Steve McCurry: gorgeous photographs of people reading around the world.

Photojournalist Steve McCurry is best known for shooting one of the most famous photographs ever taken -– 1985′s “Afghan Girl,” an image of a young girl with sea green eyes staring defiantly into the camera. But war and those affected by it are not his only subjects. “Like most photographers, I’m fascinated by people in everyday situations,” he says. “The work I do is mostly wandering and observing human nature and human activity, working and playing and leisure time. As you’re walking around the streets of China, India, New York, whererver -– it is fun to photograph people simply doing things.”

One of his ongoing projects is compiling a collection of photos of people reading, entitled “Fusion: The Synergy of Energy and Words” (Part I and Part II). The idea to shoot photos of people reading was itself prompted by his relationship with legendary Hungarian photographer André Kertész, who was also fascinated with images of people reading. (You can view a gallery here).

McCurry’s photos cross these cultural and socioeconomic boundaries. His personal favorite of his collection is a photo of a young Thai man reading a book while nestled up to the back of an elephant, shot earlier this year (and reproduced below). Among the two dozen images posted online is  photo of a group of Chinese men perusing newspapers through a shop window, another of  an Afghan shopkeeper reading in his modest stall, and one Italian monks in contemplation with their Bibles.

As a photographer, McCurry is always on the hunt for the “unguarded moment,” that slice of time that reveals something personal and honest. “Reading offers a time for contemplation. Even in Afghanistan, where life is not easy, you notice people in unlikley circumstances reading,” he says. “I have a picture of a man in a manhole (below) -– he was using it as a bomb shelter between air raids — who was reading the book. Reading is something any literate person is drawn to do and it becomes a part of your life. It’s just one of the things that connects us all together, that reminds us that we’re all the same.”

***

Thailand

THAILAND-10033_3

Afghanistan

00418_05. Man reads a book from a hole in the ground.

Al Hudaydah, Yemen

Yemen-10072, Yemen, 04/1997, Father and Daughter Reading a book

Jaipur, India

INDIA-10629_0

Kabul, Afghanistan

kabul AFGHN-12135NF

India

india_DSC9015

Kuwait

KUWAIT-10043

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

INDIA-10683

Tibet

Young monks study Buddhist scripture at a monastery in Lithang, Tibet, 1999.

Yemen

YEMEN-10071_1

Yangon, Myanmar/Burma

Yangon, Burma, February 2010

Rieti, Italy

ITALY-10032, Rieti, Italy, 2006

Chiang Mai, Thailand

CHIANG MAI THAILAND

Havana, Cuba

_SM16249, Havana, Cuba, 12/3/2010, CUBA-10025

Siem Reap, Cambodia

1347465_1, cambodia, 1999

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

kuala lumpur MALAYSIA-10012NF3-kd

Rome, Italy

00472_20, Rome, Italy, 1984, EUROPE-10056NF, ITALY-10041NF

Kandahar, Afghanistan

AFGHN-10118

Aranyaprathet, Thailand

THAILAND-10002_0

Beijing, China

00045_ 13. Two boys looking at a Book.

