Saturday, 30 June 2007

Sharbat Gula

Steve McCurry had captured this girl in 1985 in a Pakistan refugee camp, this young mysterious Afghan girl was announced to be the most famous girl by featuring in the cover of national Geographic cover.

The image of her face, with a red scarf draped loosely over her head and with her piercing sea-green eyes staring directly into the camera, became a symbol both of the 1980s Afghan conflict and of the refugee situation worldwide. The image itself was named as "the most recognized photograph" in the history of the magazine.

By year 2002, after the overthrow of Taliban government. National Geographic attempted to locate the girl once again. Her identity was confirmed using biometric technology which matched her iris patterns to those of the photograph with virtual certainty. She vividly recalled being photographed – it was the first and only time she had ever had her picture taken. The fame and symbolic character of her portrait were completely unknown to her.

When I was young, I remembered my father having a copy of that magazine issue. My father's hobby is photography. He kept telling me about how amazing is this portrait, explaining to me how did this photographer had captured this girl. The fear, terror in this young 12 years old girl eyes to be taken to an unknown destination, after her village being attacked.

After years, coming across the next image when she is in her 30s. You can still see the war effect on her life, although she is married with three children now. What made this image so powerful, is the story behind the eyes; these piercing green eyes.

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