Afghan Girl [1984]

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And of course the afghan girl, picture shot by National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry. Sharbat Gula was one of the students in an informal school within the refugee camp; McCurry, rarely given the opportunity to photograph Afghan women, seized the opportunity and captured her image. She was approximately 12 years old at the time. She made it on the cover of National Geographic next year, and her identity was discovered in 1992.

Afghan Girl [1984]

Photographer: Steve McCurry
Source: nationalgeographic.com

113 thoughts on “Afghan Girl [1984]

  1. though I am in her neighbours,
    but I haven’t seen such an artistic look.
    It seems as she is looking into my soul.
    very sharp , her look is reaching deep down to the persons soul.
    I have seen scared faces, scared of the war, although I have seen wars myself but today just a one gaze at this picture recapture the glimpse of the whole situation I had been through.

  2. ENIKKU PEDIYANU EE MUKHAM……(malayalam language, south indian state Kerala ) Translation: I am afraid of this face. Why she looks like this?

  3. The texture of this photograph is rustic, This poor girl living through danger every min of her life trapped in a world of war no way out but to put up with it. One would only imagine the pain that came after this…..
    The young girl has mysterious eye’s looking into the camera lens, thinking it’s a gun i’d say. My guess is, we are looking at, what eye’s would look like just before death takes place.
    That would be the fear people see, she is beautiful, … the photo of her is very rustic and sets the times of war, to history .
    Bert Trafford

  4. This shows that Afghans have suffered plenty years of war, and no one is mentally healthy and sound in Afghanistan, i wish the UN see the reality which is going on in Afghanistan and they take practical steps in peace and stability in Afghanistan.

  5. Her eyes is the most beautiful eyes !
    I think that she is the Famous women in the world
    she is Also an AFGHANI girl

  6. my son had this photo in his class room and said to me mum she looks like you, im muslim and in the 80s yes i did look like that and i too have hazel eyes cant get the image out of my mind brings it all back 80s

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  8. i have been following this photo and article which first was published on national geographic.
    even after 25 years of following it amazes me and shows how you can relate a single photo with your whole life time.
    a photograph which i may have been found most of my life and all the good things national geographic has thought me.
    a grand salute to you all related to this article.

  9. very confidently, she is looking at me with lots of feelings.
    Eyes are really very transparant, I’m an artist I must make/draw them on my canvas.

  10. Hi, i have a large version of this photo signed by the photographer. I have had it since they discovered her identity in 1992. It is nicely framed and has been kept indoors. IM looking to sell it to an art gallery or someone who collects famous photos. I know it is worth some money and wondered if anyone on here could point me in the right direction. Thank you.

  11. This is a very interesting picture. It is visually stunning and has a strong message within it. The colours work out to be very appealing and appropriate to the theme and I think it is a very memorable photo.

  12. We recruited this woman to fight the Taliban.
    She is now one of our best Israeli agents.
    She can stare down ANY Taliban terrorist just with those eyes!
    When she walks down the streets of Kandahar, the Taliban run! Or they shrink in to doorways and hide.
    When Israel takes over Afghanistan, we plan to make her “president” .

  13. not really dumb ass shes scared becuase thier always taking pics of he thats why she is shy u whould be too if some random guy came to ur family house and take random pics of u so shut up all

  14. Wow, I’m afraid for the world when we start thinking of our brothers and sisters as not being human. How can you possibly hate based on appearances? Begging for war? Somehow I doubt that, I have a feeling that they have very similar passions, hopes and fears as most of the people on this earth. Please don’t harvest such hate in your heart, even if you’re “just kidding”.

  15. She’s got nice eyes. I hate a lot of the comments that people are putting up. She isn’t scary. This is Afghanistan for heaven’s sake. It had 20+ years of war. And rBolt is just a jerk. Middle-Eastern aren’t bad. Some are bad just like some Americans are bad. This is probably the most famous picture in Afghan history.