Shanghai, China

An elderly man reads a posting of the newspaper, China, 04/1989

Rangoon, Myanmar/Burma

BURMA-10039NF

Mumbai, India

Bombay, India, 2010, _DSC7650, INDIA-11051

Camino, Italy

_SM15670, Italy, 2011

Yugoslavia

00038_ 18,Yugoslavia

Sri Lanka

0064648_ 039

Nova Scotia, Canada

00270_17, Gampo Abbey, Nova Scotia, Canada, Footsteps of Buddha, 2005

Pushkar, India

Pushkar india_2SM2809_kate

Venice, Italy

_SM10119, Venice, Italy, 03/2011, ITALY-10186

Kabul, Afghanistan

AFGHN-12534

Sri Lanka

Three novice monks study their books by a tree, Sri Lanka, 08/1995

Thailand

THAILAND-10147

Kashmir

KASHMIR-10164, 01149_07, Kashmir, 10/1998

Lombari, Brazil

BRAZIL-10011, Lombari, Brazil, 2010

Rome, Italy

00991_08; Rome; Italy; 05/1990

India

india 01574_19_kate_DUSTED_2_reading

Seoul, Korea

seoul KOREA-10019NF

Sri Lanka

SRILANKA-10087, Sri Lanka, 12/1995

Turkey

TURKEY 00

Hazara, Afghanistan

00728_128, Hazara, Afghanistan, AFGHN-13120

India

INDIA-10204_2

Lourdes, France

FRANCE-10049, Lourdes, France, 09/1989

China

01150_ 031

Bangalore, India

bangalore INDIA-11613

Umbria, Italy

umbria ITALY-10406

?

_DSC9022_kd_0

Afghanistan

AFGHN-13093; Afghanistan, 06/1992

Mandalay, Myanmar, Burma

Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma) _DSC8410_sf_0

Japan

JAPAN-10131NF2

Istanbul, Turkey

istanbul turkey _SM16920

Rome, Italy

01101_08, Rome, Italy, 05/1990

India

india _2SM2631_kate_reading

Kuwait

00404_02

Bamiyan, Afghanistan

00242_11, Bamiyan, Afghanistan 2006

Venice, Italy

venice ITALY-10342

Afghanistan

AFGHN-12959-kd_0

Burma

burma_DSC8044_kd

Angkor Thom

CAMBODIA-10124

Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

INDIA-11552, 20080226_jaipur_0010-137, Jaipur, India, Rajasthan

Rome, Italy

rome italy 01094_19_dusted

Afghanistan

00413_ 042

Burma

burma_DSC9208_kd

Spoleto, Italy

_SM14733; Spoleto; Italy; 07/2011, ITALY-10285

Arthur C. Clarke, Colombo, Sri Lanka

00640_08, Arthur Clarke, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 12/1995, SRILANKA-10156NF

Kabul, Afghanistan (random nice fact: the painting in the background takes inspiration from McCurry’s “Afghan Girl”)

AFGHN-12359

Part II coming soon! (:

About these ads
Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 181 Comments

Post navigation

181 thoughts on “Steve McCurry: gorgeous photographs of people reading around the world.

  1. Found you on Pinterest. Love these photos!!

    • Thank you, Vickie! :) Your comment put a biiiiiig smile on my face! How can I find you on Pinterest?

  2. Glenda Robertson

    So, so enjoyable. . . Reminded me f my travels in some of those places

    • Seeing these beautiful places and meeting these absolutely gorgeous people… is seems like a once in a lifetime experience. I am really jealous of your travels! :)

  3. Pingback: Beautiful Photos of People Around the World Reading | daily dot | bigger dot's blog

  4. Pingback: Beautiful Photos of People Around the World Reading | bigger dot

    • Thank you for the reblog! :)

      • Thanks for your article! We loved it :)

      • Thank you for taking the time to let me know, you just made my entire evening! :)
        I’m glad you liked it!

        PS: “we”?

      • Sorry, my WP messed the way I see the comments… again.
        I didn’t realize your comment was a reply to smth I said. Sorry again! :) And thanks.

  5. Diane

    Thank you. !!!!!! :)

  6. Beautiful photos. The one with a question mark… it looks like Burma. I’m pretty sure the writing on the wall is Burmese.

  7. Bobbiesue

    That just sent pure joy through my whole being!!!!!

  8. Cheryl Rebello

    Soul satisfying! What pure thrill to see these images of people reading. Thank you

  9. Pingback: Nov. 1st, 2013 « Tikkunista!

  10. Wonderful pictures – so enjoyed them.

  11. Reblogged this on JUTHAS and commented:
    Emotional and Stunning pictures

  12. Lovely images. Thanks.

  13. SNS

    Lovely! And so inspiring too.

    • That’s what I thought, too! :) Thank you for taking the time to tell me; so glad you liked them! :)

  14. Hihi… this is awesome.. My bestfriend doubt his photographer’s skill but once i share the link to him. He quick response saying ‘he’s on’… your photos inspired him. Thank you

    • Hi Kim –
      Hehe, I’m so glad you convinced your best friend that (our) Steve McCurrys is an awesome and really inspiring photographer! :)
      And you shouldn’t be thanking me, I should be thanking YOU, because you shared this lovely story with me! So… thank you! :)

  15. John Mugo

    Wao, really nice photos. No reading from Africa?

