic Magazine, McCurry captured locals washing in the Yamuna River as a steam train passes by above. Phaidon, The Imperial Way, Iconic Images, final book_iconic National Geographic, June 1984, By Rail Across the Indian Subcontinent, Vol. 165, No. 6 The Imperial Way_Book India_Book retouched_Sonny Fabbri 02/25/2015
Bridge over Yamuna River near Agra, India

Two Monks at Red Fort, New Delhi, India, 1979 final print_milan final print_UrbanArt'12 retouched_Sonny Fabbri
Red Fort, Delhi, India

Allahabad, India, 1/2001, INDIA-10538. Hindu devotees walking towards Ganges during the Kumbha Mela Festival. retouched_Ekaterina Savtsova 9/11/2014
Kumbh Mela, Hindu Pilgrimage, Allahabad, India

Amritsar, Punjab, India, 1996, INDIA-10440. Man with spear and horse. NYC65119, MCS1996002 K267 retouched_Sonny Fabbri 03/27/2015Amritsar, India

Along the route of the GT there is a  struggle between secular
modernity and the conservatism of ancient religions.

Amritsar, India, 1996, INDIA-10201.These men are praying before the Ber Baba Buddha tree, under which Baba Buddha, one of the gurus of Sikhism, would sit and meditate. In the background can be seen the famous Golden Temple. There is a satisfying visual balance between the three men all engaged in the act of worship. National Geographic Magazine. Vol. 191, No. 7, pg. 54, May 1997, India: Fifty Years of Independence. Magnum Photos, NYC5925, MCS1996002 K031 Phaidon, South Southeast, Iconic Images, final book_iconic, iconic photographs The tranquil and peaceful site of the Golden Temple, also known as Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib, completed in 1601 in Amritsar, Punjab, as a pilgrimage center and most sacred temple for the Sikhs. Steve McCurry: Photographs of Asia. Boca Raton Museum of Art. 2004, 44.The Golden Temple in Amritsar serves as the spiritual center for the world's 20 million Sikhs.
Golden Temple, Sikh Holiest Place of Worship, Amritsar, India

 The Grand Trunk Road served as the two way escape route for
75 million refugees caught between Indian and Pakistan during Partition.

00313_20, Decca to Peshawar, 1983, Rawalpindi, Pakistan, PAKISTAN-10101. A woman in front a of a mural. retouched_Ekaterina Savtsova 03/21/2014Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Peshawar is strategically located at the crossroads of Central and South Asia

00063_10, Afghan border, Peshawar, Pakistan, 1984, PAKISTAN-10188. Quissa Khawani Bazaar, the Market of Storytellers, Peshawar, Pakistan, 1984. MAX PRINT SIZE: 40X60 MCS1984005K053, NYC134799 The Imperial Way_Book The Great Railway Bazaar_Book retouched_Sonny Fabbri 11/04/2014
Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

Prayers, Peshawar, Pakistan, 1984 In a scene that has changed little in hundreds of years, these men are facing west towards Mecca, performing the sunset prayer: Salt Al-Maghrib. As dusk falls over the region, the red glow spreads out from the mountains as the men's teacher delivers a lesson, 11/1984 Phaidon, Iconic Images, final book_iconic, page 64. Iconic_Book
Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

01580_08, Peshawar, Pakistan, 1997, PAKISTAN-10157. A woman carries a sewing machine. Retouched_Sonny Fabbri 08/01/2013
Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

00286_01, 01535_12, Landi Kotal, Pakistan, 1983, PAKISTAN-10006 Train engineer, Khyber Pass, Landi Kotal, Pakistan, 1983. Pg 45, Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs Portraits_Book The Imperial Way_Book PORTRAITS_book Untold_bookLandi Kotal, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Pakistan

AFGHN-10025 (1)
Near the Afghan/Pakistan border

02087_14_, Afghan Border, 12/1984, AFGHN-14245NF. Train of camels walk down road by Afghan Border. retouched_Ekaterina Savtsova 04/15/2015 Near the Afghan/Pakistan Border