  16. hey

    I would just like to the say to the comment above, like any country there a war hungry people who strive for power and money and to create havoc, not just in countries where war is common.
    In any country no matter what the back ground even in well developed country there are peole who seek out violence and terror and people who want nothin but peace.
    you could even reside to the fact that george W bush was one of these people who u called trouble and always begging for war, as seen in the time that he has been president and the same for his father where his government has been involved in mass torture, violence and murder.
    I think that this picture is a example of real beauty where no make up, photoshoppin is needed and even in a brutal real situations that a young girl can look amazing without these advances.
    This picture is very haunting with her eyes almost rippin through you, well done to the photographer who caught this vunerablitly on camera.

  17. Amazing Eyes, I have never seen this kind of eyes ever.
    One massage – No one wants war but when it comes it comes, it’s your luck. Where ever you are today don’t be in pride because you never know. What happens next? Kal Ho Na Ho

  18. rBoLt- that is a really evil narrow minded thing to say. What do you mean begging for war and trouble? The only people that think that are stupid, narrow minded people like you. Do you think that anyone would want to live in those conditions? When you say base it on history take a look at your own country, it probably has had its own share fair of wars, but I suppose they were not begging. They do not deserve it. People like you should be subjected to these conditions, then you would know. And she is beautiful. Probably more than you.

  19. rBoLt- that is a really evil narrow minded thing to say. What do you mean begging for war and trouble? The only people that think that are stupid, narrow minded people like you. Do you think that anyone would want to live in those conditions? When you say base it on history take a look at your own country, it probably has had its own share fair of wars, but I suppose they were not begging. They do not deserve it. People like you should be shot. And she is beautiful. Probably more than you.

  20. i just hate this photo.. i hate middle eastern looking people. Base it on history, this creatures (which i dont ever consider human) are always begging for war and trouble. they want this, they deserve this. bunch of war freaks!

  21. hi to every one as an afghan i can say that i am proud of this picture but i can say that if you search afghanistan you can find alot of natural beauty becauase afghanistan has alot of beautiful people if you go and search in villages where women are hidden inside burca or home you may find alot like this that you cannot find in west because in west they have a comfortable independent life full of joy like a free brid can we compare a bird in a cage to a free bird

  22. This picture shows us the soil of our country.The hardships she has been through!
    Well,well done to the photographer who has took such a reality pic to show to the people!

  23. Of course this image get it’s fame thru those sad frightened eyes and good close up shot,
    BUT, then I wonder IF Steve McCurry paid part of her earning from that image to that young Afghani lady and her family or just left them alone in their miseries!
    I wonder if Steve was a RESPONSIBLE photographer?

  24. her eyes speaks the silence n pain in her soul at a very young age……….difficult to understand n dream about……..

  25. To all those who mentioned she “should be a model” or that she should have been brought to the US where she would be appreciated and made famous…the anthropological term for this kind of western, number one point of view is ethnocentrism. This woman is afghan, and she was born raised and has lived her life as an afghan woman. It is arguable that it is not just the pretty face, but the woman behind those stunning eyes that is a jewel of Afghani culture. Models are objectified for their beauty and utilized by a western anonymous commercial culture. She may not have become a model, or used expensive cosmetics to retain her beautiful features; her beauty is a natural one and she remains a symbol of the beauty and humanity of a war-ravaged nation and one should treat her and think of her with the respect due to any human being. The only difference between this woman, and the hundreds, maybe thousands of other stunning afghani women, is that her face has been made the symbol of afghanistan’s cultural beauty to the Western world.

  26. You should all shut the F&^K up. To me all of these words are really stupid,so un-worthy
    This image transcends our ability to articulate, fathom………

    Remember: “A picture is worth a thousand words”

  27. Never judge someone, after all real beauty comes from within. She was a beautiful girl, and now she has become a beautiful woman, how many of us can really compare ourselves with her if we had to live in her country, live her life, face her hardships? She is a real beauty touched by the cruelity of war.

