Archive for sri lanka

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

Family Table

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2013 by stevemccurry

The family is the nucleus of civilization.
– Will Durant

ITALY-15021 (1)Perugia, Italy

Researchers have confirmed what parents have known for a long time;
sharing a family meal is good for the spirit,
the brain and the health of all family members.

– Anne Fishel, Ph.D.

01062_ 018, India 50 years after 10/96, INDIA-11301NFIndia

In family life, love is the oil that eases friction,
the cement that binds closer together, and
the music that brings harmony.
– Eva Burrows

VIETNAM-10031Viet Tri City, Vietnam


There is no better classroom
than the family table.
– Kaye Earle

TIBET-10522, 1999, KhamTibet


Other things may change us,
but we start and end with the family.  

– Anthony Brandt

SRILANKA-10167 Sri Lanka


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


INDONESIA-10016 Indonesia during monsoon season

You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you,
but at the same time you carry them with you
in your heart, your mind, your stomach,

because you do not just live in a world.
A world lives in you. 

– Frederick Buechner




Our family dinner table was like Speakers’ Corner in London.  
We  discussed, debated, argued, declaimed –
all of us at the same time.
– E. Thomson Earl

YUGOSLAVIA-10123_es (1)Hungary


It is not until much later, as the skin sags and the heart weakens,
that children understand;
their stories, and all their accomplishments,

sit atop the stories of their mothers and fathers,
stones upon stones, beneath the waters of their lives.
– Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven


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Threshold of the New

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2013 by stevemccurry

INDIA-10742NF Maqbool Fida Husain, in his studio
Mumbai, India

Stronger by weakness, wiser men become
As they draw near to their eternal home.
Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view
That stand upon the threshold of the new.
– Edmund Waller


USA-10797United States

The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes. 
– Frank Lloyd Wright

00406_04, 05/2001, TibetTibet

To me, old age is always fifteen years older than I am.
– Francis Bacon

ETHIOPIA-10285Member of the Suri tribe, Ethiopia


As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say.
I just watch what they do.
Andrew Carnegie

_SM18476_adj, Cuba, 2010, LATIN_AMERICA-10145Cuba

BRAZIL-10030NF2, Lavazza, Brazil, 08/2010,Brazil


Old age, believe me, is a good and pleasant thing.
It is true you are gently shouldered off the stage,
but then you are given such a comfortable front stall as spectator.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



Old age hath yet his honour and his toil.
– Alfred Lord Tennyson

SRILANKA-10086, Sri Lanka, 10/1995Sri Lanka



None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.
– Henry David Thoreau



Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.
– Garson Kanin 


The years teach much which the days never knew.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

To Change the World

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2013 by stevemccurry

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use
to change the world.

– Nelson Mandela


AFGHN-13707 (2)Afghanistan

The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.
– Plutarch

BURMA-10168 (1)Burma

There is divine beauty in learning …
– Elie Wiesel

Kegalla, Sri Lanka, 1995Sri Lanka

DSC_0749_kd (1)Omo Valley, Ethiopia

All I have learned, I learned from books.
– Abraham Lincoln


Learning is not attained by chance;
it must be sought for with
ardor and attended to with diligence.
– Abigail Adams


We think of the effective teachers we have had over the years
with a sense of recognition, but those who have touched our humanity
we remember with a deep sense of gratitude.


 The secret in education lies in respecting the student.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson 

MALI-10028NF Mali


TIBET-10573NF2Kandze, Tibet

Only the educated are free.
– Epictetus


Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the
medium is the human mind and spirit.
– John Steinbeck

SRILANKA-10065Sri Lanka


UNITED_ARAB_EMIRATES-10005Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

My real education, the superstructure, the details, the true architecture,
I got out of the library. For an impoverished child whose family could
not afford to buy books, the library was the open door to wonder and
achievement, and I can never be sufficiently grateful that I had the wit to
charge through that door and make the most of it
– Isaac Asimov

AFGHN-13831 (1)Bamiyan, Afghanistan

PAKISTAN-10075Baluchistan, Pakistan

I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money.
When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money.
I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.
– Ray Bradbury

INDIA-12155 (2)India

The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


INDIA-10840Ladakh, India



Interview with the Wall Street Journal

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To Fly

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2012 by stevemccurry

To read is to fly:
it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view
over  wide terrains of history,

human variety, ideas, shared experience and the
fruits of many inquiries.

