Raven were her locks, and her hair’s perfume like Ambergris;
Rose-coloured, gold-embroidered, is the raiment that she wears,
Like a light her beauty shineth ; has no one seen her? Tell me, pray.
Favour me, O my good fortune, as thou didst when she came with me,
Show me now the footsteps of my loved one that is lost.
— Khush Hal Khan Ichatak, the 17th century Afghan poet
Since I posted about the Matisse exhibit at Tate Modern in London (17 April – 7 September 2014), I thought I’d share news about another special event–Steve McCurry’s Afghanistan photography at the Beetles + Huxley Gallery, 12 May-7 June. Although most of us associate Afghanistan with grim violence and war, it has some of the most stunning landscapes in the world–craggy ravines, lush green valleys, golden deserts, and remnants of old civilizations. But above all, its proud people who’ve weathered centuries of invasions and occupations make this country unique.
All of these nuances are revealed through McCurry’s photography. His “Afghan girl” for National Geographic has become one of the most recognized images, but his whole body of work on Afghanistan is exceptional and gives more insights into the country than reams of news reports. He doesn’t avoid violence and today’s realities, but he also presents Afghanistan’s extraordinary nature and people and gives a glimpse into local traditions. If you aren’t in London or can’t make it to the exhibit, it’s worth taking a look at the selection of photos via the Beetles + Huxley Gallery website. Some of them are sad, others are beautiful, but all are bound to leave a lasting impression.
One of the images that touched me was the one taken by McCurry at the Blue Mosque at Mazar i Sharif in 1991. White doves, a symbol of peace, are fed by visitors to the 15th century holy site located near the border of Uzbekistan.
Steve McCurry’s photographs can be seen at the Beetles + Huxley Gallery, London, from 12 May-7 June.
Blue Mosque, Mazar i Sharif, Afghanistan, 1991. Photograph by Steve McCurry, on show in London.