Undaunted Humankind Kabul, Afghanistan, March, 2016

“A landscape might be denuded, a human settlement abandoned or lost,
but always, just beneath the ground lies
history of preposterous grandeur. .
They are everywhere, these individuals of undaunted humankind,
irrepressibly optimistic and proud.

– The Carpet Wars, Christopher Kremmer

Life in a war zone means that death is always present in the lives of children and their families.All the elements of life and death are in this picture. Boys and girls, graves, playground equipment, and the mosque, all in the shadow of the neighborhood on a hill in Kabul, Afghanistan.

This is Abdul Hadi. He is a teacher in the woodworking school of the Institute of Turquoise Mountain (@turquoisemountain), in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he teaches jali woodwork (latticework). He was a woodworker at the court of the last king of Afghanistan, and then for some 35 years did not have a chance to practice his skills, due to the constant conflicts. When Turquoise Mountain found him in 2006, he was selling fruit in the bazaar. He has been with them the last ten years, and they and we, consider him something of a
national treasure.

Scott Liddle, Country Director of Turquoise Mountain with Hedayatullah Ahmadzai,  head of engineering.

By Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry has been one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography for more than thirty years, with scores of magazine and book covers, over a dozen books, and countless exhibitions around the world to his name.

To read more about Steve go to

65 replies on “Undaunted Humankind Kabul, Afghanistan, March, 2016”

I love how well each photo speaks to the title. These are wonderful and the message is one that’s not communicated nearly often enough. Thank you.

Speechless….when I look through some blogs that I follow I have to end with Steve’s…..always the best at capturing the essence of who we are. So now I’m done for the day and thank you Steve for blessing us with your gift. Peace!

Thank you for your tireless work, Steve, because of you, many people have learned and felt too (because a picture really is worth a thousand words), the horrors of war torn countries and the people living there; who are no different than us — us fortunate ones who are not dodging bombs and bullets…

My heart feels like it might break when I see these faces… it touches me so deeply. they who are strangers, but then again, they seem so familiar

Gracias Steve, por recordarnos con cada imagen, que somos una sola familia mundial. Bellisimo trabajo !

The beauty in every image invites us to look again and again. Thank you for your wonderful photography shared with us so generously.

Your work has encouraged me to follow a course in photography, because I love so much your shots and I would like – one day – to become a good photographer. Your pictures talk, they have a soul that goes straigth into our soul and the result is a sense of quiet and mere pleasure. Thanks for everything, Steve.

Thank you for sharing thesde beautiful photographs, you are blessed with the ability to capture such captivating images , this is a gift .

Glad to see the blog is back. Some of the recent dustup among photography hobbyists may have been justified, but most struck me as an assassination feeding frenzy among those who realize they lack your eye and skills. I have a comment for them, but it’s too impolite to survive moderation.

Steve, thank you!
The world need your eyes and art as an antithesis of modern day “news” we get drowned in.
Thank you for the ray of sunshine, peace and hope!

So grateful to see Abdul Hardi is still alive. I met and photographed him in 2003. I often look at the images I have and wonder how each of the people I met and “captured” with my camera in a passing moment are still alive and carrying on.

I am always, always pleased to find a new offering from the lens (and the heart) of Steve McCurry. I am especially fond of the portrait pictures in this group – the red-haired lad with the sprinkle of freckles, the grey turban topped man with matching grey beard, the elderly gent with round glasses and the girl with the frame of black ‘n white-tipped fur framing her face. He does not just look — Steve seems to have X-ray vision, understanding the depth of his subjects.

Last evening I watched the latest Bill Murray film. It had a brief moment showing a playground in Afghanistan. It was a passing location, but I was smitten with the background’s hillside of old houses (reminding me of the similar / yet considered modern apartment construction design at the World’s Fair in Montreal, Canada decades ago.) There was also a stunningly beautiful, multi-domed mosque, covered in resting birds in the film. It was only a momentary location I had never seen before – then amazingly, here it is AGAIN today in this photograph.

Steve is THE photographer who records the ethos – the characteristic spirit of a region and their peoples. All of this gifted cameraman[‘s fans want to tag along on his worldwide adventures, carry his suitcase and watch….

As usual you supply us ‘viewers’ with the most beautiful and at the same time simple images, and gives us have a chance to look into a world that is not very well know, if at all, to most of us…thank you so much… 😉

It is heartwarming to see the hope in these photos. Thank you for bringing this rich culture to us through your magnificent photos.

Happy to see your blog up and running again, Beautiful images you post whether film or digital are a pleasure a treasure. Thank you

Steve, I know you don’t need or want accolades, as you have earned both. I, among many, am drawn into each image…each story. You paint with photographs, and so vividly. I thank you for revealung both the plight and the beauty associated with these people. Exceptionally well done.

Thank you so much for your beautfull images. They remind me su much of some a time in the sixtees of last century which I spent there with my rucksack on the bag travelling through these places trying to find out what to do with my life. It has not changed very much since then.

You capture a side to these people that most are unaware of: an innocence and sweetness that with all the hell of their daily lives manages to triumph. I traveled through Afghanistan before the Taliban and before the arrival of the Russians and experienced their hospitality and kindly nature. Am pleased and relieved to see it still present here. As a serious traveler, I wonder what it is like to travel there today? My bags are always packed and ready to hit the road! Thanks.

Your images always make me want to know more. Who is the man in the second photograph with the black and white turban and the beautiful eyes that speak volumes. And, where can I learn more about Abdul Hardi and his craft.

We love your photos. You go to places we will never be able to see…but we feel as though we have experienced the places and the people in the best possible light. (Literally and figuratively)

All his images tell a story. These are so interesting. We are all people, with families and lives, connected by our humanity.

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