  28. MY dears i read some the comments and i become very disappointed about the saying that someone has done about this innocent afghan girl you will fell the sorrow which is in her eyes and complexion when you also become poor and inocent like her it is a real saying that no one can sense the pain that other has it just think how innocent and quiet would be her and think in what condations would she be living what would she have to eat and what would she have to wear for next sessions

  29. this photo is the best and the most amazing picture that i ever seen!
    the photo got power itself. i dont know why. everybody that looking to it as i have the poster on my wall will say WOW and they curious to know more about her. even me myself. i would like to know more about her. at first i was just wondering ‘who is this girl with catching eyes? cz i have many photos of her with the maroon scarf. until one day i read about her.

  30. Pure beauty found among horrible and deplorable conditions!! Can you imagine the horrors those gorgeous eyes saw before looking into the camera lens!?

  31. one of the most beautiful pics ever!
    i live in israel and i bought that poster, i am going to frame it and put it on the wall.
    i saw the movie about how they found that girl, it was very intresting and
    emotional.
    i loved that pic for many years before that movie and i was very excited to see it.
    great picture! one of the most amazing photos ever!

  32. Does anyone have the link to see her 1992 photo of her? I don’t care if she got ugly or not, that’s really mean to say and apparently someone found her beautiful enough to marry and have a family. I just want to see those eyes again to see if they changed because I have a girlfriend who has similar eyes and hers change colors instantly depending on light, what she wears and her mood- it’s awesome but I have always wondered about what happened to that girl.

  33. her eyes r very beautiful but every body see fear in her eyes it is not amazing thing that every see in her eyes this fear is in the eyes of every afghan women who livein that kind of critical condition but it is a question from all those human right organizations who says tht we have done alot in the name of aid. her eyes look like tiger eyes but we can see also alot of questions asking from the world

  34. hi i am shamsher khan wow her eyes look like tiger and wonderfull pic
    hi i m awais khan i just say wooooow i have never seen eyes like her her eyes r most danger loin amayzing

  35. Dear all,
    who ever has gaven comment that she has got ugly, let me tell them that before using the word ugly for her, once go and read that each person of afghanistan has faced the problems she has faced, there are lots of beauties in that land but is hided as her, that land is the land of beauty but war has kept busy all fo them with running back and ward to save their lives. that land has not only the beauty of face but also nature, each woman in afghanistan has the same story but no one to listen to their stories and help them out. if there would be an angel instead of her, even that angel would have become ugly after facing the conditions that she has faced.

  36. As an afghan british I am proud of these bueatiful eyes. and thanks to Mr Mc Curry
    for his wonderful photografing, I wish good luck for poor afghan women to have a better life from now onward and live with prospers, freedom, and succes

  37. as an ex-heroin user I can positively say they look like opium eyes, and i agree She is beautiful. i thought when i heard people where looking for her that they would never find her because of her eyes and now i just found this the before and after so i’m shocked i maybe wrong after all????

  38. Now give her a break people!
    She is ugly? Not at all! She is probably one of the most beautiful lady in her natural state.

    Face it, wars will always quicken your aging pace. That’s why when she was 13 she looks like she was in her 20s already. Now that she is in her 20s, she looks like a woman in her 40s. But to be fair, her appearances is natural beauty. It still pure and untainted from cosmetics and make-ups the women in peaceful modern countries had come up with.

    It saddened me so much when I see her aging face. it’s just unfair right?
    Don’t be so heartless and calling her names, if your mother or your wife or girlfriend or females in your life or you yourself live in warring country like hers, I doubt they will look any younger than this girl. You just don’t compare female living in peace and female living in constant fear.
    There will always be difference in appearances.

    Instead, mourn for her innocent face that had been marred by the cruelty of the war.
    Remember, if she doesn’t etch fear-anxiousness-vexation-etc on her face constantly and can laugh often like female in peaceful countries, you will see her today in different light and cheer her as she model for some famous brands.

    War kills everything. It kills this woman’s youth beauty too, earlier than expected.

