Author Archives: Steve McCurry

Monsoon

Rajasthan, 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. Bihar, India I was eleven years old when I saw a photo essay on the monsoon in India in Life Magazine by Brian Brake, the New Zealand-born Magnum photographer. His work established his reputation as a master color photo essayist. Twenty years later, I proposed a story to National Geographic to photograph the monsoon. Worli, India Bombay/Mumbai, India Porbandar, India Australia Monsoon History by Shirley Geok-lin Lim The air is wet, soaks into mattresses, and…

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One Magical Instant

At one magical instant 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, irerevocably, a reader. – Alberto Manguel Hong Kong To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark. – Victor Hugo Katmandu, Nepal 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…

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Kaleidoscope

India The world is your kaleidoscope, and the varying combinations of colors which at every succeeding moment are the exquisitely adjusted pictures of your ever-moving thoughts. – James Allen Afghanistan Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No. – Pablo Picasso Afghanistan Tibet India The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most. – John Ruskin Tibet Niger Our days are a kaleidoscope. Every instant a change takes place in the contents. New harmonies, new contrasts, new combinations of every sort… The most familiar people stand each…

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COLORS OF ETHIOPIA

Ours Time-old Highland of highlands Ancient Where all history ends Where all rainbows meet… Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin Poet Laureate of Ethiopia 1936 – 2006 I knew that the English regarded themselves as civilized,   but it seemed to me that in many ways Ethiopia was a far more civilized place. Catherine Hamlin, M.D. in The Hospital by the River : A Story Of Hope Founder with her husband of Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital  Ethiopia confounds every expectation.  You arrive expecting a vast featureless desert and instead find yourself overwhelmed by majestic landscapes and climatic abundance. Ethiopia is a true revelation. It is…

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Colors of Cuba

Cuba is tempting and provocative – full of contradictions and not always easy to understand. It is a country full of culture, music, history and passion. – Selected Moments Prepare yourself to be shocked, perplexed, confounded and amazed. Cuba is a country with no historical precedents: economically poor, but culturally rich; visibly mildewed, but architecturally magnificent; infuriating, yet at the same time, strangely uplifting. Following quotes by Brendan Sainsbury, Lonely Planet If the country were a book, it would be James Joyce’s Ulysses; layered, hard to grasp, serially misunderstood, but – above all – a classic. I love Cuba because…

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Colors of Afghanistan

  “A landscape might be denuded, a human settlement abandoned or lost, but always, just beneath the ground lies history of preposterous grandeur. . . They are everywhere, these individuals of undaunted humankind, irrepressibly optimistic and proud. – The Carpet Wars, Christopher Kremmer  Band-e-Amir  Kabul If my heart trembles for Kabul, it’s for the slow step of summer noons, siestas in my father’s house which, heavy with mid-day sleep, still weighs on my ribs… It’s for the hawker’s cry of the vegetable seller doing his rounds, lost in my neighbours’ troubled dreams, that my heart’s trembling. – Shakila Azizzda  Bamiyan Pul-e-Khumri  Yet even at…

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