Afghan girl

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Superstriker#8, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. Superstriker#8

    Superstriker#8 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 24, 2013
    I've heard a lot about this picture, and after reading on ming thein's blog something about the picture, I googled it, thinking I was going to be blown away, and frankly, I was underwhelmed. Anyone else share this opinion?
  2. BeyondTheLines

    BeyondTheLines Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2012
    I don't. I remember getting National Geographic with that cover (I had a subscription at the time) and I thought it was great. With the bombardment of photos these days (especially of foreign lands/cultures) it might not seem as exotic as it once was but I think that very photo has inspired a whole genre.
    • Like Like x 5
  3. Superstriker#8

    Superstriker#8 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 24, 2013
    Interesting, how old is the photo, exactly?
  4. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Her eyes were incredible. Anything can be ruined by hype but it was a great photo, imho.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. BeyondTheLines

    BeyondTheLines Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2012
    Google is your friend =) it's from 1984 but appeared on National Geographic's cover in 1985
  6. Superstriker#8

    Superstriker#8 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 24, 2013
    Yes, google helps, I forget that sometimes, I had no idea it was that old, though.
  7. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    The picture is 30 years old. It's a great portrait that inspired a huge wave of imitations.

    I think now it may seem underwhelming because it was imitated countless times. It's kind of what happened to Nabokov, whose influence on the literary scene was so vast and overpowering, that his own works now may be perceived as derivative, the fact that it's actually others who borrow heavily from him notwithstanding.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Remember that photo only recently became newsworthy when McCurry went back to find her and actually found her as an older woman now with her own family. Before that it was considered an interesting photo for NG audiences only. In fact, it almost didn't make the cover.

    McCurry broke a cultural boundary taking that photo of that girl at that time. It was a very, very isolated community.
  9. JudyM

    JudyM Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 5, 2010
    Westminster, MD
    It's one of the most memorable of National Geographic's covers. I'm showing my age, but I remember the cover when it was first released and I thought she was beautiful. I could never forget her eyes.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    Sorry, but it is one of the greatest portraits in the history of photography. And it was most assuredly a famous photo before McCurry went back and found her ~25 years later.
    • Like Like x 4
  11. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    I clearly remember getting the issue of NG and being blown away by the portrait.
  12. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    I think it's a nice portrait. If I recall, I think it was shot with a Nikon 105mm 2.5 AI...launching that lens into legendary portrait status!

    Saying that, I think there's something a bit loss when you have outsiders going to exotic locales and taking pictures of the locals.

    People act a bit differently when they think you're part of the populace.
  13. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    That lens was legendary well before the mid-1980s. Nikon's 105mm f2.5 was a cult lens amongst professionals as far back as the Nikon F and F2 (and maybe even dating to Nikon's rangefinder days in the 1950s). The lens was so admired for portraiture by the late 1960s that it was actually somewhat controversial when Nikon re-designed it from a Sonnar formula lens to a Gauss formula lens in the early 1970s. Fortunately, the re-design noticeably improved the close-up performance inside of 10 feet without detracting from the performance at longer subject distances. One nice thing about that fact is that earlier versions of the pre-AI Sonnar version can be found quite cheaply. I got mine for about $45, and I then sold my later AI version for over 3 times that amount.
    • Like Like x 3
  14. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    I read a quote in a Lens article a little while back, can't recall the exact words but it made the point that when National Geographic started, it was enough just to bring back pictures of exotic locales because it was new, fresh, exciting. Nowadays I think this is another case of modern society being awfully jaded by the advent of the Internet and the ability to call up millions of images of just about anything, anywhere, or anyone instantly. In 1985 this image was striking and unique, now it's been imitated many times over, and the world is inundated with photos and video of exotic locations and people.

    If you ask me it's a great portrait of an interesting subject, and more important than just the photo is also the context of when and where it was shot.
    • Like Like x 2
  15. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Saw it once on the magazine cover and it was forever ingrained in my memory... Later on, the first time I heard the photo mentioned as "Afghan girl" I knew without seeing which photo was being referred to. So, yeah, it's a good photo.
    • Like Like x 2
  16. uci2ci

    uci2ci Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    The girl was very reluctant to be photographed.....I think it was only after her family's permission that she posed for the photo.

    Now I'm no way directing this at the OP. But you cant just look at this and say "wow, those eye!" and expect to be blown away by it....its been done ad nauseum; I've seen greener eyes on muddier faces in staged photos. You have to be culturally, historically, and politically aware to understand why those eyes are now brunt (and continue to burn) into so many heads.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    Steve McCurry is all kinds of awesome. His Phaidon Portraits book is highly recommended.

    Video on the shot itself


    I think National Geographic is one of those things that help define different generations - pre-Colour TV, pre-Cheap Air Travel & pre-Internet, magazines like NatGeo provided an insight into life that few had ever seen or experienced before.

    Nowadays you can 'just Google it'
    • Like Like x 7
  18. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    It was a great, great shot. The eyes are not all there is to it.
  19. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    The image is highly symbolic, too.
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