  39. Beauty, wildness, attraction, fear, anger, selfish
    Alien to us and our world coming far away from no land we know.
    Interesting you can also see her curiosity to discover our world.

  40. her beauty is outstanding!!!! her eyes captivate people and show us that shes been through a lot. she is drop dead beautiful!! I’ve never seen this kind of beauty before I never though that beauty like hers could be cought be caught on film. It just goes to show you that you can find beauty in the most unlikely places

  41. This is the most amazing picture I have ever seen. In one look you can see all the suffering and hardship and fear she has been through. This is a very powerful picture. I just read her story about when they found her, and she HAS been through a lot, more than some of us do in our lifetime.

  42. This picture is absolutely stunning… She has such a beautiful soul, which is evident through her eyes… I pity the people that have said she is ugly now… In a country like that she is lucky to be alive, let alone worrying about how good she looks… Beauty comes from within and the sooner people realise this, the better… I bet if you sat down with her for an hour or two now and listened to her stories you would walk away a changed person!!!

  43. Steve McCurry never fails.
    This photo of his is just amazing. One of my favorites ever!
    Not once did anyone say that McCurry is responsible for this masterpiece!
    Learn your things, kids!
    -Esteban

  44. Sablicious: I wouldnt call them ‘men’; a man is someone gengleman that treats a woman with respect; I’d call those ‘frustrated monsters’, frustrated because since they arent able to feel the real men nature inside them, that includes protection, respect, gentle behaviour, and admiration for the female sex that has to charge a live for 9 months, giving birth, being everything, psychologist, nutriologyst, doctor for her family, house wife (that happens to be the most tired job ever, I experimented that while my mom was in another city and asked me to be in charge of house; working in office or whatever else is much better than being a house wife) so I wonder if men would be able to be all that, lol, guess God didnt made them able to give birth since female is the strong sex? looks like that, but still the dumbasses just base their poor conclusions in the appareance, big monsters looking dumb acting like little chickens, looks funny and dumb, but maybe that’s why they’re that violent? because that’s the only way they can show how ‘men’ they are? they need to find the correct way for that. A lot is being wasted there by not letting women doing what ‘men’ are doing now. ‘men’ haha. sorry, really cant help the laugh….

  45. If i have something. I would help those inocent face. But i am also empty like those victimes face… while i see those face those accident remine me the conflict.

  46. As Journalist i make many journey in different parts of Nepal while here is conflict between moiest and government but i never see like this face.. wanderfulll very wanderfull many many conz the photographer,

  47. A country where men treat their women as second class citizens, condemn them to live their lives in potato sacks AND where the number one sport is male body building…! Hmmmmm… ^_^

    Yep! Afghanistan >>IS<< the land of the homosexual!

  48. When i first saw this picture, the first thing that struck me were the emerald eyes. Such a shame that this girl remained in Afganistan. Here in Europe or in America she would’ve definitely become a model.

  49. Striking image, innocence and beauty at its natural state.
    Its a pity about what she became today. (Refer in National Geographic for more details)

  50. why we dont have any clip for her?
    i think she is the most famous eyes i have ever seen
    please let us see one clip for her
    i have seared many web sites to see any clip but there is no
    i hope to see one clip from your site and i will be greatfull
    mariem from egypt

  51. More than the beauty, It’s that wild stare that caught my attention. Look into those eyes and you’ll start getting disturbed. It speaks a lot!

  52. No body will remain silent after looking into eyes of this innocent girl, nature in its purest form……. hidden facts that modern world unaware of this. Modesty in its original shape

  53. From the followup it is clear that she did not want her photo taken in the first place, and was given very little choice in the matter. Just another case of people in the developing world being given the shaft.

    I wonder how much she has earned from this photo?

  54. It’s not one of the famous photos of National Geographic.
    Its one of the famous photos of 20th Century.
    That woman looked way beautiful than those coke-snorted hollywood teen celebrities.

  55. One of the most famous photos from National Geographic. They did an update about her just a while back and said that she is married now and has a few children and living good. I can’t believe they had found her again after all these years.

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