    • Hi John — :)
      I absolutely loooove Africa and I wish I could have find some photos of beautiful African people reading, but I couldn’t find any. :(
      …but the fact that I didn’t find them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. As far as I can remember he took many photos in Africa, too. :)

  16. manju mahima

    thank u so much for sharing these pics. very nice & inspiring for new generation who avoids reading.

    • Thank you for taking the time to let me know that you enjoyed them, so glad you did! :) And I totally agree, the new generation needs this kind of role models, too: photographers, writers etc.

  17. Vashisth

    Awesome pics !! Never knew such beautiful pics can be taken on this topic !! GREAT WORK !!

    • I know!!! I totally agree! :) He’s a very talented photographer and one of my personal favourites! :)

  18. Reblogged this on alonejoker and commented:
    Awesome Pics !!

  19. Pingback: On reading everywhere | 1001 Children's Books

  20. Excellent work !

  21. Pingback: The TBR List: November 8 | PAPER/PLATES

  22. Radika Iyer

    i especially love the one from Al Hudaydah, Yemen it is amazingly gorgeous and i so envy you for being physically present in each of these beautiful places and witnessing the magic..i feel connected even though i havent even heard of half of the places mentioned!!Gripping!!YOLO

    • The one from Al Hudaydah, Yemen is also my personal favourite! :)
      But these are not my photos, I didn’t take them, I just posted them. They belong to Steve McCurry. I am a huge fan of his work and I (too) envy him for being physically present in each of these beautiful places and for getting to know each of these wonderful people. :)

  23. Thank you, this was such a pleasure to watch. Loved the stone fairy from Italy and the one from India, inside the train carriage.

    • No, thank you for taking the time to write this beautiful comment! :)
      I (too) love the one from Italy and the one from India. In fact, I love them all, they are all stunningly beautiful. I’m glad you liked them! :)

  24. Reblogged this on Experiencing Understanding Imbibing and commented:
    A book-reader? check out these stunning pictures of people reading around the world.

  25. lovely photos thank you.

  26. Mireletion

    Yugoslavia? Really? So much for not being culturally ignorant.

    • :)
      The one from Yugoslavia is really nice, to me it’s a lovely reminder that reading (among other things) can (also) be a beautiful escape. :)

  27. Susan Schwartz

    Love it – especially the Afghan girls reading, and all the newspaper readers. It gives me hope for the future!

    • My thoughts exactly!
      Those who say that books and newspapers will be replaced by tablets, e-books & Co. are wrong. These photos prove them wrong!
      …and the Afghan girls are beautiful, I love them, too. :)
      Thank you! :)

  28. Impeccably beautiful.. Lovely captures. Powerful picture the last one . Feminism at a whole new level.

    • True, the last one is amazingly beautiful. :) Such a powerful picture and message.
      I guess that’s why I love him so much (the photographer, I mean) – because all of his photos are like that: both beautiful and full of meaning.

  29. Astonishingly beautiful :) Terribly brilliant work, especially the last one and the father-son one from Kandahar, Afghanistan. Humbled by your talent of photography used to great positive effect.

    Thank you :)

    • (I’d wish, but) these are not my photos, they belong to Steve McCurry, a very, very, VERY talented photographer.
      I can only take credit for finding and putting them together. :)
      …and hank YOU for taking the time to write your beautiful comment, I’m always happy to discover people who can appreciate the amazingly brilliant Steve McCurry. :)

  30. Reblogged this on fr3lancer and commented:
    Astonishingly beautiful :) Terribly brilliant work, especially the last one and the father-son one from Kandahar, Afghanistan.

  31. Rashmi

    Thanks so much…

  32. titli

    loved it… :)

  33. Reblogged this on Joy Beyond The Walls and commented:
    This photographer took amazing pictures of people reading all over the world. So great.

