We all know photographer Steve McCurry for his portrait of Sharbat Gula aka the Afghan Girl. In 2016, Steve McCurry proved images and words could go hand in hand to help a great cause. Sharbat was arrested on October 2016 at the border of Pakistan and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. As soon as he heard the news, he used his Instagram to call people to help her and inform the world about her situation. I found his action absolutely beautiful because it revealed a photographer does more than stealing a moment with his camera.
Though I’ve always loved this image, this story made me look at this work with a different eye. Since then, I am carefully checking his Instagram reading each caption. Each time I am feeling Steve McCurry is offering me the opportunity to be more curious. To be honest I don’t anything about the countries he went to. So, I use his Instagram as a place to look at realities I would not look at if not for him.
Today’s picture is part of these images that moved me. I find amazing how he introduces the viewer to this scene describing it as ‘tea time’. Scrolling on Steve’s Instagram I’ve read captions on pictures saying Afghan people valued hospitality and tea was part of it. So to see this scary firearm on the first plan is a contradiction. Yet, you feel it’s a family moment between this father and daughter because of how this litte girl is gently leaning against her dad. To me this picture depicts this tension between a short moment of peacefulness and the ruthless daily life of Afghan people.
I will be posting my favourite pictures of Steve McCurry today and tomorrow so be sure to follow me on Instagram! And bonus, here’s the story behind the Afghan Girl picture as well as an interview of Steve McCurry.