Eloquence of the Eye

Sanaa, Yemen

The soul has an interpreter – often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter – in the eye.
– Charlotte Bronte

The eyes have one language everywhere.
– Proverb


PAKISTAN-10029Peshawar, Pakistan

The eye is the jewel of the body.
– Henry David Thoreau

AFGRL-10001Peshawar, Pakistan

Almost nothing need be said when you have eyes.
 – Tarjei Vesaas, Norwegian Poet

ETHIOPIA-10082NF2Omo Valley, Ethiopia

The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me;
my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.
– Meister Eckhart,  1259 – 1327

AFGHN-10242Girl in Kandahar orphanage, Afghanistan

These eyes tell the stories of children around the world.
They speak of war, deprivation, and loss.

INDIA-11525Rajasthan, India

ITALY-10427NF2Umbria, Italy

From women’s eyes this doctrine I derive:
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain and nourish all the world.
 William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost

INDIA-11034Rajasthan, India

The eyes indicate the antiquity of the soul.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

INDIA-11025Rajasthan, India

There is a road from the eye to heart that does not go through the intellect.
– G. K. Chesterton

TIBET-10009Lhasa, Tibet

AFGHN-10222Nuristan Province, Afghanistan

The eyes speak of things we dare not say.

Boy covered in red powder participates in the Festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, marking the birthday of the elephant headed deity Lord Ganesh, son of Lord Shiva and Parvati, and one of Hinduism's most popular deities. Praying to Ganesh during the festival isIndia

BURMA-10069Bagan, Burma



The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.
-Henri Bergson


The eyes are the most powerful social signalers that we have and hence are
sometimes called the windows of the soul.
– Glen Wilson


The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intentions.
– Marcus Tullius Cicero, 106 – 43 BCE

KASHMIR-10057Srinagar, Kashmir

Eyes are more accurate witnesses than ears.
– Heraclitus of Ephesus, 535 – c. 475 BCE

BURMA-10141NF2Yangon, Burma

MALAYSIA-10014United States

FRANCE-10058NFLourdes, France

Could a greater miracle take place than for us to
look through each other’s eyes for an instant?
– Henry David Thoreau


Eyes have their own universal language, and no
interpreter is needed.

PAKISTAN-10004Afghan refugee in Baluchistan, Pakistan


The eyes can do a thousand things that fingers can not.
– Persian Proverb


Please visit our website:  http://www.stevemccurry.com



PORTRAITS by Steve McCurry

About the author

Steve McCurry has been a one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography for more than 30 years, with scores of magazine and book covers, over a dozen books, and countless exhibitions around the world to his name.

Born in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; McCurry studied film at Pennsylvania State University, before going on to work for a local newspaper. After several years of freelance work, McCurry made his first of what would become many trips to India. Traveling with little more than a bag of clothes and another of film, he made his way across the subcontinent, exploring the country with his camera.

It was after several months of travel that he found himself crossing the border into Pakistan. There, he met a group of refugees from Afghanistan, who smuggled him across the border into their country, just as the Russian Invasion was closing the country to all western journalists. Emerging in traditional dress, with full beard and weather-worn features after weeks embedded with the Mujahideen, McCurry brought the world the first images of the conflict in Afghanistan, putting a human face to the issue on every masthead.

Since then, McCurry has gone on to create stunning images over six continents and countless countries. His work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture alike - yet always retains the human element that made his celebrated image of the Afghan Girl such a powerful image.

McCurry has been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards in the industry, including the Robert Capa Gold Medal, National Press Photographers Award, and an unprecedented four first prize awards from the World Press Photo contest, to name a few.