  34. The best of all….a book

    • True. No matter how many Kindles and/or computers there are out there, people will always love books. :)

  35. Ritu

    Simply Lovely! Its very reaffirming and inspiring- I needed to see this one today of all days!!! really enjoyed it

  36. All the posted pictures and supporting texts are top class. I rate these postings 5*****

  37. Namraa

    Amazing pictures! i love people who read ;)
    And i really admire that you take the time (and the effort) to reply to each and every comment posted on your blog. That’s rare :)

    • Hi, Namraa –

      I love people who read, too! And published words. And the smell of books.

      Hehe, you put a biiiiig smile on my face, thank you! But I’d like to think (or hope?) that it’s not that rare to come across people who love to reply to each and every comment. I mean, to me, answering blog comments is like meeting new friends. :) This is how it should be, right? And – here’s a little secret – I usually look forward to responding to comments and engaging in conversation more than writing the actual posts. :P

      So, do you have a blog? Share it below and let everyone know about you. I’d love to check it out. :)

      • Namrata

        heheh..ok so i misspelled my name…its Namrata!

        Ya, i know…reading comments and replying to them seems to be the best part of a blog, but i (sadly) dont see many people do it…can’t understand why…

        No, i dont have a blog (yet) (and ashamed, as i want to start one for a long time now)

        So your comment, and your blog inspires me to start one…i hope to start one today…will share the first entry with you :)

      • Haha, don’t worry, I also misspell my name all the time, with soooo maaaaaany variations.
        …and just for you to know, your mom and dad have given you the most original and beautiful name I’ve heard in a while!
        PS: I dare-dare-dare-dare you to start that blog today.
        Here it’s 7:30 PM, so you still have a few hours until midnight. :P

      • Couldn’t reply on your last post, due to some technical illiteracy on my part!
        but, i read ur message too late, well past hte deadline ;)

        actually, i had started with the blog a while back (only with a title) but foudn wordpress too complicated to figure…so figuring it out, right at this moment :)

      • No, no, no, no, you can’t escape. New dare: I dare you to write your first blog post. :P

      • Hey, so i started my blog a while back. And credited you in my first post too :)

        It’s not much, just little notes..do check out some time…

        http://www.littlenotesthatinspire.wordpress.com

      • Heyyyy! Thank you so much! I am checking it out as we speak. :)

  38. Barbara Bouthillier

    Beautiful :readers !

  39. Piscean

    Man and child without limbs in Afghanistan, was touching and sad both at same times.

    • I know. But it’s a positive picture, though; it shows them sharing a beautiful and peaceful moment. :)

  40. Brajpal singh

    gr8

  41. Pradeep Kumar P.S.

    You should have visited Kerala. Not just shopkeepers and monks, even the unborn child cannot do without the daily rag-sheet here in the morning!

    • Hi!
      I didn’t take these photos, they belong to Steve McCurry.
      However, I’ve always wanted to go to India and I hope to get there some day. It’s a BIG dream of mine!
      You, Sir, live in a beautiful, beauuuutiful country! :)

  42. Priti

    such beautiful photos, i like the elephant the most!

  43. No words i can type can express my awe and appreciation for this wonderful blog post!

  44. Pingback: Incredibly poig… | Scio vitam

  45. unnimenon

    Universal ‘readerhood’..Only such a word could properly describe the thirst for reading,

  46. Amazing photos!!!! im lucky to watch this…..thanxxxx

    • When I first discovered them, I felt lucky, too. Very, very lucky! :)
      Thank YOU for taking the time to tell me! So glad you liked them!! :)

  47. Dear GB i hope there is more photos remain? waiting for that!!!!

    • I got so busy lately that I didn’t have time to upload them. I hope to be able to do that soon.
      PS: I love your site! :)

  48. . I felt I have finished reading a great book. Thanks Steve Mccurry and GB for sharing the pics. Hope to see more.

    • Hi Devi –

      “I felt I have finished reading a great book” -> You captured the essence of his photos so, so beautifully. :) I couldn’t have said it any better.
      … and no, thank YOU for taking the time to write your lovely comment. :)
      PS: I’m planning to upload part II soon.

