The Life of Things


While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.
– William Wordsworth,
Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey

_SM19701, Myanmar/Burma, BURMA-10484Burma

_SM13955, Rome, Italy, 05/23/2011Italy




Portraits often seem pregnant with speech, or as if their subjects have just finished saying something,
or will soon speak the thoughts that inform their faces, the thoughts we’re invited to read.
Landscapes are full of presences, visible or unseen; soon nymphs or a stag or a
band of hikers will make themselves heard.


But no word will ever be spoken here, among the flowers and snails,
the solid and dependable apples,
this heap of rumpled books,
this pewter plate on which a few opened oysters lie, giving up their silver.

_DSC9141, India, 2007. INDIA-11923NF. A clay monkey diety in India.India

These are resolutely still, immutable, poised for a forward movement that will never occur.
The brink upon which still life rests is the brink of time, the edge of something about to happen.
Everything that we know crosses this lip, over and over,
like water over the edge of a fall, as what might happen does,
as any of the endless variations of what might come true does so,
and things fall into being,
tumble through the progression of existing in time.

BURMA-10178, Schwedagon, Yangon, Burma, February, 2010Burma

But the still life resides in absolute silence.
― Mark Doty, Still Life with Oysters and Lemon: On Objects and Intimacy


Laos, 2004, Phaidon, Iconic Images, final book_iconicLaos

Cinecitta, Italy, 07/2011, _SM18778Italy

_SM15987, Havana, Cuba, 2010, CUBA-10021final print_UrbanArt'12Cuba

_SM19448; Myanmar/Burma; BURMA-10483Burma

_SM16798, myanmar, burma, 02/2011, BURMA-10312Burma

_2SM2652; India; 04/2012; INDIA-11987. A dog sleeps.retouched_Sam SchubertIndia


_SM13459, Rome; Italy; 05/2011;Italy


Still Life
Cool your heels on the rail of an observation car.
Let the engineer open her up for ninety miles an hour.
Take in the prairie right and left, rolling land and new hay crops, swaths of new hay laid in the sun.
A gray village flecks by and the horses hitched in front of the post-office never blink an eye.
A barnyard and fifteen Holstein cows, dabs of white on a black wall map, never blink an eye.
A signalman in a tower, the outpost of Kansas City, keeps his place at a window with the
serenity of a bronze statue on a dark night when lovers pass whispering.
– Carl Sandburg

USA-10298Kansas, United States





Still Life
Sublime, serene
Found arrangements
Formal compositions.
Which is which?

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.