– A. C. Grayling

Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road.
They are the destination, and the journey.
They are home.
– Anna Quindlen



Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something,
learned something, become a better person.
Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on…
Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.
– Nora Ephron


Everywhere I go in the world, I see young and old, rich and poor, reading books.  

Whether readers are engaged in the sacred or the secular, they are, for a time,
transported to  another world.



Reading a good book is a universal activity, and people read while they do
just about everything else, and that includes reading while playing the
piano, which my sister used to do.

Sri Lanka

At one magical instant in your early childhood,
the page of a book–that string of confused, alien ciphers–shivered into meaning.
Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened.
You became, irrevocably, a reader.
– Alberto Manguel


Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly,
into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.
– Joyce Carol Oates

Lourdes, France

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends;

they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the
most patient of teachers. 
– Charles William Eliot


Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind.
– James Russell Lowell


We read to know we are not alone. 
– C.S. Lewis


I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.
– Jorge Luis Borges


Books, I found, had the power to make time stand still,
retreat or fly into the future.
– Jim Bishop


That’s what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book,

and that tiny thing will lead you to another book, and another bit there will
lead you onto a third book. It’s geometrically progressive
– all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.
― Mary Ann Shaffer, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society




We live for books.
-Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose 




To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.
– Victor Hugo



I’m old-fashioned and think that reading books is the
most glorious pastime that humankind has yet devised.
– Wisława Szymborska
1996 Nobel Prize in Literature




The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.
– Rene Descartes

Right as Rain

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2012 by stevemccurry

During the year I shot the monsoon assignment, I learned to see it as a critically important event, 
and not the disaster it had first seemed to my Western eyes.
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.

Varanasi, India 

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s annual monsoon rains have arrived at the southern Kerala coast,
a top weather official said on Tuesday, brightening prospects of higher farm output by aiding
farmers to plant summer-sown crops such as rice, soybean and cotton on time.
June 6, 2012

Goa, India

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


For half the world’s people, good monsoons, those rain-bearing winds of
Asia and the Subcontinent, 
 mean life and prosperity.
Poor ones are marked by famine and death.


The rains fall on one horn of the buffalo, and not on the other.
-Indian Proverb

Kabul, Afghanistan

Java, Indonesia


Northern Territory, Australia

Tokyo, Japan


It is no use to grumble and complain; It’s just as cheap and easy to rejoice.
When God sorts out the weather and sends rain – Why, rain’s my choice.
– James Whitcomb Riley

Sri Lanka



The drops of rain make a hole in the stone, not by violence, but by oft falling.
– Lucretius

Porbandar, India


Dalit women cleaning streets, Mumbai, India


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


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

Bojonegoro, Java, Indonesia

Monsoon Festival, India

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

Two men try to cross a monsoon swollen river after the bridge was swept away, Goa, India

The Firmest Friend

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2011 by stevemccurry

 The poor dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend.
– Lord Byron


Johannesburg, South Africa


Dogs are our link to paradise.
They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent.
To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be
back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring.

It was peace.
– Milan Kundera






Kham, Eastern Tibet



Varanasi, India

The dog … is the god of frolic.
– Henry Ward Beecher


Angkor, Cambodia


New Delhi, India



Kabul, Afghanistan

With eye upraised his master’s look to scan,
The joy, the solace, and the aid of man:
The rich man’s guardian and the poor man’s friend,
The only creature faithful to the end.
– George Crabbe


Porbandar, India

The bond with a true dog is as lasting as the ties of this earth will ever be.
– Konrad Lorenz


Bagan, Burma


ITALY-10089, Rome, Italy, 10/1994,

Rome, Italy

I read the Odyssey because it was the story of a man who
returned home after being absent for more than twenty years
and was recognized only by his dog.

– Guillermo C. Infante

FRANCE-10028, France, 1989

Marseille, France






If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have
known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.
– James Thurber


Texas, USA

Histories are more full of the examples
of the fidelity of dogs than of friends.
– Alexander Pope






Jaipur, India

All knowledge, the totality of all questions and answers,
is contained in the dog.
Franz Kafka, Investigations of the Dog


Near Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka



Rome, Italy


California, USA

The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in
this selfish world, the one that never deserts him,
the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog.
– George Graham



If you think you’re a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else’s dog around.
–  Cowboy Wisdom


Gruffy, our family dog, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania

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