02087_10, Afghan Border, 12/1984, AFGHN-14378. Crowded market in Afghanistan. retouched_Ekaterina Savtsova 04/15/2015
Near the Afghan/Pakistan border

AFGHN-13080NF2 (3)Village near Surobi, Afghanistan

Children work in an opium field in Badakhshan, which is Afghanistan's largest producer of opium, Badakhshan, northern Afghanistan, 1992, final print_milan In The Shadow of the Mountain_Book final print_MACRO'11 final print_Beetles and Huxley Retouched_Sonny Fabbri 03/18/2014

Jalalabad, Afghanistan, 1992, AFGHN-10225. Portrait of a man with cloudy beard. MAX PRINT SIZE: 30X40 final print_milan Portraits_Book In The Shadow of the Mountain_Book Looking East_Book PORTRAITS_book PORTRAITS_APP final print_Beetles and Huxley NYC9239, MCS1992006 K103 Retouched_Sonny Fabbri 02/05/2014 MAX PRINT SIZE: 30X40
Jalalabad, Nangahar Province, Afghanistan

AFGHN-12467NF, Kabul, Afghanistan, 2002, AFGHN-12467NF. Girl standing in the doorway of her home. This young girl lives in the ancient part of Kabul, which until the past decade was almost destroyed due to decades of war. Organizations like Turquoise Mountain (@TurquoiseMountain) are restoring parts of the old city, and are working to re-imagine and resurrect almost-forgotten crafts in order to provide people with skills which will enable them to have gainful employment. retouched_Sonny Fabbri 03/04/2015 Murad Khani, Kabul, Afghanistan

Kabul is over 3,500 years old; many empires have  invaded the valley for its
strategic location along the trade routes of Central and South Asia.

00113_18, Shia Mosque, Chindawal,Kabul, Afghanistan, 2002. AFGHN-12669. A woman in Afghanistan. retouched_Sonny Fabbri 7/15/2015
Chindawal, Kabul, Afghanistan

AFGHN-12691NF2 (2)Kabul, Afghanistan

Along this road, forged by conquerors and invaders,
the GT facilitated some of the most significant historical developments which still affect us today.

Everybody Has a Story

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


Kabul, Afghanistan


Sidon, Lebanon

Six billion of us walking the planet, six billion smaller worlds
on the bigger one. 

Six billion stories, every one an epic, full of tragedy and triumph,
good and evil, despair and hope.

– Dean Koontz


Baalbek, Lebanon

People are hungry for stories. It’s part of our very being.
Storytelling is a form of history, of immortality too.
It goes from one generation to another.
— Studs Terkel

LEBANON-10067, Lebanon, Druze Elders, 03/1982

Druze Elders, Lebanon

All human beings have an innate need to hear and tell stories and to have a story to live by.
-Harvey Cox


Rajasthan, India


Scientists who study the brain tell us that we are
hardwired for storytelling and
understanding the world through stories and metaphors.

FRANCE-10019, PËre Lachaise Cemetery, France, Political, 08/1988

Père Lachaise Cemetery, France



Shalimar Bagh, Kashmir


If history were taught in the form of stories,
it would never be forgotten

 – Rudyard Kipling


Maimana, Afghanistan

 …Without a story you have not got a nation, or culture, or civilization.
Without a story of your own, you haven’t got a life of your own.
—Laurens Van der Post


Poet Khalil Khoury, Iraq

People did not wait until there was writing before they told stories and sang songs.
— Albert Bates Lord


Golden Temple, Amritsar, India


Near Al Hudaydah, Yemen



Texas, USA

Their story, yours and mine — it’s what we all carry with us on this trip we take, and
we owe it to each other to respect our stories and learn from them.

— William Carlos Williams


Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, USA


Jimmy Swaggart, Louisiana



La Fortuna, Honduras

The universe is made of stories, not atoms.
— Muriel Rukeyser


Rajasthan, India


Flechtingen, Germany


Mike Wallace, 60 Minutes Interview, Beverly Hills Hotel, USA

We are lonesome animals.
We spend all of our life trying to be less lonesome.

