Saturday, 14 April 2012

SHARBAT GULA'S EYES

 
Most beautiful eyes



Photo by Steve McCurry.

This famous picture was clicked by photographer, Steve McCurry, of that very young, simple and uniquely beautiful Afghan village girl in 1985 named Sharbat Gula.  She was only 12years old then.  The photo was so captivating that it made headlines in National Geographics and many other journals.

If you now follow the photos below of Sharbat when she was first photographed at age 12, and then again when Steve went to Afghanistan more than 16 years later, he again found Sharbat and photographed her with the permission of her husband.  By then Sharbat was in her late 20s or 30.  Still very, very young but her extremely hard life robbed her beauty and made her look years older than her age.  That's how easily beauty can be destroyed if one is unfortunate.

The girl became an orphan at age 6 during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.  She fled to a refugee camp in Pakistan with her 2 siblings and grandmother.  This refugee camp closed in 2002 and Sharbat returned to Afghanistan sometime before that.  She lives in the mountaineous Tora Bora region of Afghanistan.  

The Search for the Afghan Girl

A team from National Geographic, including photographer Steve McCurry went back to Pakistan to try and identify the girl from the 1984 picture. The team had no success until someone said he knew her brother. "The second I saw the color of her brother's eyes, I knew we had the right family," said a member of the team.

After Sharbat's family granted permission for her to meet with the man who photographed her 17 years ago, McCurry knew immediately, even after so many years, that he had found her again. "Her eyes are as haunting now as they were then," he said.

She married and had four daughters, one of whom died in infancy. She has returned to anonymity and lives according to the customs and traditions of her culture and religion. She will not give another media interview and she wishes not to be contacted.



Photo by Steve McCurry. Beautiful children are all over the world, suffering every day, every minute.

What do we do to prevent it?

 
Steve McCurry and his team "finally located Gula, then around the age of 30, in a remote region of Afghanistan; she had returned to her native country from the refugee camp in 1992. Her identity was confirmed using biometric technology which matched her iris patterns to those of the photograph with almost full 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 Sharbat agreed to have her picture taken for the second time in her life, she came out from the secrecy to tell her story. She wanted the people around the world who knew her face to know that she survived the refugee camp in Pakistan. 


Before and after


Time and hardship.  Hers has been a hand-to-mouth existence. She had not been photographed since Steve McCurry made her portrait in 1984, and she only agreed to be photographed again—to appear unveiled, without her burka—because her husband told her it would be proper. She is a private woman, uncomfortable with the attention of strangers. A devout Muslim, she attributes her survival to the “will of God.” 



With her husband and 2 children.  She remembers her wedding day, when she was perhaps 16, as a happy one—possibly, her older brother told the Geographic team, the only happy day of her life. She became an orphan and refugee of war at about age six. Soviet bombing killed her parents, and her grandmother led her and her brother and sisters on foot, in winter, to Pakistan, where they lived in various camps. 



 
 
McCurry’s image was made world-famous on the June 1985 cover of National Geographic, and is the magazine’s most recognisable photograph.

20 comments:

  1. Wow, she's so beautiful. :)

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  2. Wow, breathtakingly beautiful. Her eyes are beyond gorgeous and stunning.

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  3. I've never seen so beautiful eyes.For me,those are the most stunning.Her whole face is amazing!!

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  4. MacaRio M Hernandez15 October 2012 at 02:40

    When I saw her picture I saw everything as a miracle!... first Beauty then Inocence, humility, compasion, thirst, hope, curiosity and so on all beautiful... it fill my whole heart with Joy and Love for humanity around the whole wide world and I never forgot that Image, I carried a copy of her in my wallet since 1985 and I still have the National Geographic magazine. Later I make a sculpture of her around 2001 at the Hui Noeau Visual Art Center in Maui Hawaii, I give the sculpture to a friend long time ago. Anyway... I wish all of us in this world Love and Health!... Thank You.

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  5. REALLY? All you all care about are the color of her eyes? Yes, they are vibrant but she's not unique when it comes to phenotypes in the Middle East. More importantly, her story is the "beautiful" part of this.

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  6. She doesn´t look happy. There is a deep sadnes in her face. Look the contrast between her husband´s face and hers. A subjugated woman, yearning for freedom, happyness, fulfilment of her free human being. Very common in muslim women.

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    1. perhaps if the National Geographic mag had payed her the right amount for the photograph in the first place she could have had a different life and yes you are so so right about the look of sorrow in her eyes.

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    2. She is sad because Pakistani government didn't help her even now they arrest her for living in Pakistan and now sent back to Afghanistan but now she is happy because she is now in her country and she also became a house from president and now she lives freely

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  7. Can anyone tell me where is she live now

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    1. she lives in near tora bora in afganistan, i saw it in
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llxw0bL7wfQ
      lili

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    2. Now she lives in Afghanistan

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  8. Beautiful but I always thought how sad she looked. A very haunting pictures even up until she became an adult. She looks even more sad as an adult than as a child.

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  9. She looks sad ? What do you expect when you have experienced the suffering of war and at age 12, lost your parents ....

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  10. she is an amazing woman what so ever.....first her story...and also her eyes...and as already mentioned so many people from where she lives have similar eyes to her so it they wont realise it....but some of us in different countries just have to pull it off by wearing colour lenses....Sharbat Gula is very beautiful and there will be one day she smiles...

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  11. Having been to Afghanistan multiple times, her story is the beautiful aspect of this... not her eyes; they only are the portal to that story. Knowing what she has been through and understanding the culture of Afghanistan is the truly remarkable aspect.

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  12. I would like to be her friend.

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  13. she should not be living in poverty like this.. all the money that has been made from her photo over the years, the thousands of times it has been reproduced across the globe, I think it is really terrible.

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  14. When i first saw this picture i thought the same thing what beautiful eyes, but it is a very sad story she does not look happy and its not just weather that ages a person its unhappiness and stress

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  15. so much suffering for such a beautiful woman, in another country she would have been a supermodel. so many treasures of humanity are lost to the obscurity of poverty and the suffering & destruction of war. one person can not change this, only humanity can chose to change itself and transform the rough dirty stone that it is into the beautiful glistening rock that it can become but only by choice...

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