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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Afghan Girl

For collectors who might be interested, you can currently purchase a signed inkjet print of the famous Afghan Girl picture from the New York Times Store.

Steve McCurry's picture of Sharbat Gula originally appeared on the cover of National Geographic. A minor sensation was created, along with a television documentary, when Gula was found again after nearly twenty years and she graced the cover of National Geographic for a second time. (Fittingly, her identity was positively confirmed by using biometric matching on the irises of her eyes.) She is the inspiration for the National Geographic Society's Afghan Girls Fund, a charitable organization devoted to furthering the education of Afghan women.

The picture has continued to increase in fame and stature—National Geographic has called it the most recognized picture in the magazine's history—and it has become one of the iconic images of the era. If you can't quite afford the original, I've mentioned before that the best reproduction I've seen (suitable for framing, if you can abide bibliocide) can be found in Looking East.



Blogger clive said...

Nice idea, the price is a little beyond my budget though..............

10:21 AM  
Blogger JRA said...

I was very captivated when I first saw this picture (it was not in 1985, only a few years ago). I doubt it would be the same picture without the red shawl and green background and I never really noticed that until now but I'm sure Mr. McCurry knew that. The eyes are stunning but the shawl sets them off.

However, I must say that I enjoy the cover of Mr. McCurry's new book, "Looking East," even more than the green eyed woman. There is something very captivating about that young girl but I cannot put it into words. I typically do not enjoy pictures or even paintings of people, but I am totally fascinated by that photo and it makes me very happy to look at it. I wonder if Mr. McCurry and his publisher feel the same way about it and that is why it graces the cover rather than his more famous work.

I may make that book the first coffee table book I ever buy because if the rest of the book instills the same feelings in me as the cover, I may have a new found appreciation for the art of the portrait. I once saw a calendar of photos of people from the Himalayas that I thought was really the first time I enjoyed photos of people. Thinking on it now it may have been done by Mr. McCurry.

I cannot even come close to affording the print, but without this site I would never have seen the book. Thanks, Mike! I'll keep reading the site even though I get too many ideas in my head and I should just go out and practice!

11:59 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

"I once saw a calendar of photos of people from the Himalayas that I thought was really the first time I enjoyed photos of people. Thinking on it now it may have been done by Mr. McCurry."

Might also have been Phil Borges (


2:05 PM  
Blogger Andy Smith said...

I purchased Looking East on Mike's recommendation via this site, and it's a great price and value. (And also a very pleasing size.)

If the print is beyond financial reach, you'll greatly value the book.

(Amazon has it for $27.00 U.S. as of the time of this post.)


4:21 PM  
Blogger stephen best said...

Am I the only that's heartily sick of this image? She's even on the cover of one of Gardiner's Bach Canatas discs. Enough already!

6:33 PM  
Blogger JRA said...

It's funny- I went to Steve McMurray's website and saw the cover photo for "Looking East" and it is not as captivating to me larger, but it's still a great picture of a unique and interesting people. I think the smaller view in the margin here is harder to see and this makes the photo seem more mysterious and intriguing. This only highlights the point above:
Go get an easel or tackboard.

Mike, thanks for the link to Phil Borges. I don't think it was his calendar but his portraits of these races is very interesting. You do not hear much about them and their ways of life are dying out. "When civilisation falls in its grave, technology throws on the dirt." - Bob Mould

9:00 AM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

That photo, which I already have signed and framed in my living room, is what made my bail from my path as an engineer and decide to become a photojournalist.

20+ years later, I am so glad that I did.

David Hobby

4:49 PM  

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