Afghan Girl, Sharbat Gula, National Geographic 1984 photographic portrait by journalist Steve McCurry


McCurry took "Afghan Girl" in December 1984. It portrays an approximately 12-year-old Pashtun orphan in the Nasir Bagh refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan. McCurry found the girl when he heard "unexpected laughter" coming from children inside a one-room school tent for girls. "I noticed this one little girl with these incredible eyes, and I instantly knew that this was really the only picture I wanted to take," he says. This was the first time the girl had ever been photographed.The image was named as "the most recognized photograph" in the history of the National Geographic magazine, and was used as the cover photograph on the June 1985 issue. The photo has also been widely used on Amnesty International brochures, posters, and calendars. The identity of the "Afghan Girl" remained unknown for over 17 years until McCurry and a National Geographic team located the woman, Sharbat Gula, in 2002. McCurry said, "Her skin is weathered; there are wrinkles now, but she is as striking as she was all those years ago."

I remember the original photo , read the subsequent article and saw the photo as she is now. Very interesting altogether. Well done Carole. How big is your pastel?

Lovely painting Carole.

I know the photograph well, a piece of photographic art in my book. You've got a good likeless here, Carole...I recognised it immediately.

Irresistible photo to paint and a great painting

Thank you so much for all your lovely comments Sylvia, Lewis and Heather. Thank you Marjorie. The details of the painting are below the comments.

Fantastic work. I had a look online about what she looks like now, would be great if you can paint her present, her eyes are still stunning but it looks like she had a tough life compared to her happy youthful life.

Thank you so much for your time and lovely support Sandi and Paul.

Super painting, Carole and interesting story.

Wonderful portrait = those eyes are hypnotic and beautiful

Hang on Studio Wall
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10” x 12” soft pastels/pastel pencils on velour paper. Difficult to get precision with this paper. My feeble attempt to portray the inner self.

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Carole Kelly

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