One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say and to feel
‘Yes, that is the way it is, or at least that is the way I feel it.’

You’re not as alone as you thought.
— John Steinbeck

BRAZIL-10014NF8, Lavazza, Brazil, 08/2010



I will tell you something about stories, (he said)
They aren’t just entertainment.
Don’t be fooled.
They are all we have, you see,
All we have to fight off
illness and death
– Leslie Marmon Silko


Pristina, Kosovo


Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan

To be a person is to have a story to tell.
—Isak Dinesen


Vrindavan, India

Story behind the picture

The woman in the picture has been a widow for seventy years.
Her husband died when she was 14 years old.
Living in a community of widows since that time, she has made a living as one commissioned to pray for others.
After I made her picture, she invited me to join her for tea.
She spends her days in prayer for people who give her a few rupees.
She lives joyfully, and shows no sign of sorrow, self-pity, or resentment.


3-5 Swallow Street
London W1B 4DE
September 7 –October 15, 2011

2525 Michigan Ave #A1
Santa Monica, CA 90404
September 10 – December 1, 2011
735 Main Avenue
Durango, CO
September 9 – December 14, 2011
Houston, TX
September 17 – October 15, 2011
Museum of Contemporary Art
Rome, Italy
December 1, 2011 – April 29, 2012


The Great Game Changer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2010 by stevemccurry


Bamiyan province, Afghanistan, 2006

The “Great Game” a term popularized by Rudyard Kipling in his novel, Kim, to characterize the intense rivalry between the British Empire and the Russian Empire over dominance in Afghanistan and Central Asia,  seems particularly appropriate now that it has been revealed by the Pentagon that a trillion dollars worth of rare and valuable minerals deposits are in Afghanistan. But, this has not been a secret to many.  


Hindu Kush Mountains, Afghanistan

Miners search for emeralds Hindu Kush Mountains, Afghanistan, 1992

In January 1984 a report was published by the chief engineer of the Afghan Geological Survey Department about Soviet uranium mining in Afghanistan. It revealed that uranium production had begun after the discovery of deposits in 1983.

Soviet engineers were also said to be mining uranium  between Herat and Shindand, and also in  Kandahar province. The uranium projects were restricted to Soviet personnel in order to maintain secrecy and security. It is believed that all production was sent to the Soviet Union.

By 1985 Soviet surveys had also revealed potentially useful deposits of asbestos, nickel, mercury, lead, zinc, bauxite, lithium, and rubies. The Afghan government in the mid-1980’s was preparing to develop a number of these resources on a large scale with Soviet technical assistance. These efforts were directed primarily at the country’s large iron and copper reserves.

The iron ore deposits contained an estimated 1.7 billion tons of mixed hematite and magnetite, averaging 62 percent iron. These reserves, among the world’s largest, are located almost 4,000 meters up in the Hindu Kush,  in Bamiyan Province.

Source:  Illinois Institute of Technology

Charikar, Afghanistan, 2002, NYC65502, MCS2002002 K296final print_milan

Charikar, Afghaistan, 2002


Pul i Khumri, Afghanistan, 2002


Pul i Khumri, Afghanistan, 2002

A 2007  report by the USGS said most of the data on Afghanistan’s mineral resources was produced between the early 1950’s and 1985. The timing of the Pentagon’s announcement is interesting because  the findings on which the story was based are online and have been since 2007.



Pul I Khumri, Afghanistan, 2002


Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines has information on this website about mineral deposits in the country  .


Coal Miner, Pul-i-Kumri, Afghanistan, 2002

Pul i Khumri, Afghanistan, 2002

There is little doubt that the new version of the Great Game will include all the players during Kipling’s time, plus the U.S., China, India, and any other country who seeks an advantage in obtaining a slice of the Afghan pie.  There will be “invaders” waiting to pounce on any opportunity that presents itself.

We can only hope that the Afghan people who have suffered for decades, will get the benefits they so richly deserve.


Steve  McCurry with Coal Miners, Pul I Khumri, Afghanistan, 2002Pul i Khumri, Afghanistan, 2002



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 36,124 other followers