      Thank you again! :)

  49. santhosh george

    Realy great work

  50. Gagan

    Amazing work!….Some of them have just left me in silence…without words, making me want to scroll back to them again and again. ..signs of a true photographer shine through these photos.

    • I know! Same here! :)
      But all of his photo series are like that. He’s got a beautiful eye for storytelling & composition, and his pictures capture pure colours, people, stories and emotion at it’s best. He’s a clever guy (and a very talented photographer). :)

  51. aru

    Thank you. brought peace to my soul and tears to my eyes. Thank you is all i can say.

    • Thank you so much! I can’t even describe how your comment made me feel! :) As someone said… “thank you is all I can say.” :)

  52. Beautiful, touching, passionate compositions. Brilliant concept, brilliantly executed!

    • I totally agree, he takes incredible pictures full of life, colour and emotion! :) Both exquisite and stunning at the same time. :)

  53. Pingback: Who Says (News)Print Is Dead…??? | Advertising Ka kamaal

  54. hi!, the one with the question mark is India, That is Kannada or a similar South Indian Language script. I see it everywhere here in Bangalore. So there!!

  55. but then, I haven’t been to Burma, so there’s that!

    • PS: You’re so lucky to live in Bangalore! In fact, you’re so lucky to live in India. A beautiful, beautiful country! :)

  56. Pingback: Steve McCurry: gorgeous photographs of people reading around the world. | Readersforum's Blog

  57. Renu Bhagwat

    Beautiful, lovely and feeling good that I also read in my own space like these in their own….excellent, simply superb….

  58. I love these images and they made my day!

    Everyone is engrossed in reading and it makes for such a beautiful collection of pictures! Thanks for sharing these. One binding factor which I could make out is that in all these images, there is no care for the world as they delve inside the books.

    I loved the one from Italy where the dog with his ears curiously looks on as if thinking ‘What is it so fascinating that the human is so engrossed in?” But all the images are as beautiful as they stand on their own right.

    Again lovely images.

    • Thank you for your lovely comment, Fairy! (you have an exquisite name, btw!)

      I can relate with everything you said. But I guess we’re all like that, we all feel like we have no care in the world as we delve inside the books.
      I think that’s the beauty of reading, reading takes you to amazing places, you can just leave the real world and go into a whole new adventure.

      As for Steve McCurry… I think he’s a rare photographer, he sees the world through/with glittering eyes.
      …And I absolutely love the way he looks at people like maybe they are magic. :)

      PS: Hehe, the one with the curious doggie is one of my favorites, too. :)

  59. Simply fantastic. Posting in my twitter and pinterest board.

  60. Pingback: Steve McCurry: gorgeous photographs of people reading around the world. | Dipu Malakar

  61. Excellent pictures! The one in the 3-wheel cycle rickshaw where you have a “?” is Myanmar – you may want to update :)

    • Thank you, much appreciated! :)
      I will update it as soon as my internet decides to move faster than a snail crawling. :(

  62. It looks like the very essence of human beeing: completely concentrated on themselves and in the meantime open to the whole world. Wonderful!

    • I have to say that this is one of the best – if not the best – interpretation I’ve read so far. :)
      I love how he likes to leave his photos open for interpretation because – this way – they have a different kind of power.

  63. Ashok Patil

    The topic subject is surely wonderful and it shows how people all over the world are ready to devote ample time for ‘Reading’….eventually they have proper place or otherwise. I detected that last one photograph and painting of “Afghan Girl” at background. That was cover photo of National Geographic Magazine in ’70s; and the same photo become popular worldwide.

    • Hi Ashok –

      So glad you noticed it! :) It’s one of my favourite pictures by him along with those above.
      PS: It might be hard to believe in retrospect, but it turns out that the ‘Afghan Girl’ was almost passed over for the cover of National Geographic in 1985. According to McCurry, the photo editor chose to cut the iconic photo in favor of one of the other shots McCurry got of refugee Sharbat Gula in which she was covering her face. The magazine editor ultimately vetoed the photo editor’s call at the last minute, choosing to run the photo we all know instead. And so it became one of the most famous photos in history. :)

  64. thanks for a lovey collection of photographs of reading person….

