The Universal Language


A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.
– William Arthur Ward



A smile is the universal welcome.
– Max Eastman




A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles.
– Washington Irving

INDIA-10004NF  An Indian tailor caught in the monsoon floodwaters in
Porbandar, India

Look back, and smile on perils past.
– Sir Walter Scott


The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.  
– William Shakespeare, Othello

KASHMIR-10017 (1)Kashmir

00093_08. Mother and Daughter in Afghanistan, 2003, AFGHN-12678NFAfghanistan


Every smile makes you a day younger.
– Chinese Proverb


Laughter is day, and sobriety is night;
a smile is the twilight that hovers gently between both, more bewitching than either.
– Henry Ward Beecher

China, 1984, final book_iconicChina


TIBET-10069 Tibet

EUROPE-10072, Berlin, Germany, 1988, GERMANY-10059Celebration in Berlin, Germany

Peace begins with a smile.
– Mother Teresa

AFGHN-13293, Afghanistan, 1984. A man holds a baby.Afghanistan


The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress,
and grows brave by reflection.
– Thomas Paine

_SM16823, Myanmar, Burma, 02/2011, BURMA-10289NFBurma

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but
sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.
– Thich Nhat Hanh


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.