To Light a Fire

Ujjian, India


To learn to read is to light a fire;
every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.
– Victor Hugo



I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.
– Jorge Luis Borges

Rome, Italy

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Mumbai, India

I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!
How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book!
When I have a house of my own,
I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.
–  Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Venice, Italy

Uttar Pradesh, India

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed,
and some few are to be chewed and digested.
– Francis Bacon

Istanbul, Turkey

Near Al Hudaydah, Yemen

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!
– Emily Dickinson


We read to know we are not alone.
– C.S. Lewis

Monastery in Litang, Kham, Tibet

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Reading is a means of thinking with another person’s mind;
it forces you to stretch your own.
– Charles Scribner

Kuwait City, Kuwait

Kunduz, Afghanistan

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily,
often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.
– Joyce Carol Oates

Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Burma

Susan Sontag said, “The camera makes everyone a tourist
in other people’s reality…”
The same can be said for reading books

Rieti, Italy

Sana’a, Yemen

The ability to read awoke inside me some
long dormant craving to be mentally alive.
Autobiography of Malcolm X

Victoria Memorial Hall,  Kolkata. India

Lourdes, France

Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation,
my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it,
for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an
author’s words reverberating in your head.
– Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies 


When I get a little money I buy books;
and if any is left I buy food and clothes.
– Erasmus

About Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry, recognized universally as one of today’s finest image-makers, has won many of photography’s top awards.
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46 Responses to To Light a Fire

  1. Dr. Rex says:

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    “To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” Victor Hugo … Lighting fire!

  2. Reblogging to sister site Success Inspirers World

  3. giai01 says:

    Reblogged this on Giai01's Blog and commented:

  4. Andrea Kurzman says:

    As always, the images you make are just… incredible.
    Truly inspiring piece makes me want to hide all day in a book, thank you!

  5. As always, beautiful picks.

  6. Absolutely fantastic. Thank you. Reading, language, connection, the ability to transcend the immediate time and place–they are all there! Read more!

  7. Antonio says:

    Le foto di Steve macCurry ti danno la sensazione di essere vicino al personaggio.

  8. LcR says:

    You are the master at reading light. I particularly like the image of the man on the hood of the car in Mumbi India. He ‘s the focal point but the blur of moving vehicles and another person makes it even more interesting as though life continues while he is concentrating on the newspaper. What was the slow shutter speed? Tripod, etc. Your images always teach.

  9. Niranjan R says:

    Wonderful images.

  10. marilee says:

    Your photos are visual poems.

  11. cupcakecache says:

    Reblogged this on Cupcakecacheblog and commented:
    No words needed.

  12. pmdello says:

    Thank you. So much color to brighten my day and love for books!

  13. Antonio says:

    Queste foto o immagini,di Steve. macCurry mi danno la sensazione di stare lì presente, veramente straordinario favoloso. ..

  14. vijay singh says:

    your photos connect me with people and always say inspiring story

  15. Anonymous says:

    Every picture is a gem.

  16. Mioara says:

    Thanks, beautiful pictures!

  17. lolafalvo says:

    I have been a long time fan & this post brought tears to my eyes. beautiful. thank you. I start to panic if I don’t have a few books waiting for me when I finish the book I currently can’t put down. thank you so much for your wonderful work.

  18. What a beautiful collection of photographs and quotes.

  19. Saloni Lodha says:

    The conceptualization of the entire blog post is so amazing. Loved it.

  20. Susana Denda says:

    I loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!thank you so much!!!!

  21. Laetizia Campana says:

    These pictures are wonderful, evocative and invite the viewer to imagine a story. The quotes are unecessary to me, only the last one is funny.
    Also there are far more men than women reading in the photos…
    Thank you Steve Mc Curry for these pictures!

  22. loisajay says:

    The Italian pup and the Thailand elephant…..the sweetest photos.

  23. Anonymous says:


  24. Amazingly beautiful post! The photos are stunning and the quotes superb!

  25. Pingback: THE UNREACHABLE STAR | onethousandandtwo

  26. Pingback: FROM: STEVE McCURRY’S BLOG | Rethinking Life

  27. Absolutely wonderful post. Beautiful, inspiring and a great joy. I will pass it along. Thank you.

  28. Absolutely wonderful post. Truly beautiful, inspiring and a joy. Thank you so very much.

  29. Heide says:

    What strikes me about your images is at once how very grounded and present the readers all seem — while at the same time they’re transported into a different world, one that exists only between the words on the page and their minds. You have such a gift for showing us the world through new eyes!

  30. Sarah says:

    Oh I was waiting for your beautiful picture of a young man reading in samarkhand, it’s one of my favourite pictures . All of these are amazing.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Bello mensaje transmiten tus fotografias, Steve . Love you

  32. Reblogged this on West Coast Review and commented:
    Absolutely wonderful!

  33. Mansukh Shah says:

    Once again, beautiful photographs and equally bautiful quotes from far away places in the world. Thank you Stevebhai for sharing these amazing photographs.

    ”To read a newspaper is to refrain from reading something worth while. The first discipline of education must therefore be to refuse resolutely to feed the mind with canned chatter.”

  34. restlessjo says:

    A quite exceptional sequence of images, Steve. So many made me want to linger. But, the boy and the elephant…. 🙂 🙂

  35. Sue says:

    Great set of images, Steve. I remember reading Andre Kertesz’s On Reading, and thinking I must do my own mini project ….never did…..!

  36. Bikram says:

    The more I see your images the more awakened I become. So simple, yet so deep. Thanks for sharing.

  37. Thanks, Steve, for these wonderful pics!!

  38. viv meadows says:

    so much about the breath and expanse of the written word, the potential to reinfoece and expand the world of the reader, and visuals say so much

  39. d i l i p says:

    Lovely photographs!

  40. Beautiful post and pictures about reading! I love to read! God bless and thanks so much for sharing such wonderful content! Xx

  41. Parween says:

    Beauty Full!!!

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