On Portraiture

Portraits reveal a desire for human connection;
a desire so strong that people who know they will never see me again
open themselves to the camera,  all in the hope that at the other end
someone will be watching,

someone who will laugh or suffer with them.

Kashmir
Kashmir
Yemen
Yemen
Afghanistan
Afghanistan
What could be more simple and more complex,
more obvious and more profound than a portrait.

– Charles Baudelaire

Kashmir
Kashmir
Yemen
Yemen
Baluchistan, Pakistan
Baluchistan, Pakistan
A good portrait is one that says something about the person.
We usually see parts of ourselves in others, so the

good portrait should also say something about the human condition.

Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Kabul, Afghanistan
Kabul, Afghanistan
The most difficult thing for me is a portrait.
You have to try to put your camera between the
skin of a person and his shirt.

– Henri Cartier-Bresson

Philippines
Philippines
Pokhara, Nepal
Pokhara, Nepal
Lambari, Brazil
Lambari, Brazil
Madhya Pradesh, India
Madhya Pradesh, India
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Photography and the genre of portraiture have enjoyed a
long and fruitful relationship.
From the beginning of depiction, the portrait has
invited its audience to recognize the
identity of the subject and then to remember.

– Anthony Bannon

Rajasthan, India
Nepal
Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Tibet
Tibet
A true portrait should today and a hundred years from today, be the
testimony of how this person looked and
what kind of human being he was.
–  Philippe Halsman
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76 thoughts on “On Portraiture

  1. <un grand merci, vos portraits sont tellement profonds et inspirants, chacune permettrait d'écrire un livre. Magnifique!

  2. Hi Steve

    I have always enjoyed your photographs whatever the theme. I must say this is my favourite so far. You can see expressions of determination, courage, resignation, innocence (in the children), contentment. What I thought was missing was a portrait of a person (or people) radiating joy at being alive.

  3. i had begun to wonder
    then to worry
    then you return – what
    more can one ask for
    in pensive times?

  4. I was fortunate to see some of these images as part of your “From These Hands” exhibit in Venice a couple of years ago — and again I am struck by the unique gift you have to make a profound connection with your subjects, and yet simultaneously be invisible as a narrator. There is such a wonderful candor and sense of “naturalness” to your images that very few other photographers achieve. THANK YOU for sharing your work here, and most importantly for shining a bright light on the fundamental humanity that unites us all.

  5. “when you take a photograph of someone, you take a portrait of their soul”

    Thank you Stevebhai for these beautiful and diverse portraits, each one tells a unique story.

  6. Reblogged this on PGS – The Way and commented:
    Steve McCurry is one of the greatest portrait photographers of all time. His Afghan Girl portrait for the cover of National Geographic is one of the most iconic portraits ever taken…

  7. You provide a window to global humanity, like no other. Such beauty in each and every photo. Sometimes brutal, sometimes innocence, but always touching the soul.

  8. Telling a story using portrait photos is only a genius can do.

    I wish not to start a debate but I think people of developed countries are good in hiding emotions and hardship of their life.

  9. Dear Steve.

    Always a big fan of the compassion in your pictures.

    Please check out my instagram blog at

    The Resplendent Soul. I wish I can get your feedback. It’s a spiritual and cultural travel blog from India.

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