Steve McCurry is an American Photojournalist perhaps best known for his photograph Afghan Girl that appeared on the cover of National Geographic magazine in June of 1985. The image itself was named as the most recognized photograph in the history of the National Geographic magazine and has appeared often in Amnesty International materials and campaigns.

The girl in the photo is now known to be Sharbat Gula. McCurry took her photograph at the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in 1984. Gula was one of the students in an informal school within the refugee camp; McCurry, rarely given the opportunity to photograph Afghan women, seized the opportunity and captured her image.

Afghan Girl, 1984

I want to use this photograph as a way to talk about how we can see the subject differently when we consider who is taking the picture. Is the photographer a friend, or a stranger? Does the camera imply a power relationship between the subject and the photographer? Does the woman seem like she wants to be photographed? Would you think that this portrait is how this woman thinks of herself? These are all important questions to consider in relation to your own pictures. Taking a photo is not just about getting the shot, you must also consider how the pictures that you take inform the audience about you and your intention. Click responsibly! Be prepared to answer for yourself:)


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