  65. Thanks for sharing.

  66. Pingback: Literacy Resources | misspclassroomresources

  67. Pam

    Beautiful pictures, but it’s interesting that the majority or readers are men. Are the women illiterate or just busy working?

    • I felt guilty when I realised that I never asked myself this question. I don’t know, I don’t think I have an answer.
      What’s your opinion? :)

  68. Deepak

    Ultimate Shots and very Interesting subjects…

    Good work !

  69. chandru advanii,yokohama japan yes wonderful fotos I like some hereunder reviews.enlightening
    kabul,an astrologer predicting the future of the Burqa Lady,while selling the Jeans
    Aranyaprathel,Thailand, Interesting a Cat ALSO meditating with the Devotee.Thailand only SO.
    Mumbai newspaper reading,Leisurly or Lazly.Yet enjoying the Gujrati Narender Modi*s P.M. to be
    Pushkar,The Sadhu brought Two Tiffin Boxes,possibly one to share with the Sacred Cow next.
    SriLanka,The retired Tamil Tiger Warrior,reading the LOST HISTORY of the Tamils,to regain asap
    Arthur,Colombo,How I wish I could be Arthur/Author to relax with many books on the Shelves.Lucky.
    Bangalore,the Fothcoming ITT man,famous in Bangalore the Indian Silicon City.Best Wishes,dear.
    Kabul, young girls studying hard to be a MALALA of Afghanstan,and earn so many awards worldwide.
    KANDHAR,the Cheering boy,to console his father in the Wheel Chair,bombarded by DRONE???
    In all such wonderful photos,each one of them,and will will share with as many as.Great Fotographer.

    • “Arthur,Colombo,How I wish I could be Arthur/Author to relax with many books on the Shelves.Lucky.”

      But you can be Arthur C. Clarke, too. :) Anytime you want.
      In fact, we can all be Arthur C. Clarke. All we need is a sofa and some books! :)

  70. just great means GREAT.Keep me on the Mail,for future.Chandru Advani,yokohama japan

  71. Pingback: Διαβάζω, διαβάζεις, διαβάζουμε — People & Ideas

  72. A big thank you for sharing these Steve McCurry photographs ! I’m a big fan of his portraits from all over the world… Executed with so humanity ! So touching work ! And these readers pictures are a very big message of hope !! Books are so much important in our lives, beautiful works as McCurry’s pictures have to preserve them !

    • A big “thank you” for taking the time to tell me, I’m happy you like Steve McCurry! I’m a huge fan of his myself. :)

      I 100% agree with you! I think that McCurry’s images reflect his love for humanity and put him a level high in this genre of creativity.
      And I absolutely love his unique ability of understanding and capturing human emotions.
      As for these particular pictures of people reading… true, they are a very big (and rare) message of hope: books are not gone, technology is not taking over, people will always love to read and love a good story. :)

  73. Figuig

    Thank you for the pictures ! so cute

  74. Reblogged this on Craziness Is Necessary and commented:
    Wonderful photographs.

  75. Amazing!!! What’s an inspiration. It makes me want to travel around the world more. Thank you for sharing.

  76. Pingback: świat czyta | śnienie świata

  77. shirley wong

    very refreshing and lovely photographs..nice to know the hard copy is still appreciated

  78. Pingback: People reading around the world | Schengen

  79. Pingback: Lesende Menschen aus aller Welt | Frau Frauke

  80. Pingback: browserFruits Februar, Ausgabe 3 › kwerfeldein - Fotografie Magazin

  81. Pingback: EUPHORION A–Z | brunomayer40

  82. Jo

    Beautiful photos. Every one of them. Really makes you want to stop and study the photograph – everything in it.

  83. Vera

    magnifique!!!, espectacular!!, wonderfull, i love Steve mc curry, ….is my inspiration!! thank you a lot

  84. Pingback: Biding My Time in the Cold | Jane Ward

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 197 other followers

%d bloggers like this: